10 Tips for Buying a House

Posted by Lisa Mueller on Friday, January 22nd, 2021 at 10:14am.

Too often, people rush into buying a house when they’re not ready. Just because you’re sick of renting does not mean you should automatically buy a home thinking it’s the only alternative. Being sick of renting is most definitely a better alternative to buying and ending up with your finances in a mess or with a home that doesn’t fit your needs.

Owning a home is a big commitment, it’s not a guaranteed investment, and it’s a truckload of work. It can be a smart long-term move, but you want to know what you’re getting into. The following tips for buying a home are here to help you get started:

1. Know Your Credit Score. Your credit score is one of the most important factors considered in your mortgage financing. Find out your score before you even apply for a loan, and take the time to repair it if it's too low.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage. A mortgage pre-approval means you should be able to get the loan, so long as your financial situation or credit score don't change. A pre-approval letter is also helpful for competing with other buyers on a home you love. One of the first things many sellers will ask their agent when receiving offers is how qualified the home buyers are to purchase.

3. Research the Costs of Buying a House. There are many fees that come with homebuying, beyond the mortgage. Insurance, repairs, association fees, property taxes—you should have the income and the budget to handle it all before buying.

4. Work With an Experienced REALTOR®. Real estate agents are licensed industry professionals who work on your behalf to advocate for your interests as a buyer. In most cases, sellers have a REALTOR® working for them, so you’ll want someone on your side—a buyer’s agent—who also has your back in negotiations and can help you understand how to make an offer on a home. But that’s not all! Your agent will also help you find homes that match your budget and needs, provide facts on a neighborhood, negotiate an offer, navigate the home inspection, decipher paperwork, and request and review seller disclosures.

5. Understand the Value of the Property You are Offering On. Working with a real estate professional agent who understands market values in your local area is crucial if you want to avoid paying more for your house than what it's currently worth.

6. Verify All Information on the Listing. Before buying a house, it's also important to make sure the listing is accurate. It is best to verify that all the information given about the home is correct. Sometimes real estate agents will have things in the listing that has not been verified, either by accident or by not double-checking the facts.

7. Use an Experienced Home Inspector. Home inspections are one of the most critical aspects of buying a house. You will want to have it performed by someone who is thorough and detailed.

8. Check Previous Permits. Renovations done without a permit may not have been done right. The lack of a permit indicates that the work done was not reviewed by an inspector, something you want to avoid in your new home.

9. Don’t Sacrifice on Location. Remember: you can change the flooring and even the layout of a home, but you can never change its location.   

10. Don’t Do Anything to Change Your Financial Situation. Your mortgage pre-approval is based on the information given when you applied. Any changes, like getting a car loan or taking a new job, can result in the loan request being denied when finalizing the purchase of your new house.

These tips should help put you on the path to filling in your home-buying knowledge. Remember: the more educated you are about the buying process beforehand, the less stress it will cause, and the more likely you will be able to get your dream home for a price you can afford. But that doesn’t mean you have to go at it alone! With my help and guidance, you can always feel sure that you are informed and guided along the way!

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