The process to buy a home can be anything but short and sweet. It seems like there is an opportunity at every turn for something to go wrong with the volumes of paperwork to sign and documentation to review. When you get worn down, it can get confusing to figure out which steps are necessary to take and which ones can be avoided. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind that you’ll be thankful you made time for.
Choose your real estate agent wisely
Just because a friend of a friend recommended someone to be your agent doesn’t mean they will be a good fit personally or professionally. You should work with a real estate agent who is also a REALTOR, which is someone who has additional training and adheres to a national code of ethics. Your ideal agent should also have a proven track record of excellent service when working with both buyers and sellers; it’s essential to have an agent who is familiar with the lay of the land in order to help you assess fair market value of potential homes properly. In today’s environment it’s critical that you have an agent who is up to date with the latest technology, otherwise they could be missing out on finding you the home of your dreams.
The mortgage from heaven
A great mortgage is one that you can safely afford and is also the most economical overall. So how do you get one? You have to research and interview lenders and be specific about certain terms that you want in your loan. A 15 year fixed-rate mortgage is an ideal loan because you lock in your interest rate and save thousand of dollars in interest by paying it off in 15 years versus the traditional 30 years many opt to take. You can also lower your interest rate and save on private mortgage insurance by making a down payment of at least 20% of the purchase price. Lastly, you can pay upfront fees known as points (equal to 1% of the loan amount) which can further lower your interest rate. If you have the extra capital and are able to pay points, they can save you in the long run.
Don’t skimp on the inspection
Determining whether or not your dream home has defects is absolutely vital. That being said, you need a quality professional to take a detailed look at your home so you don’t foot the bill for something the seller “forgot” to mention. It can be difficult to land a good inspector; a wise place to start would be with friends or family members that have prior experience with someone. If you don’t have any referrals you can try the internet or phone book and call to inquire about the level of experience. You want someone who is familiar with the type of home you’re buying, and ideally someone who does it full time. Also be careful of bringing in a contractor who offers to fix the defects they point out; they’re could be trying to drum up some extra business for themselves.
Remember that throughout the home buying process, you are in control. You are about to spend a lot of money, so put it where your mouth is when there is a problem or disagreement. It always pays to maintain professionalism, but don’t be shy about letting your opinion be known. To land your dream home you need good people and you need to do your due diligence in finding them. Following these quick tips may not get you into your home faster, but once you do get there, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable knowing you took time to do things right.