Buying a house can be a tough, complicated time for some. There are a lot of steps along the way - not to mention the major financial commitment.
However, this process can be made much easier with the help of a home inspection professional. These experts can clarify any concerns potential buyers may have regarding the safety and security of a house, from the roof down to the foundation.
While buying a home is exciting, there are several items homebuyers should be aware of, and proceed with caution before closing on a property. There are plenty of little details worth paying attention to, starting at the open house. A keen eye can save a person from ending up with a house full of repair bills.
Look around during an open house
Open houses can be extremely valuable to potential buyers, even if some people think that they are a waste of time. Instead of writing off this event, anyone interested in real estate should swing by and look around.
It all starts with the questions, according to MSN Real Estate. This is the perfect opportunity to learn more than just the layout, find out how many offers are on the property already, when the most recent maintenance was done, what the property sold for last time and much more. The answer to these question can help the buyer decide whether they should place a bid or walk away.
In addition, potential buyers should ask if the house has been in escrow, the news source noted. This answer can shed light on many problems. For instance, the home inspection may have found something seriously wrong, or the appraisal didn't go as planned. If it is related to the inspection, it may be worth asking for any detailed reports to get a better understanding of the issues.
It is also worth asking why the current owners are selling, MSN Real Estate recommended. This may not get a true answer, but it is worth the shot. However, it could also provide leverage to the buyer, highlighting a desperate seller. Or it could bring to light some problems that may not be worth the trouble.
During an open house, shoppers should also learn about any related costs of ownership. These could include homeowners' association fees, taxes, or other expenses. Understanding these before buying can help a person budget for other bills, like renovations and moving costs.
New homes can have problems too
Many potential buyers think that only older homes have issues. However, this isn't the case. New construction can be just as problematic, and they also need attention and due diligence before moving forward.
Dan Vandervort wrote in an article for HomeTips.com that new homes that have not been tested can prove challenging. Without years of wear and tear, owners will not know everything that could go wrong. That is why a home inspection is necessary for any type of real estate.
To tell if a new home is in decent shape, buyers should look at a few key areas. For starters, the structure, according to Vandervort. At a distance, does the entire house look flat and even? Inside, all the walls need to be square, and bowing is a bad sign. The floors also must feel solid while walking on them.
In addition, the small details matter, Vandervort explained. A quality builder will make sure everything looks great, so it can be a telltale sign of problems if these elements are out of place. All the toilets, sinks and faucets need to work properly, and the water pressure should be adequate. The electrical system also must be able to handle the requirements of the house and its residents.
A Pre-Drywall Inspection can be a great tool for buyers to ensure the home they intend to buy is structurally safe and sound.
Understand the home-buying process
Property buyers want to optimize the value of their investments. It may take time to find a dream house, but those who are committed to evaluating homes that meet their needs can enjoy their investments for years to come.
Additionally, paying off a mortgage could take years, so it is vital for property buyers to understand exactly how to approach the real estate market. The homebuying process might seem challenging at first, but property buyers who recognize the opportunities that are available could significantly benefit.
Ask plenty of questions
Housing market expert Solo Fran Gianaris points out that it is often worthwhile to ask a lot of questions before buying a house. Make a list of questions before visiting properties to eliminate numerous risks.
There are many property buyers competing for houses, and a diligent homebuyer should take a cautious approach to the marketplace. Rather than simply agreeing to a property seller's terms, a homebuyer must evaluate the real estate landscape to make an informed decision.
"[Homebuyers'] needs can [cause] havoc in competitive bidding situations," Gianaris said. "Turning on a dime isn't comfortable ... [for those who are] about to make the biggest financial decision of their lives."
The importance of a good real estate agent
Buying a home without assistance can be incredibly challenging, and as a result, property buyers could get support from Realtors. However, a partnership with real estate specialists should be built on trust and understanding and could allow both parties to benefit.
A quality Realtor can help property owners in numerous ways. Whether it is finding a top-notch residence in a specific city or town or providing details about how a home inspection works, a real estate professional should be available to assist a homebuyer at any time.
Recognize the costs of a home
The price of a house rarely is all inclusive, and property buyers should keep this in mind when examining the real estate market.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is often helpful for homebuyers that want to obtain houses quickly. Pre-approval can help buyers understand exactly how much financing is available for a house and he or she can search for homes in that price range. As a homebuyer, it is crucial to manage finances well, and those who do so effectively could obtain first-rate residences without delay.
Determining the best way to approach the real estate market can be a major challenge, especially for inexperienced homebuyers. Those who want to find the best houses in short periods of time, however, should consider various steps to obtain quality residences without delay.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage
Above all else, property buyers who have the financing readily available to purchase homes can narrow their searches. Homebuyers can take advantage of lower-than-average mortgage rates available from lenders nationwide to begin their real estate market evaluations.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, property buyers should understand their credit histories. Ideally, homebuyers want to obtain as much financial support as possible so they can purchase first-rate houses. By taking steps to improve a credit score, a property buyer could increase his or her chances of getting the necessary financing to buy a top-notch residence.
Do the necessary legwork
Assistance from real estate agents is helpful, but property buyers should stay focused throughout the homebuying process as well. Conducting online research is often a good idea, as people can easily view data on numerous websites to learn about specific homes in various communities.
Additionally, property buyers can receive information about home maintenance, how to complete a property inspection and other valuable tips on the web. The internet is filled with helpful tools, and people who use these solutions to their advantage can simplify the homebuying process.
A diligent homebuyer should not shy away from the challenges of purchasing a house. Instead, this person can embrace these opportunities, learn what it takes to purchase a quality house and enjoy the benefits of this investment for years to come.
Common expenses first-time homebuyers must consider
Owning your first house is an important milestone, but it is also an expensive one. Without proper planning, the expenses racked up in the process of buying your first home may extinguish any savings you have. To be ready for anything, use these common oversights that many first-time homebuyers make.
The home inspection
As Luke Mullins of U.S. News and World Report points out, home inspections may be the most crucial (and most overlooked) expense of all. Knowing the issues of a house or property before you buy it may not only tip you off to what repairs lie ahead but could also be used to negotiate a lower price with the current owners. This will be the biggest and most important purchase of your life, so don't let the minor cost of a home inspection lead you into a trap. Home inspectors are experts at sniffing out even the most miniscule defects and potential pain points in a home and may be your biggest ally when it comes to getting you the price you need, as well as the home you deserve.
The true cost of ownership
It's generally a good idea to get pre-approved for a home loan before purchasing a home. However, Realtor.com cautions against taking advantage of the full pre-approval amount, because this can often mean putting an unnecessarily large percentage of your monthly income toward mortgage payments. The general rule of thumb for mortgages is to keep housing costs at 30 percent or less of your monthly income. Anything over that amount and you may be entering risky territory and have trouble saving enough to live comfortably. In order to shop for a smart home purchase, consider what you really need, not what the home of your dreams would have. Remember, this is only your first home, and it doesn't need to be your last, nor are you stuck with what you have forever.
Insurance is hardly the extra expense some make it out to be. It is absolutely essential and will likely save you money in the long run, especially when it comes to an asset as vital as your home. When moving from an apartment to a house, you may be tempted to just stick with your renter's insurance company and upgrade to their homeowner policy. According to Consumer Reports, homeowners could save thousands of dollars by shopping around for the best deals. To do this, they first suggest taking advantage of your state's insurance monitoring departments, which will list standard insurance plans and rate them based on their strengths. California, Florida, New Jersey, New York and Texas are just a few states that offer programs like this. You could also contact an independent insurance agent, who sells insurance from multiple providers. These agents may be able to find you a better deal for your money.
Landscaping and yard care
One common oversight among many first-time homebuyers: Your yard needs time and money as well. Don't neglect to purchase some basic yard care appliances, including a lawn mower, rakes, a sprinkler and other essentials. Realtor.com warns against falling prey to expensive lawn care services.
As well as taking care of your new lawn, you may be tempted to outfit it with the latest and greatest landscaping design trends. However, you should hold off on this for a while as you settle into your new home. According to HomeAdvisor.com, homeowners end up spending about $3,200 on average for landscaping projects. A new patio could cost as much as $3,000, while just laying sod averages over $1,700. While they do add value and glamor to your property, these costs are far from essential and should be delayed until you have adequate savings. The costs of home ownership can easily and quickly become overwhelming without the execution of a financial plan.
As we mentioned at the top of this article, buying a home for the first time is exciting, but can be scary. We encourage you to follow these helpful tips to help ease your transition as a home buyer. We wish you the best of luck in your home buying process and hope you find the home you always dreamed of.
And when it comes time to inspect your new home, WIN Home Inspection will be there to guide you through every step of the process. Please contact us or find your local WIN Home Inspector for more information.