7 “Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda”s Of First Time Home Buyers
When you are ready to say “Adios!” to your landlord (and to shelling out hundreds of dollars each month in rent), you will probably have a lot of questions about buying your first home. From walking through your first open house to signing documents and getting the keys, there is a lot to know and understand. Here are a few things that some recent first time homebuyers wish someone would have told them to make their experience a little easier. Hopefully knowing some of these things before you start the home buying process will save you time, money and frustration in the long run.
Get Pre-Approved – Many first-time home buyers were surprised when so many realtors asked to see their pre-approval letter when they were making an offer. Others have experienced the heartbreak of falling in love with a property without being pre-approved, and then the property was gone by the time they got all of their ducks in a row. It may be tempting to jump right into the “fun” part of home buying and start checking out new places, but do the responsible thing and find a broker that you trust. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will save you time and hassle, and possibly heartbreak.
Don’t Leave Because It’s Ugly – One couple told a story about how they turned down a house that was in the perfect location, had all the features they needed, but, to put it bluntly, was ugly. “The colors on the wall were hideous,” one home buyer said, “and the carpets were gross.” Unfortunately, another couple came and scooped up the house, did a few upgrades and renovations, and the house looked like a new place. Don’t knock a house off of your list just because there are a few things that need some work. Remind yourself that cosmetic changes are easy once the house is yours, and it would be a shame to miss out on the perfect house over something that was totally fixable.
Look Left and Right – First time home buyers usually spend 5 to 7 years in their first home. Before you sign on the dotted line, get to know the neighbors, the people who will be living next to you that whole time. Driving by the house at different times of the day, and on different days of the week, will give you a good idea about the activity level in the neighborhood at different times ( just try not to look like a stalker!) You will be spending a lot of time in the neighborhood, so it’s important to make sure that it fits with your lifestyle. If you are looking for a neighborhood that has a lot of kids, pay attention for bikes and toys in the yard, that the playgrounds are busy, etc. If you live an active life, you may want to make sure the neighborhood has sidewalks and safe routes for you to run or ride your bike. Paying attention to your surroundings is just important as paying attention to the details of the home.
Sign here, and here, and here, and here – Buying a house involve a lot of two things: money and paperwork. When applying for a loan, be prepared to present a lot of different form, such as pay-stubs and tax returns. Knowing your credit score, and having a steady stream of income, and proof of it, are other things that you will have to prove in order to move forward with the purchase of a house. When it is time to seal the deal, you will will spend a lot of time signing and reading a lot of things.
Get a second pair of eyes – Before you sign on the dotted line, hire an inspector to take a look at the house. They are trained to see things in a home that you would normally not notice. Having them look over the house for possible problems can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Once you sign, the home become your home and problems become your problems. Get everything checked out first.
Give up the money – Everybody knows that buying a house costs money. What some first time home buyers don’t know is that there are little fees here and there that really add up. $250 for this, $50 for that, $300 for this. It may seem like the money just keeps on coming out of your account. But the little things have to be taken care of, and someone has to be paid for it. Along with the amount of money you are bringing to the table for the house, be prepared to spend a bit more on other fees.
Be patient – many first-time home buyers say that they feel that the home buying process took a very long time. They expected to find what they wanted, sign on the line, and move in. Unfortunately, the house buying process can be a long one, and patience is required. There are necessary steps that need to be taken in order to make sure everything run smoothly. Try your best to be patient, and enjoy the process. You’ll only buy your first home once.
Buying a house is like a well-choreographed dance. You can’t wait too long or you may lose out on an opportunity that you love. You can’t rush into it, or you may end up making a financial mistake for your family. Timing is everything, and working with a broker that you trust will help you figure out exactly when to pull the trigger. You can also take advice from friends and family who have bought houses before, and learn from their experiences. By learning from the lessons and mistakes of homeowner before you, you should be able to move through the home buying process smoothly and (almost) stress free.