Tips for buying a home

January 22, 2014 1:31 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The top things you need to know when buying a home

1. Don’t buy if you can’t stay put.

If you can’t commit to remaining in one place for at least a few years, then owning is probably not a great option. With the transaction costs of buying and selling a home, you may end up losing money.

2. Check your credit.

Since most of you will likely need to get a mortgage to buy a home, you must make sure your credit history is as clean as possible. A few months before you start house hunting, get copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you discover.

3. Aim for a home you can afford.

Use an online mortgage calculator to get a better handle on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford.

4. If you can’t put down the usual 20%, you may still qualify for a loan.

There are a variety of public and private lenders who, if you qualify, offer low-interest mortgages that require a small down payment.

5. Buy in an area with good schools.

This advice applies even if you don’t have school-age children. The reason is when it comes time to sell, you’ll learn that strong school districts are a top priority for many home buyers which will help to boost property values.

6. Get professional help.

Even though the Internet gives buyers a wide access to home listings, most buyers are better off using a professional agent. Look for an exclusive agent, if possible, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.

7. Before house hunting, get pre-approved.

Getting pre-approved will help you know the price range on houses you can’t afford and put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. This is not to be confused with pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances; pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history.

8. Do your homework before making an offer.

Your opening offer should be based on the sales trend of similar homes in the neighborhood. Before making it, consider sales of similar homes in the last three months.

9. Hire a home inspector.

Your lender will require a home appraisal, but that’s just the bank’s way of determining whether the house is worth the price you’ve agreed to pay. Separately, you should hire your own home inspector, preferably an engineer with experience in doing home surveys in the area where you are buying. They will point out potential problems that could require costly repairs down the road.

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This post was written by Crystal Hernandez

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