The exciting prospect of buying a new home is a thrilling experience. They allow us to dream, to make plans, to envision a family, and imagine a wide array of possibilities. Buying a new home can be a very paradoxical experience: it can be a time of wonderful expectations and excitement, while at the same time being just as much of a horrific nightmare. Therefore, it is very important to have due diligence done already in the preparatory phase. It is a strenuous process with numerous things to be considered.
Use a Trusted Realtor
Whether you are buying a new home or an old one it is strongly advisable to use a trusted realtor, someone with a good and reputable track record. They have a better view on the assessment of the market, they are licensed and knowledgeable, they work with a massive database, and chances are they will be able to find your desired home quicker.
They have a long list of career strengths under their belt and have great connections. A good realtor can also help with putting you in touch with financial institutions or mortgage brokers to find the best mortgage for your house.
Consider Your Environment
Before you decide on the house, there are a few questions you should answer for yourself just to be prepared. One such question concerns the environment or area you want to move to. There are different preferences from suburbia to downtown, from rural to urban settings. Do you want a single-family house, an apartment, a semi-detached or some other kind of home?
Take into consideration the nearby services, such as malls, supermarkets, schools, nurseries, hospitals, etc. It is also a practical idea to try to envision your future life on the property. Do you have kids, or are you planning on having them soon?
Is there a possibility that your parents will be living with you in the near future? Will you have guests staying with you often? The answers to these questions will determine the location, size, and type of home you are going to buy.
Make Sure You Can Afford It
The single biggest issue, however, is the financing of the chosen real estate. Most people have to take a loan to buy their home, and that is a long-term commitment. Banks have clear-cut guidelines and matrices based on the size of your down payment, fixed or variable interest rates, length of term, and many other factors.
In any case, this is where the invaluable advice of a good mortgage broker can save you a lot of money despite the fact that they work for a fee. Clarifying what you want and what you can afford is an important first step.
Clear Your Schedule
The next couple of weeks or even months will be spent house-hunting. Make sure to schedule in blocks of time in your calendar for viewings and open house visits. You will probably see a minimum of 4-6 houses before you find anything that you like.
Nevertheless, the number can easily go up to 20 or more, or if you get lucky, you may fall in love with the first place you see. My advice is that even in that case – if your time allows – keep looking for a while: the more options the better.
Speaking of time: it is of the essence. While you are browsing, casually looking, and house-hunting you are not in a rush and neither should you be. However, once you have nailed down what you want and find that exact match, you have to move fast.
You need to put in an offer – one that you can deliver on and is compatible with other potential offers the owner will receive. Everyone is trying to save a buck or two, but there are times when that strategy will not be to your advantage. Sometimes a bit more is exactly what it is, and can give you the upper hand over your competitors.
Interestingly, homeowners do not always sell to the highest bidder. For some, it really matters who will move into their house and are willing to make allowances as to the price if they believe you are the right candidate. Prep for meetings with landlords and homeowners as if you were preparing for regular interview questions.
Be open and do not be afraid to share your situation candidly with the owners if you believe they might find merit in it and it may grant you priority when it comes to accepting your offer.
Consider the Future
Another important aspect of home-buying is to find out about the zoning and future development plans for the area. Obviously, you are buying a property with a prospective value increase in mind, and though real estate prices typically rise over time, certain developments can up, or for that matter, lower the value of your investment.
Contact your local county’s building development office to receive information on codes, zoning, and development plans.
Importance of Inspections
Inspections, inspections, inspections! Depending on whether you are on the buyers’ or sellers’ end, this word can be your friend or foe. In the case of home-buying, inspectors and surveys are definitely your friends. They can help you discover anything from expired permits to massive, hidden, structural issues that can save you a ton of headache and money.
Your agreement should also typically include a clause on the penalty-free return of your deposit if a hidden issue is discovered in the house and you decide to discontinue the purchase process.
If everything is in order, you will have to finalize the contract which your carefully selected lawyer will do for you – again, for a fee, of course. Signatures, bank transfers, keys, and pronto: you are a new homeowner.
Though this sounds like a somewhat minute but quickly executable process, you should definitely allow yourself months to close the deal. Even if there are no surprises, paperwork, verifications, checks, adjustments to the contract on both sides can take quite a while, so be prepared for that from the get-go.
Don’t burn your bridges with your landlord if you are currently renting, or don’t sell your property with a too soon move-in date if you previously owned a home. Make sure you have a roof over your head before that roof is actually the roof of your own, new home.