Say Bye to Buyer’s Remorse

Home Purchasing Tips to Avoid a Costly Mistake
Home Purchasing Tips to Avoid a Costly Mistake
A knowledgeable, skilled inspector will look at every aspect of the home, including windows, foundation, attic, roof, plumbing, electrical components, and much more.
By Kimberly Blaker

There’s no greater stress than making the mistake of buying a home that you come to regret for any number of reasons. Follow these recommendations to get you started on the right foot and help you stay on course in finding your perfect (or near-perfect) home.

Before You Begin Shopping

The first thing to do is to make a list of your objectives. Are you trying to reduce your work commute? Is there a particular school district you’d like your kids to attend? What about proximity to shopping or recreation?

Also, think about the specific features you want in a home. Make your list as detailed as possible. Then, go through the list again. Next to each item, mark if it’s a must-have, prefer-to-have, or nice but not necessary.

The reason for creating this list and then breaking it down is two-fold. First, buying a home is a significant investment. The home you ultimately choose is going to affect your lifestyle. Since there’s seldom a home with every feature a buyer wants, you should prioritize what’s most important to you.

How Much Can You Afford?

First, prepare a budget and figure out how much you can comfortably spend each month on mortgage and interest payments, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance. Also, consider whether there’ll be a substantial difference in your monthly utilities. Include an allowance for home repairs and maintenance as well. 

Second, you need to get pre-qualified through your bank or a mortgage company. Despite what you think you can afford, a lender will ultimately determine the maximum you can afford. So don’t risk getting your hopes up on a particular home until you know how much a lender will loan you.

Another reason to get pre-qualified is that many realtors will only show homes to prospective buyers who are pre-qualified.

Getting Started in Your Search

Working with a real estate agent has multiple advantages. First, realtors have access to the MLS system, the database in which all homes listed by real estate agencies appear. Another essential reason to work with an agent is to have someone to represent you and advance your interests.

When you meet with an agent, ensure the agent feels like a good fit for you. The agent should ask plenty of questions to gain a solid understanding of what you’re looking for in a home. Also, find out if the agent is available to show homes during your usual hours of availability. Finally, be cautious of high-pressure tactics to get you to sign an exclusive contract. Ultimately, you’ll want to do this when you find the right agent. But if you’re not comfortable with the agent, be prepared to say you need time to think about it and stand your ground.   

The Home Inspection

Once you’ve made an offer, getting a home inspection is crucial to confirm you’re making a sound buying decision.

Do your homework before hiring an inspector. Ask about their qualifications and how long they’ve been in business. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau and online reviews. 

A knowledgeable, skilled inspector will look at every aspect of the home, including windows, foundation, attic, roof, plumbing, electrical components, and much more. Your inspector should alert you to all defects, big and small. He should also note any aging features that could require repair
or replacement in the not-so-distant future.

Tips to Ensure you Don’t Regret Your Decision

Regardless of what the bank says you can afford or if an agent pushes you to go higher, you’re the best judge of what’s really within your budget. Don’t purchase a home you’re not confident you can afford.

Don’t get impatient. Sometimes it takes a while to find just the right home. Although you may never find a home with everything you’ve ever dreamed of, make sure it meets enough criteria so you can live happily in your home for some time to come.

When you do find the perfect home, don’t drag your feet. If it’s a buyer’s market or merely a desirable home, it might get snatched up before you act.

If you see flaws that’ll require costly repair, weigh it out carefully before making your offer.

Finally, once you make an offer, try not to get your heart too set on the home until it’s been inspected. That way, if the report comes back reflecting costly repairs, you’ll be able to make a wise decision on whether to proceed or back out.  

Read more about home purchasing HERE on LivingMagazine.net

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