When you are ready to buy your first home, it can be overwhelming to even know how to start the process. Many people think it is just finding a pretty house, getting a loan and moving in. If you are not careful, you may end up paying for much more than you planned. Use our tips to have the perfect home buying experience.
1. Focus on Location
Location cannot be stressed enough. Before you even look at your first house, decide where you want to live. This may sound like a no-brainer, but many people can be talked into a location they do not prefer. You need to decide whether you want to live in the country, big city or small town and stick with your preference. Check on the schools in the area and remember to consider how far you will need to drive for work and shopping.
2. Make Sure You Are Financially Prepared
Unfortunately, many people severely underestimate the cost of purchasing and owning a home. Before you start your search, check your credit report for mistakes and save as much cash as possible. Banks are becoming much stricter on who they will make home loans to and you want to look as financially sound as possible. You may get pre-approved for your loan so you know exactly what your budget will be. Remember to consider home insurance and taxes into the amount you will have to pay each month.
3. Pay Off as Much Debt as Possible
Many people do not consider any debt they already have before they try to purchase a house. They may buy a car or not pay off their credit cards each month. One of the first things a lender will check is your debt to income ratio and if your debt amount (including student loans) is too high, they will not lean you the money. Trying to get a loan while you are already buried in debt will be extremely difficult.
4. Use the Internet Sparingly
The Internet is a great place to start your home search and also to begin to compare bank fees and interest rates. However, the best thing you can do is to go to several banks and talk to different lenders. Face to face conversations will help you understand the fees you will have to pay and how much you will need as a down payment. You can get everything down on paper – this makes comparing your options even easier.
Real estate agents also use the Internet to showcase the homes they have for sale. Again, remember that the real estate agent will show only the best of the house online. You have to actually visit the house before deciding to purchase it. The number of people who try to choose a house online is insane.
5. Get a Home Inspection
The real estate agent and the seller want to sell you the house. While most people are honest, you need to know exactly what you are purchasing. A home inspection will give you details about the condition of the house you cannot see or that you may forget to check. Not having a home inspection can cost you thousands of dollars in repairs after you purchase the house.
To avoid making any of these mistakes, you need to be patient and know that it might take months for the perfect house and loan to come together. Do not rush into anything or you may pay thousands of extra dollars for your impatience.