HOME BUYING TIPS:
Once you have spotted a home you think you may want to buy, it’s time to take a few more steps to make sure this home will be your dream home and not your worst nightmare! Here are some tips recommended by the experts:
Take pictures inside and outside the home.
These pictures will be an assistance to your memory when you are thinking about what your prospective new home will provide for you. Use a digital camera and download your pictures on your computer so you can then peruse them at your leisure. If you notice any flaws in the home, be sure to photograph them so you can get an expert’s opinion on what might be needed to correct them.
Bring a spouse, family member, or friend.
Obviously, your spouse or any other person who may going to be living with you in the home needs to be involved in the decision. But sometimes the neutral observations of someone else such as a family member or friend who won’t be living in the home can be valuable. Ask them what they think about the home, and whether or not they would consider buying it.
Make sure the house fits into your budget.
We talked about this in the “Getting Started” section, but it is extremely important that you don’t saddle yourself with a mortgage you can’t handle. Do the necessary homework and talk with your lender before you get too far down the road of purchasing your home. Sometimes our longings and dreams blind us to the realities of financial situations. Use your own common sense and rely on the advice of financial professionals.
Ask about utility and maintenance costs.
You may want to request copies of utility bills for the past year. Sellers aren’t always forthright when relaying these costs. Seeing the bills for yourself can help you decide if the home is truly a bargain.
Maintenance costs are a little harder to predict. If you spot maintenance problems such as a deteriorating roof, water stains on walls or ceilings, sagging downspouts, crumbling masonry on a chimney, or any other “red-flag” items, bring them up for possible repair before you purchase the home.
Think of commuting time and costs.
Your prospective home may be the home of your dreams, but if it’s a considerable distance from where you work, you need to consider that fact. Commuting time can become a real drag, and the costs of gasoline and wear and tear on your car can affect your budget. Keep these things in mind when looking at the overall picture.
Compare what you'd like to have against what you really need.
We also talked about this in the first section, but it’s an important step in your home-buying decision. Make separate lists of your NEEDS and your WANTS, then spend time talking about what you’ll be willing to compromise and what is truly essential. Again, don’t let your dreams blind you to financial realities.
Consider your monthly budget - can you afford the renovations and maintenance that you'll need to do?
If you spot changes you’ll definitely want to make in the home and you’re not able to negotiate that work being done before you buy the home in the sales contract, it’s important to know what any such work will cost. Spending some time on a budget now may save a lot of frustration and disappointment later when you come face to face with bills.
Don't make a "spur-of-the-moment" decision.
As with any major purchase, this tip is vital to consider. Your home is one of the biggest assets you own, and a considerable amount of your finances will be tied up in that home for many years to come. Don’t make the mistake of jumping off the deep end on an impulse without careful consideration of all the ramifications.
This danger is especially significant in markets where multiple offers and offers over the asking price are common. You may be tempted to jump in quickly with a bid, then later realize you didn’t give enough consideration to all that was involved. Move cautiously—even if it means someone else beats you to the homeplate.
Give plenty of thought to these tips as you make your home buying decision and you’ll be better positioned to make a good choice as you move ahead.