The American real estate market is bouncing back into shape. Homebuyers are eagerly snatching up new properties. If you’re not experienced with the process, it can be anxiety-inducing. The process is particularly fraught with emotion for new parents. They’re buying the house that they’ll raise their children in, the house where their family will shape itself.
Fortunately, people have been working on perfecting real estate transactions for a long time. You’re not exactly journeying into uncharted waters. There’s a lot of good advice around if you’re willing to look for it.
Are you a first-time homebuyer? Here are some tips to make the experience go smoother.
1. Get Pre-Approved
Don’t waste your time chasing after homes that your family can’t afford. Get pre-approved for your home loan and you’ll know exactly how much you have to work with. If you have a realtor, getting pre-approved shows that you’re serious. It could give you an advantage with sellers as well.
Another benefit of dealing with the bank early in the process is that it gives you time to look around for the best deal. Carefully read the loan terms and be on the lookout for any hidden fees.
2. Study the Neighborhood
Your quality of life is going to be affected by your neighbors, especially if you have a young family. Living next door to the party couple that blasts music all night long might be fun for some people but it can make it difficult to keep your little ones in the bed or to get a night of uninterrupted sleep.
Spend time in your new neighborhood before you buy your house. Drive around at night and see what the atmosphere is like, check if there are there any commercial real estate developments. Try speaking with your neighbors. The more you stalk the neighborhood, the less likely it is that you’ll be blindsided by unpleasant surprises upon moving in.
3. Hire an Inspector
It doesn’t matter if your house was constructed in 1910 or in 2018, you need to hire a home inspector. An out of the blue structural problem is the last thing that you want to deal with when you move in. If there are problems with the property, and there might be, it’s better if you learn about them early.
A professional home inspection isn’t free but it might be your only chance to spot problems with the construction before it’s too late. Negotiating with the builder is a lot harder once you’ve already moved into the property.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
Sellers can price their home however they want. Don’t assume that the price is fair or that the seller won’t budge. People expect to negotiate costs in real estate.
Take a look at how much similar homes in the area have sold for to get an idea of a reasonable price. If the neighborhood is particularly desirable, you might end up having to pay more than the seller originally asked for.
5. Don’t Fall in Love
Obviously, you want to love your new home, but you don’t want to become blind. Purchasing real estate is a serious transaction, you need to act rationally or your finances will suffer. You might be charmed by the breakfast nook and the spacious backyard, but if the home is out of your price range, there’s nothing that you can do.
You should also save your raptures until after your home inspection. A professional might be able to spot problems that you were blind to.
6. Keep Your Money in Place
If you’re planning to take out a home loan, you should avoid making lavish purchases for at least a few months. Banks want to see that you’re a steady, reliable spender. Spending huge amounts before buying a house can look reckless. Opening credit cards or amassing more debt will make it harder to get approved.
Start Your Search
Your family is growing; purchasing a new home is the natural next step in life. Choosing where you live is an important decision. The neighborhood that you settle on will decide what type of school your children attend. Your neighbors will be the people who shape your day-to-day environment. You’ll see them at the grocery store, at the park. It’s critical that you pick a home that you and your family feel comfortable in.
The best advice for first-time homebuyers is to take your time. You want to be absolutely certain that you’re making the right choice before you agree to sign any contract. Your home is your castle, you want it to be as close to perfect as possible.