Buying a house is a big deal, and should be treated as such. This is the most important purchase you’ll make in your life and while it can be very stressful, the things below will help the process go much smoother and ease some of the anxiety.
Getting a pre-approval from a mortgage lender is the first thing you should do. Many buyers skip this step in the beginning. This is a poor move, because many realtors will not accept offers from buyers that don’t have one.
Check out the neighborhood
Buyers tend to fall in love with a house for its aesthetics. Sometimes the exterior and interior can be so nice, that they throw out the importance of where the house is. You need to research crime rates, what schools are in the area, and check out your neighbors as well. Drive around at different times of the night and day. You can change all sorts of things from the carpet, paint, to decorating, but you can’t change where the house is.
Keep in mind that just because you’re approved for a certain amount toward a home doesn’t mean you should actually spend all of it. You must be prepared for the other expenses that are coming after. These include taxes, homeowner associations, and insurance. You don’t want to have your perfect dream house with no money to leave it to go do things.
Get the home inspected
Too many buyers skip this step. This is a bad move, because there can be many problems hidden inside a home and you want to know about them before you buy it. Depending on the severity and number of the problems, you may not want to purchase it. Don’t make this mistake, its too easily avoided.
Spending too much money before you move in
Remember that your financial status is being watched like a hawk at this time. When you apply for the loan, the bank is going to look at your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. You should wait until after you are approved for the loan before you start ordering furniture, TVs, etc. for the house.
Signing without reading
Many buyers are in such a rush that they don’t read the documents they are signing. Panic occurs when the first mortgage, insurance or tax bill is due because they did not read the documents at closing and are not prepared. Electing to have an attorney present at closing is wise to ensure each document is explained and fully understood before signing.