Buying Secret #1: Get Pre-Approved for Your Home Loan
When buying a home there is actually quite a big difference when it comes to being pre-qualified verse being pre-approved. Mostly anyone can get pre-qualified for a home loan/mortgage. Getting pre-approved means a lender has looked at all of your financial information and they’ve let you know how much you can afford and how much they will lend you. Getting pre-approved first will definitely save you a lot of time and hassle so you are not running around looking at houses you can't afford. It also gives you the opportunity to shop around for the best deal and the best interest rates
Buying Secret #2: Don’t Try to Time the Market
Try not to get caught up in timing the market and figure out when is the best time to buy. It is impossible to try and figure out the housing market (buying a house can be stressful enough without adding any other pressure.) The best time to look/buy is when you feel it’s the right time & you can afford it, the housing market continuously fluctuates, it goes up then it goes down then up again, relying on the market to pick a time for you may make you potentially lose out on something great & a perfect for you!
Buying Secret # 3: Bigger Isn’t Always Better
It goes without saying that everyone dreams of having/buying the biggest most luxurious home on the block! But bigger is usually not better when it comes to houses. There’s an old adage in real estate that says don’t buy the biggest, best house on the block. The largest house only appeals to a very small audience and you never want to limit potential buyers when you go to re-sell. Your home is only going to go up in value as much as the other houses around you. If you pay $600,000 for a home and your neighbors pay $350,000 to $400,000, your appreciation is going to be limited. Sometimes it is better to purchase the worst house on the block, because the worst house per square foot always trades for more than the biggest house.
Buying Secret #4: Check out the Neighborhood
Before you buy, get the lay of the land – drop by morning noon and night. Many homebuyers become very upset/angry because they had thought they found the perfect home, only to find out the neighborhood wasn’t for them. Drive by the house at all hours of the day to see what’s happening in the neighborhood. If you are choosing a brand new location quite a ways away from where you are currently living, then I would recommend doing a daily commute for a week or so to see if it’s something you will be able to handle on a regular basis (friend’s homes, shopping, family homes, & most importantly WORK!) Even if you don’t have kids, research the schools because it affects the value of your home in a very big way. If you buy a house in a good school district versus bad school district even in the same town, the value can be affected as much as 20 percent.
Buying Secret #4: You’re Buying a House – Not Dating It
One of the worst things you could do is to buy a house based on emotion! Doing this can sometimes persuade you to make some not so good financial decisions! Your instincts and emotions are to totally different things! Going with your instincts means that you recognize that you’re getting a great house for a good value. Going with your emotions is being obsessed with the paint color or the backyard. Buying a house is an investment, so make sure to make wise and smart decisions! (Plus you can always change the color of a wall!)
Buying Secret #5: Give Your House a Physical
Think about it, would you ever buy a car without checking first what’s under the hood? Of course you wouldn’t. The best thing to do is to hire a home inspector. It’ll cost about $400 (Winnipeg, Manitoba) I know that sounds like a lot but in the end it potentially could end up saving you thousands of dollars. A home inspector’s sole responsibility is to provide you with information so that you can make a decision as to whether or not to buy. It’s really the only way to get an unbiased third-party opinion. If it turns out that the inspector found any issues with the home you are looking at purchasing, you could use that to your advantage as a bargaining tool for lowering the price. It’s always better to find out sooner rather than later if there is going to be any major issues in the future that could cost you big time!
Buying Secret #8: Avoid a Border Dispute
It is very important to remember to have a survey done of your property so that you know exactly what you’re buying. Knowing where your property lines are will potentially save you from having a dispute with your neighbors. Also, your property tax is likely based on how much property you have, so it is best to have an accurate map drawn up.
Happy house hunting everyone, and try not to stress out, as this is a great step toward your future for the better! J