Buying a home is a rewarding experience, but it’s also a big financial commitment – especially if this is your first home. These useful tips can help you make the right choices from start to finish.
Keep your credit looking sharp. We want to offer the best interest rates and terms possible, so it’s important for you to manage your credit responsibly during the months before you buy a home. If you open new accounts, move large sums of money from one bank account to another or max out your credit cards, your credit scores will likely be negatively affected. So be sure to avoid any of those activities until you’re settled in your new home.
Add up the true costs of a home before you buy. Keep in mind that a home’s purchase price doesn’t include the costs you’ll incur after move-in. For example, if you buy an older home, you may find yourself paying more for homeowner’s insurance. Buying a condo or townhome, or a home located in a subdivision? Be sure to ask about homeowner’s association (HOA) fees and dues. You’ll also need to factor in the annual costs of maintaining your home.
Get pre-approved for your loan before you shop. While it’s smart to be pre-qualified for financing, it’s smarter to get pre-approved. Realtors® and home sellers will know that we’ve already reviewed your finances and have decided how much we can responsibly lend you. Being pre-approved can also save time, as you can concentrate on viewing the properties within the price range set by your pre-approval.
Remember, you’re buying a house – not dating it. We all know how easy it is to fall in love with a house, especially if it looks just like the home you’ve always dreamed of. But if you make a major purchase decision based on your emotions, you’ll risk an expensive heartbreak. Before you commit, make sure your new home is a sound investment that fits your budget, with no major structural problems or hidden expenses.
Get a good education about your new location. If you’re planning to buy in an unfamiliar neighborhood, check out the local public schools before you buy – even if you don’t have school-age children. A property in a sought-after school district may be worth considerably more when it’s time to sell. And if you’ll be driving to work, get up early and test-drive your potential commutes from different neighborhoods before making your choice. You may discover that the shortest commute isn’t the fastest.