Homeownership is something most people aspire to have. Whether you are getting out of the renting world by purchasing your first home, or are experienced in the housing market, there are a few things you should always do before making a purchase.
Your home is the place you and your family will be making memories for years to come – it is not a decision to make lightly. In addition to the emotional elements that go into a decision, a mortgage is a financial consideration that will likely stay with you for decades to come. Making sure that your dream home is both right for you and that you have made the right choice financially are important in equal measure.
What to do before buying a home
Constantly making time to tour homes can be exhausting but remember that each visit is an investment in your future. When you eventually find a place you love, be sure to do the following:
- Start with location and square footage – When you are touring houses, remember that you can always upgrade things like flooring and appliances, but you can’t change where a house is built and adding square footage is a major undertaking. Do not let yourself be swept up in superficial things like design or landscape if a house fundamentally does not fit your needs.
- Enlist an attorney – People are sometimes surprised by the fact that you should always consult an attorney during the house hunting process. While not required by law, they are a significant help in several areas. An attorney will assist with permits and zoning matters, review purchase agreements and advocate on your behalf, advise on inspection disputes and many other things.
- Research the builder – Many people are concerned about what type of ground a house is built on or if the wiring is sound, but they do not bother to consider where the house came from. Research the original builders. Not all home builders are the same – you may be shocked to find out how many construction firms have complaints, disciplinary actions and worse filed against them.
- Always get inspections – The word of a skilled, independent home inspection can be invaluable if things should go wrong down the road. The seller may promise that inspections are not necessary, especially in the case of newer homes. No home is invincible and having an inspector take a look before a builder’s warranty expires can save considerable time and money.
- Speak to multiple lenders – There is nothing wrong with speaking to multiple lenders before deciding on who to borrow from. Even if the seller has a preferred lender, shop around. Remember that a difference of even a fraction of a one percent of interest lead to a difference of tens of thousands of dollars across the life of a mortgage.
By doing these five things you are taking responsible steps toward smartly buying a home. Consider speaking to an attorney more in-depth if you still have questions on how best to proceed.
Buying a home is a major decision. It is, however, one of the best decisions you can make for you and your family. It provides you a place that is yours alone and somewhere you can build memories for years to come.