Secret #10: Keep Your Spending Conservative
Do not make any huge purchases or move your money around for at least 3 to 6 months before buying a new home. Lenders need to see that you’re reliable and they need a complete paper trail in order to get you the best loan possible. If you open new credit cards, build up too much debt or buy a big-ticket item, you’re going to have a hard time getting a loan.
Secret #9: Get Started on the Pre-Approval for Your Home Loan
There’s a big difference between a buyer being pre-qualified and a buyer who has a pre-approved mortgage. Getting pre-approved means a lender has looked at all of your financial information and they’ve let you know how much you can afford and how much they will lend you. Being pre-approved will save you a lot of time and energy so you are not running around looking at houses you can’t afford.
Secret #8: Avoid a Border Dispute
Get a survey done on your property so you know exactly what you’re buying. Knowing where your property lines are may save you from a dispute with your neighbors. Also, your property tax is likely based on how much property you have, so make sure you have the accurate information recorded.
Secret # 7: Don’t Try to Time the Market
Don’t get obsessed with trying to time the market and figure out when is the best time to buy. Anticipating the housing market is impossible! The best time to buy is when you find your perfect house and you can afford it.
Secret # 6: Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Everyone’s drawn to the biggest, prettiest house on the block, remember bigger isn’t always better when it comes to houses! The bigger the house, the smaller the audience when you go to re-sell, and you never want to limit the amount of potential buyers. Your home is only going to go up in value as much as the other houses around you. If you pay $400,000 for a home and your neighbors pay $250,000 to $300,000, your appreciation may be limited.
Secret #5: Avoid Sleeper Costs
The difference between renting and home ownership is the sleeper costs. Sleeper costs are home ownership expenses other than your mortgage, such as, property taxes, utilities, homeowner-association dues, cost of repairs, maintenance and potential property-tax increases. Be sure to budget for sleeper costs or you could risk losing your house.
Secret #4: You’re Buying a House – Not Dating It
If you buy a house based soley on emotions, you might end up making some pretty bad financial decisions. There’s a huge distinction between emotions and instincts. Going with your instincts means that you recognize that you’re getting a great house for a good value. Going with your emotions is being obsessed with the paint color or the backyard. It’s an investment, so stay calm and be wise.
Secret #3: Give Your House a Physical
Would you buy a car without checking under the hood? Of course you wouldn’t! Hire a home inspector. It’ll cost a few hundred dollars but it could end up saving you thousands! A home inspector’s sole responsibility is to provide you with information so that you can make a decision as to whether or not to buy.
Secret #2: The Secret Science of Bidding
Base your opening bid on two things: (1)what you can afford, and (2)what you really believe the property is worth. Make sure your bid is fair and reasonable so that you don’t offend the seller. Remember to decide what you will bid based on what the market is doing at the time. You need to consider what other comparable homes have sold for in that neighborhood.
Secret #1: Stalk the Neighborhood
Before you buy, check out the neighborhood – drive by in the morning, at noon and at night. Drive by the house at all hours of the day to see what’s happening in the neighborhood. Do your regular commute from the house to make sure it is something you can deal with on a daily basis.