People say it isn’t what you know, it’s who you know. But, in some cases, it’s also what you know. One of those cases is buying a house. If you go into the process not knowing enough about your finances, the market, the mortgage process, or your area, you may be more susceptible to making a big mistake – regardless of who you know. Here are a few things that are good to know before buying a house …
Your Money: Not only do you need to know what you could afford in a monthly mortgage payment, how much you have saved for a down payment, and what your credit looks like, you also have to know about putting something away for possible maintenance and repairs, paying closing costs, and not moving your money around too much in the months leading up to your purchase. In other words, you’ll never be more in sync with your bank accounts and income than you will when buying a house. Have things in order and a good handle on your finances and you’ll be fine.
Your Neighborhood: Before you start searching for a home, it’s important to narrow down your choices. That means, having a look at the area you hope to live in and getting a feel for the neighborhood and its proximity to your job, shopping, schools, hospitals, etc. Make a list of things that are most important to you and a list of areas you might be interested in looking at, then start eliminating what you can based on your list of priorities. Knowing what you want and where you want it will make your home search more focused and successful.
What You’re Buying: Once you’ve been approved for a loan and settled on a house you’d like to buy, it’s time to check it out more thoroughly. That means having the house inspected. After all, you’ll want to know everything that’s wrong with the house before you commit to it for the long-term. If all goes well, you won’t find any major problems and the sale will go on as planned. If, however, there are problems, you may be able to use that to negotiate a lower price. The last thing you want is to buy a home only to realize six months in that it needs costly repairs and renovations. Find out what you’re getting into in advance.
How To Negotiate: Always rely on the expertise and advice of the pros you’re working with. Having a good lender and real estate agent is key to a smooth, rewarding experience and getting the home of your dreams. That’s especially true when negotiating a price. Though you may think you want to come in low and chip away at the seller’s asking price, the market may not be right for that. In other words, trust your agent. They know what’s happening in the area and whether you’ve got a potential bargain on your hands or you’ll need to step up and offer more than asking to beat the competition. Don’t be so sure of yourself that you insist on a strategy that could end up losing a bidding war with other interested buyers. Be smart and listen.
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