Posted 30 Sep, 2019
10 Things to Check Before Buying a Home
Keep these 10 things in mind before you decide to buy a home. They’ll help you to not only prepare yourself, but also feel confident in your decision before you commit to buying a property for the first time.
1. Know your credit score
The first step in preparing to buy a home is understanding your financial situation so that you can get pre-approved for a mortgage, and you can’t do that if you don’t have good credit. Having a good credit score can save you thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars over the course of your loan, so make sure you get started early on raising your credit score.
2. Get pre-approved for a loan
Getting pre-approved for a loan will help you immensely when it comes time to put in an offer on a home. Not only that, but it will give you the security of knowing how much you can afford to spend on your future home. But keep in mind that just because you’ve been approved for a certain amount doesn’t mean you need to spend the full amount you’ve been approved for.
3. Budget for your home and your expenses
Calculate how much your future mortgage will cost you every month, and add on all of your monthly expenses on top of that before you decide how much you’re willing to spend on your home. Remember to consider the cost of home insurance, property taxes and home maintenance when you do your calculations, on top of your usual monthly expenses.
4. Know what you’re looking for
Make sure you know what you’re looking for when it comes to your future home. Have your list of must-haves and want-to-haves, and evaluate each home you consider against this list so you have an accurate record of how closely each home meets your needs, rather than trusting your memory. You might need to re-evaluate this list as you go, but that’s okay. It’s all part of the process.
5. Use a reputable realtor
A reputable real estate agent can help guide you on your home buying journey. Make sure you find the best agent you can, because they are going to be helping you to make one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. Consider interviewing multiple agents, so that you have multiple professionals to choose from and can select the one you prefer, rather than having to simply accept or reject one person. And do check their credentials, and call their references.
6. Try to see beyond the wallpaper
There are some things about a home that can’t change, and there are some things that can. Cluttered furniture, ugly wallpaper, messy yards and more can all be easily fixed. Window placement and the light in rooms, the layout of the home, and the neighbourhood it is in are all either incredibly expensive or impossible to change. Keep those things in mind when you’re looking at a home.
7. Don’t spend more than you can afford
Even the most beautiful of dream homes can turn into a nightmare if you can’t afford to keep living in it. And being house poor is no way to live. Avoid trapping yourself in a terrible situation by only looking at houses that you are sure you can afford, and resist the urge to look at properties that are out of your budget, because they will just tempt you into making a decision that will hurt you down the line.
8. Use a reputable home inspector
Just like your real estate agent, your home inspector is helping you make an incredibly important decision. You want to ensure you are hiring a reputable professional. So check their credentials and call their references, and make sure they are qualified to evaluate the type of home you are considering purchasing.
9. Don’t do anything to affect your financial situation
If your financial situation changes after you were pre-approved for your loan, you may not be eligible for the same loan anymore. Don’t go changing careers or making any other large purchases before your loan gets approved, or you might find yourself unlucky enough to be unable to afford the home of your dreams.
10. Don’t be hasty
The most important thing to do when buying a home, as cliche as it might sound, is to trust yourself. Don’t rush into a decision, don’t let anyone pressure you, and don’t commit to anything until you’re absolutely ready. Ask all the questions you can think of, no matter how silly they might seem. There’s no such thing as a silly question, and you deserve to feel confident and ready before committing to spending what is likely the most money you will ever spend. Get all the second, third and fourth opinions you need. If you lose out on a property because you needed more time, that’s fine. There will be other houses. Keep asking your questions until you’re enough of an expert in the process that you feel confident quickly enough to move forward. Don’t rush, and don’t worry. You’ll know when you’re ready, and no one can tell you when that is except for you.