Now, how do you go about buying the rest of the house? Purchasing a home is definitely different than several years ago, with today’s mortgage rates remaining relatively low and seemingly fewer homes to choose from. When you find the perfect home you might have to compete with other buyers for the keys to the kingdom, so it’s important to be fully prepared to be the buyer of choice.
Before you start your search, go ahead and have your home loan pre-approved and the funds for your down payment ready to go. This means that roughly four months before you start hunting, you’ll check your credit report and work with your creditors to fix any mistakes you find. You’ll also want to hold off on any big purchases (translation: don’t take on any large debt like a vehicle) until after you purchase your home.
Know how much you can afford and stick to the plan. If your pre-approval letter (a beautiful thing to have in hand when you make an offer, by the way) says you qualify for a $200K home, don’t waste your time looking at homes for $250K, because today’s market most likely won’t give you much room for negotiating a price down.
Arm yourself with information. Don’t skip the home inspection in an effort to appease the seller, as the results of the inspection not only give you negotiating power (in a nice and genteel manner, of course) but also prevent big surprises down the road for expensive items like plumbing, foundation and roofing. The other method for gathering information is to walk a bit around the neighborhood, looking at the upkeep of nearby homes (which can affect your home’s value, up or down). A chat in the driveway of a potential future could be priceless too.
Have you recently bought a home, or are you in the process of buying? Tell us your experience. Share your advice!