Buying your first house is exciting and scary and wonderful, all at once. There are so many things to consider, review, and decide on. It can be overwhelming. It is, after all, one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make. You want to make sure you’ll make a good decision.
Your First-time Home Buying Process
You may already be ready for this process to be over with. You’ve likely already looked at some homes, or at least taken a look at some online listings. You were ready to find the perfect home, make an offer, and move in yesterday. Before you go any further, consider the following 7 home buying tips:
1) Get pre-approved before anything else.
A pre-approval letter shows sellers you’re ready to put in a serious offer. Many won’t want to move forward if you don’t already have one. Before even looking at houses, get a pre-approval. Ask for referrals and recommendations for reputable mortgage brokers and interview several. You want to work with one that doesn’t hesitate to give you transparent information about their fees and processes. You want to know they have your best interest at heart and will research terms and rates from several lenders.
2) Hire an agent with experience.
We live in the DIY era, but some things are still better with professional help. Experienced Houston area realtors bring a wealth of information and resources to the table. They have relationships you can leverage for your benefit. They will help you navigate through the confusion of buying a home and make it an easier, smoother process for you. They’ll help research other comparable listings, give you advice on making offers, and handle the negotiations for you.
3) Be prepared to negotiate.
While we’re on the topic, be ready for negotiations. Lean on your agent. He or she will know what kind of market you’re currently in and how best to handle the negotiations. Try not to look at other listings. Sellers can list a home at any price they want. It doesn’t really have any bearing on the final sale price. Instead, let your agent take a look at comparable sales and pending sales. They’ll look at homes in similar condition and location that have sold in the last 3 months. A good agent will manage your expectations and give you an idea of what to expect.
4) Hire an experienced home inspector.
There can be many issues hidden from the untrained eye even in the newest of houses. An experienced inspector will protect you from walking into something you’ll soon regret. He or she will bring to light problems that could cause you unnecessary stress and money later on. At worst, they’ll uncover reasons to pass on the house. At best, they’ll confirm your decision to buy. The inspection discoveries could also give you leverage in negotiating the best price.
5) Know when to hold and when to fold.
Some issues you may find in the house may not be bad enough to warrant backing out. Minor aesthetic problems, needed upgrades, and small renovations may still be worth buying the house. They may also give you leveraging power when negotiating with the seller. It’s also a good idea to talk through your hopeful price and the highest price you’re willing to pay.
6) Consider HOA contract, fees, and property taxes.
Request to see the HOA contract and make sure you’re comfortable with the deed restrictions and fees. You don’t want unexpected surprises once you’re all settled in. While you’re at it, research property taxes in the area. Again, you don’t want any surprises.
7) Research the neighborhood.
You’re not just buying a new house, but becoming part of a neighborhood. Try to talk to some of your would-be neighbors to get a feel for the culture and events. Make note of local grocery stores, restaurants, and other places you’ll visit frequently. Research utility companies, cable and internet providers, and local services you use. Try to envision day to day life in this neighborhood with these neighbors.
A Place to Call Home
Remember, you’re looking for the place you’ll likely call home for a long while. It’s important to take the time to ensure you’re making the absolute best decision. You don’t want to find out you actually regret your decision after it’s too late to change anything. Use this guide to the first-time home buying process to get started.
Contact Us for more information on buying a new home or for other Cypress and North Houston real estate resources.