Purchasing a property is most likely the biggest financial decision you will ever make. Whether this is your first purchase or you are an experienced buyer, this decision must be made carefully.
WHY DO YOU WANT TO BUY?
Are you tired of paying rent? Have you decided to pay your own mortgage and not your landlord’s? Have you outgrown your current home? Are you looking for an investment portfolio? Are you looking for a rental property? Would you like a larger yard? Would you rather live in a different area? Do you want to shorten your commute? Having a clear sense of your reasons for buying will help you choose the right property.
HAS YOUR INCOME GROWN?
Property ownership is an excellent investment; whether you are looking for your dream home, a rental property, or to expand your investment portfolio. Owning real estate is one of the least risky ways to build equity or to obtain a greater return on your initial investment.
Real estate can seem like a daunting area to enter with so many different aspects to consider. It is important to make sure you are at a point in your life where you can fully commit to this major life event in a stable financial state.
On top of saving and potentially starting to earn extra cash, make sure to check your credit score, which is essential to buying a home and qualifying for low interest rates to make your purchase more affordable. Consulting a lender will inform you on your eligibility for a mortgage and if you need to consider a down payment assistance program. Not only will you need cash reserves to purchase a property, but you’ll also need to prove to a lender that you can keep up with housing payments – so start cutting spending and upping saving as soon as you can!
A great way to get started and increase your knowledge is to attend a seminar, often provided by lenders, agents, or local governments, on the home-buying process. For a more hands on experience, you can begin scouting out different areas that hold potential to help you visually see your priorities on an area’s amenities. Once you have this narrowed down, attending open houses will help you understand what you value most in a property and what fits in your budget.
CHOOSE A REAL
By attending open houses, not only will you get to see various properties, but you will be able to meet the real estate agents who represent the homes’ sellers. Buying a home is no light task, which means that you should make sure to entrust this to someone you know will maximize the very best of their abilities for you. This means you should talk to multiple agents before deciding who will be guiding you through your home-buying journey. Real estate agents can be found through different avenues besides open houses, such as real estate brokerages, recommendations from family and friends, community real estate signs, or simply searching for a realtor online.
TIME TO GO
With the help of your real estate agent, narrowing down your options for buying should be a much simpler task. After narrowing down your preferred specifications (such as pricing, size, and neighborhood), make sure to assess the real estate market value in the area. Choosing a property in an area with a strong school system is important even if you do not have children because it will increase the resale value of your home. Be careful of being too specific with your preferences, allowing for a cushion in pricing and widening your ideal location boundaries a bit. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you can think of about properties you are interested in.
Always remember to keep written records of all verbal agreements and have them signed by both parties, including counter-offers and addendums. The closing agent (either a title company or attorney) will hold the deposit in escrow and make sure there are no problems with the title or any limitations on the property that are not listed (like building or parking restrictions). Try to speak to a tax advisor or attorney about the different ways to hold title, as each can have varying legal, tax, and estate implications.
Following your offer’s acceptance by the seller, a licensed property inspector must inspect the property within the agreed timeframe. This may result in either a successful close or a request for renegotiation from the buyer. Make sure to keep in close communication with your lender to know when further documents are needed for your loan application. The property will then be evaluated by a licensed appraiser to determine the value by a lending institution, via a third party, to confirm their investment in your property is valid. This is based on combining square footage, building costs, operating income, recent sales of similar properties, and more.
Before moving in, don’t forget to look into property insurance – this will especially be required if you’re obtaining a loan. Its value will be dependent on the lending institution and the property’s purchase price, but don’t be afraid to shop around to potentially save a good amount of money. You can also save money by considering a slightly higher deductible to lower your premium, asking your insurance agent about discounts, and insuring just your house – not the land under it.
To make your moving-in journey smoother, make sure you tackle projects such as repainting and carpeting before furniture is in the way. Working out garage and closet storage systems beforehand will also save you from having to move your belongings around more than once. Packing an easy access first week kit and an unpacking tool kit, as well as having spare keys cut, will prevent disorganization stress in the middle of all the chaos. During this process, remember to update all your accounts, banks, providers, and loved ones with your new address. Finally, remember to be excited for this new beginning in your life!