Here are 7 tips for avoiding home related headaches:
As you go through the process of buying your new home remember that this is more than just a place to live, this is an investment. Keep in mind future resale. Is the neighborhood experiencing growth? Are you able to add value to the home while you own it? An appraisal will show you the market value of your home now and point out a few ways you can improve. Don’t skimp on an appraisal, it helps ensure you’re making a wise investment.
Talk to Your Neighbors
There’s a lot you don’t know about a neighborhood until you move in. You don’t want to buy a home only to learn that the neighborhood is full or drama. Or worse, the HOA issues fines for even the tiniest of offenses. Knock on a few doors to talk to your new neighbors. Neighbors often won’t hold back and you’ll be able to get the inside scoop on:
- Neighborhood drama
- HOA nightmares
- Crime in the area
- Local restaurants
- Pros and cons of the neighborhood
Don’t Make Compromises
Before you started home shopping you likely made a “must-haves” list to help frame your searches. Some must haves are more important than others. If you do a lot of projects you probably need extra garage space. If you have 4 kids you definitely need more than one bathroom, probably three. You can let go of some items on your list if they aren’t available in your price range, but be careful about making compromises. You don’t want to a buy a house with a one car garage and realize you don’t have any place to work on projects. You don’t want your mornings to be full of arguments over who gets to use the bathroom. Be logical about what you need and buy a house that meets your requirements.
Get an Inspection
If you’re want to save money on closing costs, the inspection is not the place to skimp. Imagine for a moment sleeping in your new dream home shortly after closing when a thunderstorm hits. No big deal until you start getting rained on, in your bed. When faced with a large home repair, the inspection cost will look quite small. Home inspections point out what might need to be on your house. A home inspection gives you the power to negotiate for repairs before closing. If you’ve agreed to buy a home as-is it’s still important to get an inspection so you know what you need to focus on first.
Don’t Borrow Too Much
It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to get as much house as possible, but just becase you’re approved for an amount doesn’t mean you need to use every penny. Before buying a home, take a close look at your expenses. Don’t forget about:
- Homeowners Insurance
- Upkeep Expenses
- Property Taxes
- Continued Savings
Save for Closing Costs
Buying a home is about more than the down payment. It’s great that you’re preapproved and ready with a down payment, but there’s more cost involved in the process. Don’t forget there can be other closing costs you have to pay. Depending on your contract, closing costs can be 3-5% of the cost of your home. Talk to your real estate agent about what to expect.
Budget for Repairs
Most homes are liveable, but that doesn’t mean it’s what you’ve been dreaming of. If you find a home with good bones but have big ideas for renovations then you need to have money set aside for changes you want to make early on. You may imagine your home being perfect one the floors are stained dark, or the walls are gray instead of tan. All these projects cost money and you need to have a good estimate of that cost before you buy. Do the math to make sure you can afford the changes you want to make before moving in. Common projects upon a move are:
- New window treatments
- New Furniture
- New / Refinish Floors
- Fresh Paint
- Remodel Kitchen & Baths
- Other Decoration
You’ve done your homework and are now ready to find the perfect dream home, without any surprises! Happy house hunting!