Tips for Buying a Home
Statistics show that 31% of home buyers are purchasing for the first time. Have you purchased a home? What questions do you have about the process? Even if you aren’t ready yet, what can you be doing to prepare for this big purchase? Keep reading to learn tips for buying a home.
Save, Save, Save
Purchasing a home will likely be the most expensive purchase you will ever make. There’s a reason that 15 and 30 year mortgages are so common, it takes a long time to pay off a home for the average buyer.
As soon as possible, you should start saving for your future home purchase. The bigger down payment that you are able to put down, the less you will have to pay in interest long-term. There are many ways to save this money. You can open up a savings account for this purpose only and put away a portion of your paycheck in this account. You could also pick up a side hustle that has income that will only go to your home. It won’t take away from any of your current expenses and you can be motivated knowing that this will help you pay for a home in the future.
Find a Bank
While you may be able to save up for a significant down payment, you will need someone to lend you the rest of the money for the home. Credit unions can often provide better interest rates and more personalized service than the big bank chains. Typically you need to meet certain qualifications to become a member of a credit union. This credit union in San Diego County, for example, serves members whose only qualification is that they live, work, or attend school in San Diego County when they open their account. Other credit unions serve teachers, firefighters, military, or other segments of the population.
You want to make sure you can get approved for a loan before heading out to any open houses. It could be very disappointing to find a house you like only to hear that you are not approved for that amount.
Keep in mind that this is the credit union you will be working with until your loan is paid off. If they also do auto loans, you could have all of your loans in one place.
Check Your Credit Score
Do you know what your credit score is at as of this month? Do you check it regularly?
It is important to know about your credit score and credit history when starting the home buying process. These factors will affect your eligibility to get a loan for the home. If your score is lower than you would like it to be, there are ways to build it up. The whole idea is to prove that you can be loaned money and pay it off in a timely manner.
Decide Where You Want to Live
Now that you have figured out where you stand on the financial aspect of purchasing a home, you can move on to deciding where you want to live. Many factors can affect this, such as the type of neighborhood and proximity to your work or the activities that you like to take part in.
While you can do a lot of research online, it could also be beneficial to drive through different neighborhoods and talk to the people that live there if possible to see what the experience is like.
Research the Market
What are houses selling for in the area you want to live? What is affecting this price? How long are homes typically on the market for?
This is vital information to know when starting your home search. If you are aware that the average house is only lasting 6 days before going under contract, then you will know to act fast when you find one that you like. Also take into consideration any renovations that will need to be completed after purchasing.
You may think that the realtor will take care of all of this information but remember that you are not their only client. They are the expert but ultimately won’t be living in or paying for the home. The research you do can only aid in what they already know about this part of the market.
Be Prepared to Negotiate
Rarely do people agree when you come in with a lower offer. Being prepared to negotiate can save you from overpaying for a home.
Know what tools you have in the process to help with this final piece. If you know what similar houses in the area have sold for, it can help you rationalize your offer. You can also request that the offer is contingent upon an appraisal and hope that it appraises for less than the listing price. Your real estate agent should be a great resource when it comes to this time.
Now that you have read some tips on buying a home, you can start saving or start searching today depending on where you are at. It is ok to take this process slowly, as it is a massive purchase within your lifetime.