For most people, buying a home is one of the most important and expensive transactions you will ever make. Buyers often overlook some very important things that can sometimes negatively impact them when purchasing a home. As Realtors, with years of real estate and finance experience, we have seen the pit falls many of our clients make when buying a home. We wanted to share some very important before, during and after tips for all buyers to keep in mind when buying a home to avoid buyer’s remorse and to be sure you are getting the most for your money that will meet all of your needs now and for years to come. Keep in mind these the following before, during and after advice:
BEFORE BUYING -
Save: When you are serious about buying a home, be sure to start saving as soon as possible, not only for the required down payment but also for the upgrades and purchases you will ultimately want to buy for your new home. According to a Nerd Wallet’s Home Buyer Reality Report survey of 2,200 home buyers and mortgage applicants the biggest regret Millennials and Generation X buyers experienced was not saving enough money before buying a home. More than 10 percent of respondents to the survey said they failed to save enough money, before buying a home and thus they no longer felt financially secure, after buying their home.
Budget: A new home comes with all kinds of expense liability from new furnishings, landscaping changes or upgrades, repairs, appliances, insurance, and the list goes on. Be sure you have accounted for these factors when saving for a home and budget accordingly. Having a detailed budget of exactly where your money is going and feeling comfortable with the nest egg you have built to help with the expenses associated with homeownership will help make the experience much more enjoyable with less surprises along the way.
Get Pre-Approved / Pre Qualified: When you are serious about buying a home and not just looking, be sure you work with your realtor to find a lender and get pre-approved BEFORE you start looking at homes. Also, be sure you obtain a pre-approval and not just a pre-qualification, which simply means you obtain a preliminary letter from a lender or mortgage broker without the official credit check, etc. With a pre-approval, you are more fully vetted by the lender complete with a credit check so you know exactly what size loan you qualify for. This will definitely allow you to be ready to make an official offer on a home that feels right and if there is heavy competition, which is often the case, you will know exactly what you can afford and be comfortable in your offer, which will add to your buying power and assure you get what you can afford that will also meet your needs.
Do Your Finance Research: As Realtors we can help you education yourself and get you in touch with qualified mortgage brokers and lenders so there are no surprises when it comes to the borrowing or buying process. Nearly half of the respondents to the Nerd Wallet’s Home Buyer Reality Report survey said they would do something’s differently if they could. Near the top of the list of things they would do better is they would do more research before buying. A total of 41% of the buyers who applied for a mortgage felt they weren’t aware of all of their loan options. Many first time homebuyers were also not aware of all of the costs associated with buying a home, especially the closing costs. Don’t be surprised by anything, when you are serious about buying a home, contact Rick and Jim Properties and let us start working for you so you are totally prepared and there are no surprises.
DURING / WHILE BUYING -
You think you have found your perfect home; here are some very important things to consider before putting the home under contract.
Research the Neighborhood: Drive around the neighborhood and surrounding areas during different times of the day. Check out the neighborhood at night, it is well lit and is it a place where you would feel safe once the sun goes down? Is it located near a major highway, train tracks, airport or under airport traffic patterns, it is located near a school or college where students and late-night activates may keep you up at night. Talk to other homeowners in the neighborhood and ask them about the noise and if they like living in the area, this will give you an idea of what the neighbors are like and what kind of neighborhood it is.
Check the Crime Stats: Before buying, get a report of the police calls in the neighborhood. A “bargain price” may be related to the crime rate in the area. Take the extra time to do your research about the crime rate in the area.
Know your Commute and Traffic Patterns: What will your commute be like to and from work? Test your commute from the house you are considering and understand what rush hour is like in the morning and evenings. In addition, your Realtor should be very familiar with the area and able to give you a lot of insight into the traffic patterns in the area.
Consider Resale Value: Even if you plan on staying in the home for many years, consider the resale value and research all the factors that will affect the resale value of the home. Does the home back up to a busy street, are there several apartment buildings or retail nearby? How is the surrounding land zoned? You should know and understand what future development may occur around you or adjacent to the property. Is the neighborhood undergoing a revitalization or are their signs it is struggling? Consider things that may scare off potential future buyers.
Home Size: Nearly 20 percent of Millennial and Gen X buyers said they regretted not buying a bigger home. Consider your family plans and think about the Bathroom to Bedroom ratio. You will never regret buying a home with too many bedrooms or bathrooms but not having enough of either can make your regret a home purchase. Also, always consider and property set back and make sure if there is any question about the home being too small make sure there is “room to grow”. Is there room to add on if needed and would it be practical and affordable?
Technology – Satelite / Wifi / Cell Signal: In today’s technically dependent society don’t forget to check the technology providers that service the area and the cell signal in any home you are considering putting under contract. Have your Realtor ask the seller who their service providers are and what services are available in the area. Also, go in the home and check your cell signal throughout the home to make sure you have a strong signal everywhere in the home.
Check the Water Pressure: Always check the water pressure, check the sink facets, showers, and flush the commode to make sure you have adequate water pressure. If you feel the pressure is lacking be sure to research any causes to see if the pressure can be increased.
Check the Air Filters: The quality of the air filter can give you insight into how the appliances are being maintained.
Get a Home Warranty: Always insist that the seller purchase a home warranty. This may save you from any surprises and unexpected expenses related to the home appliances for a full year after closing on the home.
Offer to Buy and Tools / Lawn Care Equipment: Especially if you are a first time homebuyer, it is always a good idea to offer to buy any handyman tools or lawn equipment you see when considering buying a specific home. This can be negotiated as part of your purchase offer and is typically handled with a standard Bill of Sale.
Verify Everything: Every seller is required to complete a detailed “Sellers Disclosure” but you should always work with your Realtor and insist on a full written disclosure from the seller about all remodeling, repairs, old damage, leaks, mold, etc. Also, check with the city and county and get in writing the properties permit history, all prior uses of the home, research the local land use and zoning laws, any future construction or development plans and road right of ways. Make sure you understand all of the association restrictions, fees and rules and anything else you can find out. It is not “location, location, location” it should be verify, verify, verify.
AFTER BUYING -
Make a Homeowners Manual: Start a three ring binder to keep all of your important documents such as insurance papers, home warranty information, receipts, repair history, paint colors and other important paperwork pertaining to your home. Storing all your home information in one handy place will make life easier down the road when you need to replace appliances or file a claim. It will also be a “plus” and help you as the homeowner when selling your home in the future.
Get to Know Your Home Before Making Big Changes: Plan on living in the home for at least 12 – 18 months in order to experience every season in the home and really understand the functionality of the home before planning any major renovations such as any additions or knocking down walls. What you initially think you want may change after living in the home for a while.
Don’t Be Afraid of DIY Projects: 90% of any DIY job is getting the courage to try the project. Just do your research, understand any required permitting and then get started. Worst case scenario, you mess up and then have to hire a professional. Best case, you save a ton of money, learn something new and feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment when the project is completed. Just be sure to only tackle one project at a time. It is very challenging and stressful to have multiple projects going at once. It can also become a money pit and projects can go unfinished so don’t’ settle with unfinished projects and be sure to start and finish one project at a time before moving onto the next project.
If you are considering buying a home, be sure that your first step in contacting Rick and Jim Properties at 843-469-6570/6580 so we can get started finding you the perfect home and help you every step of the way. Be sure to follow us and like us on Facebook and visit our website at RickandJimProperties.com for more useful real estate information. We look forward to working with you soon.