Sunday, November 22, 2009

Surviving the Home Buying Experience

Buying a new home can be exciting, stressful and full of surprises. Here are some tips to help with the home buying experience:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Consider costs such as escrow fees, taxes and insurance not just closing costs. Something I learned from my first house.
  4. 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.
  5. Get a home inspection. It’s a few hundred bucks, but worth the cost to have the peace of mind.
  6. 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.
  7. 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%.
  8. 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.

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