Buying a house, especially for the first time, is a milestone that needs to be celebrated. But to have a good experience, it’s essential to follow recommended guidelines. In this article, we’ll discuss all you need to do to have a stress-free experience. We’ll also share advice from real estate professionals who have years of experience in the real estate industry. We’ll also discuss the best time to buy, the process involved, and factors to consider when buying a house.
Most people choose to shop in spring for a new house because generally, the best deals can be found in November. But if you want more options, it’s suggested to look for new properties in April. According to Zillow, 26% of buyers paid above the list price in April, while just 15% of homes were sold above the asking price in November.
Phrases like “mortgage loan” and “debt-to-income ratio” can make you feel intimidated. But here’s the thing; it is simpler than you think.
Expert tips on getting started: Pre-qualification
Whether you are trying to secure a mortgage loan or want to save enough for your down payment, it is pretty manageable than you think, only if you have the right advice and resources around. Priya Malani’s expert advice, founder of financial planning firm Stash Wealth, has been listed below – that breaks the jargon terms used in the contract and other blogs.
Get your finances right: We know our spending habits, but what about budgeting? It is also essential to know how much you make. Before buying the house, you need to know a lot more than just your general net worth. Initially, it would be best to determine your debt-to-income (DTI). It’s a number that shows the portion of your income that goes into the debt payments. “Most banks will pre-qualify you for more houses than you can afford,” Malani explains. It is important to note that you should be able to support monthly payments for the properties.
Saving for the down payment: Now that you are thinking of buying a home and whether or not you can afford it, it is essential to have a plan ready for a down payment. It is recommended to automate the savings plan – in which you can use an online calculator to assess factors like insurance, taxes, condo dues, HOA, and others that are worth keeping in mind. It is also essential to plan your expenses accordingly.
Expert tips on getting approved – Pre-approval
Often used interchangeably, approval and pre-qualification are not the same. Pre-qualification is a stage when you assess your funds and hunt down the best house that you can buy. At the pre-approval stage, you know what you’re working towards. It is a stage where you will learn how much the bank is willing to lend you.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage: The lender will look at your credit and assess your DTO and savings, among various other things, to determine how much is ready to lend you for a home purchase.
Select a mortgage plan that works for you: It’s time to be realistic – don’t over-commit to buying a house. If you are contributing a large chunk of your earnings to your mortgage every year, it is important to consider your personal and lifestyle priorities into account as well. It can be tempting to go for a bigger house, but then lenders also lend big loans to make more money. It would be best to make sure that the monthly plan is feasible.
Expert tips on securing the house – Post-approval
It would be best to make sure that the real estate agent gets your motives and needs. It is one of the highly recommended tips by many experts. The agent must know the purpose of buying the house. The more an agent knows, the better they’ll tell you which ones are available at the asking price.
Closing the deal: You are now at the final stage of closing the deal. You will receive a signed contract listing the terms of the agreement in print. This is a hefty contract – but it is best to read it thoroughly before signing.
What to look for while buying a house – Factors to consider
Before buying a house, there are lots to look into, from the number of bedrooms to the neighborhood. So how do you know which home is right for you? After looking at expert advice, they all have agreed that the following factors are essential to be kept in mind while buying a house.
Location: Location is the one thing about the home that never changes and the most significant decision you need to make before buying the house.
Price: You need to choose a home within your price range. Do consider the mortgage payment you are comfortable with. In a highly competitive market where bidding is standard, you should be prepared to negotiate. However, don’t break the bank for the house beyond the price you have set.
Style and space: The house should represent your taste. You want to be content with the home layout that you choose. Make sure that you have your short and long-term size needs laid down.
Amenities and features: Think about the aspects of a home you want to include. Do you want a deck or a garage? Try looking at the flooring and quality of appliances and lighting fixtures you want in your space.
Status of schools and offices around: If you are planning to start a family shortly or want to check the status of the locality, pay close attention to the quality of schools and offices in the area.
Taxes and cost of living in the area: The house’s location has a significant impact on the taxes that you are liable to pay. Some of the taxes that you will need to look into are:
- Property taxes
- Sales tax
- Homeowners and other insurance
- Utility tax
Association and background of homeowners: If you are planning to buy a house, make sure to check the family’s background. Check on the reputation they have set for in the locality. Also, check if the house falls under homeowners association – because this comes with restrictions and how you can use and decorate the home.
Questions to ask before buying a house?
You can use the above list to make sure that you put together a perfect checklist before buying any property. However, it is also important to get the essential information from the owners. The more questions you ask, the better is the clarity with the property. Here are some of the important and basic questions that you should ask the owners regarding the property.
What style of the house will work for you?
Do you prefer a simple and evergreen style or want a contemporary and custom layout on every floor?
Is the house governed and represented? If yes, how?
How long has the property been on the market?
How long have the owners lived?
What is the reason for the sale?
What is the running cost of maintaining the property?
Would the owners consider any offers?
Regardless of what advice you take, it is never enough. Buying a home is personal. It would help to decide which factors you have to prioritize and conclude which ones are important and which ones aren’t.
Ensuring that your transactions are secured and working with the best real estate agent is the key. TerraCottage is an all-in-one platform that connects the right buyers with their dream sellers, makes it easy to connect with the right real estate agents, and filters the options in just one click!
Above all, take your time to decide the right house for you. It can be hard at first, but you will be thankful to yourself for settling down at the right house.