Top 10 Things To Keep In Mind When Buying A House
1. Get your financing in order
“The seller wants to know that if they do accept the offer, that barring catastrophic title issues or inspection issues, the deal is going to go through,” Which is why we recommend having a full pre-approval letter within the past 30 days, that and your "good-faith deposit" will ensure you are able to place a strong offer on your new home.
2. Understand your time horizon
“As a shorter-term buyer, you might consider whether the place is a good investment and if it’s the kind of property that’s going to be attractive for the next buyer…A house near train tracks, for instance, is probably not what most people are looking for. But for someone who’s planning to stay longer, a good school system or larger lot size might make up for the trains thundering past.”
3. Know the overall market conditions
Knowing what comparable properties have sold for over the past three to six months will determine what type of home you can afford in a particular area. If you would like to see what is available in your price range, please give us a call and we will send you the homes that match your criteria.
4. Search and buy within your means
“If the housing crisis has taught us anything, it’s that buying with the expectation that prices will continuously go up — and that if you can eke out the payments each month, you’ll be in a good spot in the long run — isn’t such a good idea.” Know what you can comfortably afford, your lender will help you to understand what your price range is.
5. If you’re waiting for prices to go lower, think again
Real estate is a bit like the stock market, in that it can be unpredictable. Though some people might be waiting on the sidelines for housing prices to dip lower “looking at the numbers, I can’t see them continuing to go down and this applies to interest rates as well."
6. Don’t get too sucked in by appearances
Buyers should keep in mind that many sellers will try to present their homes in the best possible light. “If the house has been staged, what [potential buyers] forget is that all that stuff is going out when [the sellers] leave, sometimes you’re better off buying something that needs a little decorating because it’s going to take on your own look anyway.”
7. Have questions prepared
“Sellers and their agents should be prepared to answer questions including how old the roof, heating system, hot water heater, and windows are; if the basement has taken water in the time the seller has been there, and if there’s a sump pump; and what utilities and homeowner insurance generally cost… If there’s been recent renovation work, buyers should find out of all building permits have been signed off and if all of the contractors and sub-contractors have been paid in full.
8. If you’re thinking of buying a brand new house…
Consider that a home that’s been lived in has been tested. The seller will be able to tell you if the basement takes on water in a rainstorm, for instance. “People will pay a lot of money for a brand new house. I tell people, it’s only new once. It’s like a car — you drive it out of the lot, it’s not new anymore”
9. If you’re buying a condo, know the rules
“Condo lending rules have become more stringent, making it difficult for some would-be buyers to get financing. Lenders generally want buildings to be at least 50 percent owner-occupied. It is also a good idea to know what the association fees are and what they cover.
10. Think about a home’s intrinsic value
“Buying a home has always been a consumption decision and an investment decision,” In past years, “we moved that dot along the continuum, and it became an investment decision… but things have changed. It is important to ask yourself questions such as ‘Is this where I want to raise a family?' and ‘Is this close to the things that are important to me?'.