Purchasing a home, whether it’s your first time or not, can be one of the most exciting times of transition you can experience. With all the positive energy you can gain from house shopping and finding a property that you love, it can be easy to gloss over a few details and steps along the way. In order to help keep you grounded in the process, we have compiled a list of things you should research before you pull the trigger and make an offer on a property.
Your Own Finances
There are several financial details you will want to have ironed out before even stepping foot into a house for the first time. One crucial step that you will want to take is getting pre-approved for your loan. Without pre-approval, it is very difficult to make a serious offer on a property, and since getting your pre-approval can take a little time, you won’t want to start your house search until that is obtained. Your pre-approval will also help you set a few parameters on your hunt by giving you a maximum budget you can be approved for.
Keep in mind, a pre-approval is not your last approval. Do not make the mistake of making changes to your finances like taking on more debt until after you have closed on the property. Any major changes to your finances could result in a denial of your loan even after pre-approval.
The Cost of the Home
While you might think this is a simple step, the cost of a home goes way beyond the listed sale price. There are many other fees that can come into play that might end up costing you more than you bargained for or were approved for. Know the property taxes in that neighborhood and be aware of how they have trended over the past few years. This will help you make an estimation of how it will fluctuate in the near future as well. Does the neighborhood have an HOA? Depending on the location, these fees can fluctuate from a few hundred dollars a year to several thousand. What will homeowner’s insurance run for on that property? Are there any immediate repairs that are needed? All of these factors might end up costing you way more than you had expected to spend when you first saw the list price on your dream home.
Your ideal home is way more than a great layout and spacious closets. Get familiar with the neighborhood, city, or part of town that the house is located in. What will your commute be like? If you have kids, what are the schools like in that area? With the age of the internet, finding information on things like crime statistics and general demographics of a neighborhood are so accessible it would be silly not to utilize it in your search for a new home! Be sure that this property will actually suit and improve your personal life style before you start making offers on a home. A house is a huge investment, so before you buy, be sure that you are walking into something that you really want and that will be a positive transition for you and your family!