Buying a new home can be exciting, stressful and full of surprises. Here are some tips to help with the home buying experience:
- The most important of all: Get it in writing. From finishes to color to types, etc. Whatever you are promised in the beginning, make sure it makes its way in the agreement. Yes, every detail.
- Shop around for lenders. You have options and don’t forget that. To make sure you are getting the best deal, make it as competitive as possible.
- Consider costs such as escrow fees, taxes and insurance not just closing costs. Something I learned from my first house.
- Get a buyer’s agent. The seller's agent tries to keep the business so they can keep the full amount of fees paid by the seller. Having a buyer’s agent ensures that you have someone working for you even if they have to split the fees with the seller’s agent.
- Get a home inspection. It’s a few hundred bucks, but worth the cost to have the peace of mind.
- Know the zoning of the area around you. If you buy a home and across the street it’s empty, ask about the zoning. If it’s industrial, a junk yard could pop up across the street. Something again, I learned from my first house, but was fortunate to sell it in time.
- If you can, put as much down as possible. This is important for new homes because there is a fee called Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for those who put less than 20% down on a home. This can be several hundred dollars on top of your monthly mortgage payment. One way to do this is to have two home loans; one for 75% and the other for 25%.
- If you are buying a home that is 10 years +, consider having a home warranty as part of the deal. If a hot water heater goes out, it will be replaced for cents on the dollar for the cost of the home warranty.