Your Question: What Do I Need to Do When I'm Ready to Start House Hunting?
Professor Tate lists 8 things every new buyer should know:
1.) Hire a real estate agent in the area you wish to buy. The first thing you’ll need to do when buying a home is to hire a real estate agent in the area. He or she will be very familiar with the market you’re interested in.
2.) Know what you want. There are so many options out there, so it’s important that you narrow down your search. Make a list of all the things you are looking for in a home, noting which things are must-haves and which things you’d be willing to compromise on.
3.) Count the cost. Home ownership involves more than a monthly mortgage payment. It also involves homeowners insurances, property taxes, utilities, and in some circumstances, Home Owner’s Association fees. Don’t forget that homeownership also means that repairs and maintenance fall on you, meaning extra cost.
4.) Consider the property’s location. A home is only worth as much as its neighborhood. Make sure you know what kind of neighborhood you’d like to live in, its proximity to schools, shopping, work, etc. Make sure you choose to purchase a home in an area that you’d like to live in.
5.) Understand your financing options. Shop around to find a loan that works for you. Make sure you know the fine print. What are the requirements and penalties? What’s the interest rate? How much of a down payment will be required of you?
6.) Obtain full home disclosures & an inspection. Home sellers are required by law to disclose any problems with the property that they are aware of. However, there may be problems with the home that they don’t know of. This is why it’s best to also hire a home inspector to inspect the property you’re interested in. This is an important step, because you do not want to purchase a home that could potentially cost you thousands of dollars in unseen repairs.
7.) Get everything in writing. It’s important that you collect each piece of information throughout the buying process in writing so as to protect yourself in case something goes wrong.
8.) Make sure of things before closing. Before you close on the home, make sure you’re able to purchase home insurance. This actually may be something your lending institution requires of you prior to close anyway. Also be sure that the property is in the same condition as it was when you agreed to buy it.
Owning your own home is a big accomplishment! We wish you the best of luck in your search!
You asked, now you know!
-Professor Reel S. Tate