Buying a home can be an exciting time and there is no better time to buy and take advantage of low mortgage rates and prices. Buyer beware, just because it is a good deal you still need to do your due diligence before signing on the dotted line. Here are some potential purchase pitfalls to look for: Do-it-yourself anything Does the home you are purchasing have a great finished basement, new deck or three season addition? Check with city or town hall to make sure the work was done to code and the proper permits were pulled. Things not done to code can be expensive to fix and can ultimately lower the home's value. Structural problems Structural problems are a big red flag. Have a professional home inspection and if need be have a structural inspection on the home. Things to look for include doors and windows that don’t open and close properly and cracks along the foundation. Some cracks may be harmless and normal settling but typically the bigger the crack, the bigger the problem. Structural problems are usually a deal killer as they can be very costly to fix. Insect damage can be part of a much bigger problem. Signs of excessive termite or pest damage does not tell the whole story and often there is unseen damage inside the walls. This may require a special pest inspection to determine if the home's studs have been compromised thus affecting the home's structure. Water damage Another potential problem is water damage. Water damage can cause the failure of the foundation. Water needs to be always draining away from the house. Look for moisture or water stains in the basement. This may indicate a drainage issue. Also be sure to check if the home is in a flood zone. Water in the home can also cause mold. Mold can lead to many serious health issues and is expensive and time consuming to remove. Mold should always be removed by a professional specializing in mold mitigation. Electrical work Do-it-yourself electrical work or antiquated electrical can be a recipe for disaster. When looking at homes be wary of electrical work that has been added on over the years. If the home has an addition make sure to ask if the current electrical system is enough to handle the additional square footage. Be wary of older knob and tube wiring or aluminum wiring this can be very expensive to replace. A professional home inspector should always be able to help point out potential pitfalls in a home before you purchase it. Never skimp on peace of mind. To find a qualified home inspector you can check with the National Association of Home Inspectors.
When buying a home the last thing you do before you sign on the dotted line is go to the house and do a final walkthrough. This is different than the home inspection and done just prior to the final closing of the sale. The purpose of this walkthrough is to make sure the house will be delivered as agreed in your contract. You want to make sure the seller is leaving the house in working order and no problems with the house have occurred since the last time you where there. Here’s a quick checklist that will help you make the most of your final walkthrough: -Bring your purchase contract with you and verify that all items agreed to in the contract have been taken care of -Make sure the home and the exterior are free of personal belongings -The home and exterior should also be free of trash -Test all the appliances - Confirm all the light fixtures are working - Turn on ceiling fans as well as exhaust fans in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry area. -Check to make sure that the garage door remotes are in working order - Go through the house and turn on every faucet and flush all the toilets - Run the garbage disposal and trash compactor - Open and close all the windows and doors to make sure they are opening and latching properly - Look for any damage on the ceilings, floors, and walls such as new scratches, cracks, or other issues - Finally, account for all keys to the property This is an important step to take and could save you lot of headaches. This allows you to be able to resolve any problems before you close on the house.
Buying a home is a big decision and it will most likely become one of your greatest investments. In order to help navigate through the process you will want to assemble the right team. Think of a group of experienced professionals as your real estate buying team. Here is a list of some of the professionals that you might want to add to your team: Real Estate Agent The real estate agent will represent you and your interests. Always make sure to discuss your agency relationship with your agent so you fully understand the relationship. An experienced agent can help guide you through the process to a successful closing. Mortgage Advisor Unless you are paying cash you will need a loan to buy your home. Your mortgage broker or loan agent who will arrange financing. Your mortgage advisor will search for different loans that match your financial situation. Real Estate Attorney This is the only member of your buying team who can give you legal advice. You should hire an attorney that specializes in real estate to review any contracts. An attorney can usually solve any surprise legal problems before the closing. Home Inspector A home inspector's job is to go through your prospective home a complete physical. A home inspector is an objective third party who will produce a report detailing the condition of the structure and systems of the house. Putting the right team together is critical. If you need help assembling a team your real estate agent can provide you with a list of names or ask your friends and family for referrals.
Buying your first home can be confusing. Securing a mortgage is one of the most important parts of the home buying process. Making sure that you have the right loan and have chosen the right loan officer are among the things a first time buyer has to do to start the process. Here are some more tips on how to ensure a successful purchase: 1. Make sure your deposit is in order. Talk to your loan officer about what amount of a deposit is required for the purchase and type of loan. You will also want to make sure the funds are accounted for and readily available. You can expect deposits to run anywhere between 3 and 20 percent of the purchase price. 2. Plan to have a cash reserve in addition to your deposit. You may want to have a reserve of at least two months mortgage payments. 3. Ask your lender to go over all the fees that apply to the purchase. It is better to be prepared and know how much the actual purchase will cost. These costs are typically added into your loan but there may be some out of pocket expenses too. 4. Consider how much you can comfortably afford not how much you have been approved for. These numbers may vary considerably. Your mortgage costs should not be more than 30% of your household income. 5. The lowest rate is not always the best deal. You will want to look at not only the rate but also the terms and fees associated with the loan.
Year after year, study after study, good market, down market the story is always the same...owning a home is a good investment. Not only does it build wealth but it also provides many psychological benefits too. A survey released earlier this year by the magazine Better Homes and Gardens found that eight in 10 respondents said homeownership is still a good investment and believe owning a home is a smart financial move and a source of pride. Here are some results of the 2,500 people surveyed online:
- 86% of home owners still feel owning a home is a good investment.
- 85% feel “owning a home is one of their proudest accomplishments.”
- 69% of Americans who don’t currently own a home agree with the statement, “No matter what happens in the U.S. housing market, owning a home is still an important goal in my life.”
- 68% of Americans plan to spend money on their homes in the next six months, with roughly half (49%) expecting to pay up to $1,000.