Buying a house is one of the most important decisions you will make. Buying your first home can be exciting and overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. There are so many questions to answer: How much should I budget? What type of mortgage am I eligible for? What should my down payment be?
But before you get caught up in the excitement and start looking for your dream home, you should know a few things.
Here are ten surprising tips to help you when buying a house:
1. Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage
One of the most important things you can do when buying a house is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will let you know how much you can afford and show sellers that you are serious about buying a home. It also gives you a better idea of your monthly payments.
Also, be sure to shop around for the best mortgage rate. There is a lot of competition in the mortgage market right now, so you should be able to find a good rate.
2. Consider a House and Land Package
If you’re looking for your first home, consider buying a house and land package. This is a great way to save money since the cost of the land is usually included in the price of the house. You also don’t have to worry about finding a builder and dealing with all the paperwork that goes along with building a new home.
3. Get a Home Inspection
It’s important to get a home inspection for any property you consider buying. The only way to ensure the property is in good condition is with a professional inspection. A home inspector will check for everything from mold and violations of building codes to safety hazards like water leaks or toxic paint.
Inspections can find problems you might not even be aware of, so it’s always best to get one before offering a property.
4. Don’t Forget to Budget for Closing Costs
When you’re buying a house, there are a lot of costs to consider beyond the purchase price. These include things like closing costs, which can add up to thousands of dollars. Be sure to factor these costs into your budget so you don’t end up being surprised when it’s time to close on the property.
5. Pay Attention to Your Credit Score
Your credit score is important for a lot of reasons, but did you know it can also affect your ability to buy a house? If you have a high credit score, you’ll probably be able to get a better mortgage rate. Conversely, if your credit score is low, you may have trouble getting approved for a loan at all.
That’s why it’s important to check your credit report before you start shopping for a home. You can get a free copy of your report from each of the three major credit bureaus once per year.
6. Consider a Fixer-Upper
If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to consider buying a fixer-upper. These properties need some work but can be had for a fraction of the price of a move-in-ready home. Just be sure to factor in the cost of repairs when you’re budgeting for your purchase.
7. Don’t Forget About Maintenance Costs
Owning a home is not all about the purchase price. You also have to budget for things like maintenance and repairs. This can include everything from painting the walls to fixing a leaking roof. Set aside some money each month for these costs, so you don’t find yourself caught off guard when something needs to be fixed.
8. Get a Home Insurance Quote
When you buy a house, you need to get a home insurance policy. This will protect your investment in case something happens to the property. Be sure to shop around for the best rates and ask your insurance company about discounts for things like having a fire alarm or being a loyal customer.
9. Look for Energy-Efficient Features
One way to save money on your monthly expenses is to look for a home with energy-efficient features. These can include things like solar panels, double-pane windows, and energy-efficient appliances. Not only will you save money on your utility bills, but you may also be eligible for tax credits or other incentives.
10. Research the Neighborhood
When you’re buying a house, it’s not just the property itself that you need to worry about. You also need to make sure you’re happy with the neighborhood. Do some research before you start shopping to find an area that meets your needs. Consider things like the crime rate, schools in the area, and the proximity to stores and restaurants.
Buying a home is one of the most significant decisions you will ever make in your life. It’s important to be prepared for everything that comes along with it, from the initial search to closing costs. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to making an informed decision about the perfect property for you and your family.