So you want to buy your first house. Congratulations! That is a huge life step and accomplishment.
Buying a house is an enormous financial responsibility. It should come along only with serious thought and consideration.
There are plenty of homeowner horror stories out there. Don’t be the one who doesn’t learn from others’ mistakes!
Get it right the first time you buy a house: things you should know before taking the financial plunge. Keep reading to learn more.
1. Get Pre-Approved Before House Hunting
Many house hunters make the same mistake: they look at houses, whether online or in person, without being pre-approved first. You may think that you’re just curious so why not look? But what good is looking if you have absolutely no idea what you can afford?
A pre-approval from a lender tells you exactly what you can afford. Then you can set your price range. This gives you clarity as you look at houses.
You don’t want to make an offer on a home, then find out you can’t afford it! Meet with a lender beforehand to establish the dollar amount they’ll loan you. Then look for houses based on that number.
Having pre-approval also gives you validity to realtors and sellers. Without one, you’re just another random person wandering into their open house.
2. Don’t Settle When It Comes to Your Realtor
Another common mistake house hunters make is to use a realtor “friend.” Oftentimes, you do this to help that realtor friend out. That’s nice and all, but don’t sacrifice your home buying experience just to help a friend make a commission!
You want a realtor that’s experienced, knowledgeable, and fearless. You want one who can negotiate for you, who will advocate for you. You want one who is always available, who can act quickly, whose work you can trust completely.
Look for a realtor who understands zoning and housing laws, not just one who can count bathrooms. Look for one who will fight to get you the best deal possible, not just one who will fight for their own commission.
3. Know Every Expense
If you want to buy and keep your house, you need to know and understand every expense. It might sound pessimistic, but the best thing to do is to assume the worst with most things.
Assume that the roof will need replacing. Assume a main water line will break. Assume you won’t be able to find renters for the basement.
If all of that were to happen, could you still afford your monthly mortgage? If not, the house might be too expensive for you.
4. Make an Offer Based on Inspection
Sometimes a house looks fantastic. It’s just what you wanted! So you make an offer, no conditions attached.
That is an unfortunate, common home buyer mistake. You should always order an inspection. And you should always make your offer conditional upon the results of the inspection.
A professional inspection is detailed and thorough. They’ll tell you every little thing that’s wrong with the house.
What if the report comes back and says the foundation is crumbling and would cost $10,000 to replace? That’s something you might not have noticed yourself. And that would be terrible if you’d already made an offer without conditions.
The results of your inspection will vary widely based on the age and location of the house. If you’re in Louisiana, check out this complete overview of the real estate market.
Buying Your First House: Things You MUST Know!
The four tips we’ve gone over for buying your first house: things you must know are crucial to your home buying success. Don’t be the guy with yet another house horror story to tell.
This process can be long, expensive, and stressful. Don’t add any unnecessary time, expense, or stress—educate yourself beforehand!
Check out our other articles about home, lifestyle, and finances. Learn all you can and find some peace of mind.