Real Estate Tips
First Time Home Buyers On The South Shore
The day has finally arrived! You’ve decided it’s time to buy a new home. Whether you are buying in a familiar area or are moving to a brand new city, there are certain things to keep in mind as you begin the hunt for your dream home. Below is a list of tips that will aid you in choosing the best property for you and will help prevent a case of buyer’s remorse.
- Work with a buyer's agent. A good buyer’s agent will be able to help you navigate all the twists and turns that come with finding and purchasing a home. They will negotiate the best price for you and use their knowledge of the industry to find you the perfect property. Keep in mind that only the seller pays commission on a sale, so it doesn’t cost you anything to have an agent and could actually save you a significant amount of money on the purchase.
- Consider all the expenses of owning a home. The cost doesn’t stop once you calculate how much your mortgage will be each month. There is much more to the equation than meets the eye. Property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and utilities are major factors to consider when budgeting for a new home. In addition, regular house maintenance will incur expenses. If you purchase a home with a big yard, consider if you will need landscaping or snow plowing in the winter. If you are moving to a considerably larger home, keep in mind the new furniture you will need to fill the extra space you acquire.
- Sort out your finances as soon as you can. Find out what your credit score is and start paying down any debts you have. Having a good credit score will increase your eligibility for a loan. It can take a while to improve your credit so begin the process as soon as possible when you start thinking about purchasing a property. In addition, don’t make any large purchases before you buy a home. Big credit purchases such as a vehicle, boat, or timeshare, will be reflected in your credit and may disqualify you from loans.
- Organize your paperwork. When it comes to making a purchase as big as a home, lenders are going to ask you for a lot of information. Be prepared by gathering your bank statements, pay stubs, and past W-2 tax forms.
- Be ready to dedicate plenty of time to finding the right home. On average, it takes several weeks to find a home once you start looking. Even if you are working with a buyer’s agent, it is helpful to bring them listings you would like to see because it will help them to get a feel for what you’re interested in. You will need to make time in your schedule to visit potential properties and attend open houses. Having a buyer’s agent will minimize the amount of effort you have to put into your search, but be ready to take a hands-on approach.
- Make a down payment. Although it is possible to get 100% financing for your home, a down payment is a good way to invest your hard-earned money. A decent down payment also makes your offer appear stronger and can help you negotiate a better deal for loans and purchases. Experts agree that 20% of a home’s purchase price is a good down payment. If you don’t have a down payment, there are various organizations and programs available to help qualifying buyers put together a down payment.
- Shop around for loans. Don’t be afraid to get two or three rates from different lenders. When borrowing such a large sum of money, even one percent difference on the interest rate will save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Use your approvals to negotiate the best rate possible.
- Get specific about your location. We all know that location dictates the value of your home but you may not know that that is true right down to the street your home is on. The price of houses varies even within neighborhoods and is affected by things such as what schools are in the area and how much money nearby homes sell for. So even if you don’t have children, or don’t plan on having any, learning about the school system will be beneficial. Be sure that you are comfortable with the location and the price you will have to pay to get what you want.
- Make sure the new property fits in with your lifestyle. The location of your new property is extremely important to your lifestyle. Think about your daily activities in your new home and consider what is important for you to have in your new location. Is it a long commute from your job? Is there public transportation? Is there any nightlife? A shopping center? Would you find the rules of a condominium complex restrictive? Or would you enjoy not having to worry about garbage, and lawn mowing? Do you have a pet? Pet owners may need more yard space or may be excluded from certain housing communities. The answers to these questions will shape where you should buy your home and what kind of home you should buy.
- Have the property surveyed. You may not always be able to trust the previous property owner’s word on where your property’s boundaries are. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have the land surveyed so you’re fully aware of where your property lines are.
- Use a very good home inspector. If you have a buyer’s agent, they will give you excellent advice about home inspections and recommendations on who to use. You can learn a lot during your housing inspection if you have a thorough inspector and if you don’t hesitate to ask questions. Find out as much information as possible because what may seem like a minor issue now, could develop into something major.
- Visit the property at different times. Driving by your prospective new home at different times of day will help you to better understand the daily workings of the neighborhood. It may be busy early in the morning with children going to school or it could be a busy lunch time location, depending on what is nearby. You should also pay the property a visit on the weekend to see how lively it gets on a Friday or Saturday night.
- Think about your not-so-distant future. Make sure you keep in mind what your hopes and goals are while you live in your new house and if the house is suitable. Will you have children, roommates, friends, or aging parents that you will have to consider? Is your home big enough for its intended use? If not, is there room for expansion or will you be moving again soon? On the contrary, is the home too large? You may end up heating and furnishing rooms that you don’t use. Whatever your needs are, or soon will be, take them into consideration.
- Check out the building plans for the town. Before you seal the deal on your home of choice, find out if there are any development plans near you. You may not want a new shopping mall popping up right next to your newly purchased house. Find out what properties border yours and have a look at your town’s commercial zones.