Sandy Lucchesi's Blog
Buying a home is an extensive process that comes with a bit of a learning curve. For first time buyers, this process involves making mistakes and learning from them.
While we can never be 100% sure of our home buying decisions, there is a way to increase your chances of making the best choices when it comes to buying and maintaining your first home.
In today’s post, we’re going to do just that. We’ll take a look at some of the biggest things that homeowners wish they knew before buying their first house.
1. Forgetting to research the neighborhood
It’s easy to become so enamored with your dream home that you barely look beyond its fence. However, the neighborhood your home is in can have a huge effect on your daily life. Having local parks, safe sidewalks to walk on, and road infrastructure that doesn’t drive you crazy on your daily commute are all important aspects of choosing the right home.
2. Getting pressured into making a decision
Many times, a seller will want to portray their home as being highly sought after to encourage higher and more frequent offers. Similarly, you may find that your own family has time constraints and want to make a quick decision to buy a home.
It’s when we’re under pressure that we can make choices that we aren’t happy with in the long run. So, in these situations, make sure you don’t make any snap judgments on a home. If it seems like you’re being pressured into making a decision without enough time to consider all of the possibilities, there’s a good chance you should pass on this opportunity.
3. Forgetting that you might someday have to sell this home
Sometimes homes can be difficult to sell due to things like their location and surroundings. For instance, a home that is remote or one that is located in low-scoring school districts may not matter to you if you don’t plan on having children. But, they likely will be important to a lot of your potential buyers when it comes time to sell the home.
This lesson also holds true for what you do with your home once you buy it. Making renovations or design choices that won’t appeal to the average buyer can make your home more difficult to sell and harder to get top dollar for.
4. Didn’t consider all financing options
There are several steps and several options when it comes to financing a home. Not only are the several mortgage lenders to choose from, but there are also many different types of loans available.
While there may not be one “right” decision when it comes to financing your home, it’s a good idea to do your homework and browse carefully all of the lenders and mortgage types.
Consider ways to increase your credit score or save for a higher down payment before buying if possible, so that you can secure the lowest interest rate possible.
The rent vs buy dilemma is something that Americans have been facing for decades. Both options have their benefits, and it’s really a matter of timing and preferences when it comes to choosing which is best for you.
However, there are a lot of things to consider before making this decision. So, in today’s post we’re going to break down some of the benefits of renting an apartment and of buying a home. That way you can make your decision with a clearer picture of what each situation looks like.
One thing to note first, however, is that it isn’t always as simple as buy vs rent. Some living situations draw on the pros of each type of living. For example, living in a condo might be a good option for people who want the privacy and independence of owning their own home, but who also don’t have the time or desire to keep up with maintenance.
So, as we compare buying and renting, keep in mind that the features of each are not mutually exclusive.
Renting an apartment
Most people who are living on their own for the first time start off renting. For younger people just out of school, renting offers the first taste of independence without the prerequisites of homeownership.
When you rent your first apartment, you’ll learn the skills associated with budgeting for your monthly expenses, making your rent payments on time, and will start learning some of the skills that it takes to run a household.
In terms of monthly costs, apartments can vary greatly. Depending on where you live (and how luxurious the apartment is) you could end up having rent and utility payments that are much lower or much higher than mortgage payments for a house.
However, apartment leases often come with the benefit of utilities, trash removal, and other expenses built in. They also typically require the landlord to maintain the apartment and the land it sits on.
Live in the northern part of the country and hate shoveling snow? Make sure your lease specifies that your landlord will provide snow removal.
One technique that many renters take is to find an apartment that is small and affordable while they save up for a home. In this case, it’s worth living with fewer amenities if your end goal is saving for a down payment.
But, what if you want to own a home someday but haven’t quite decided where you want to settle down? Maybe your work keeps you moving from place to place or you’ve always wanted to move away to somewhere new.
Renting is typically a better option for those who aren’t quite sure what their plans are for the next coming years. They can have a stable place to live while they figure things out and plan their next move.
Buying a home
Once you’ve rented a home for a while, you might become increasingly aware that you want more space and more control over your home.
You’re also likely noticing how much money you spend on rent each month that is essentially a net loss.
When you buy a home, your mortgage payments might be going to the bank, but someday the money you’ve paid toward that home will be yours in the form of equity. You can then use this as a down payment for another home.
This financial benefit cannot be understated. Since house values dependably increase over time, owning a home is a great investment toward your future.
So, those are the main pros and cons of renting vs buying a home. Think about your circumstances and determine which one makes the most sense for you right now. Then, start planning for the future.
In real estate, cash is power. It’s not exactly the amount of money that you have been approved for by a lender. This type of “cash” is what you can pull directly from your account to buy a property on demand. It can be difficult to compete with cash buyers especially in tight real estate markets. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you match up against any cash offers that you may be competing with when you buy a home.
Make Your Offer Look Attractive As Possible
First, you should always have a pre-approval letter from your lender. This lets sellers know that you’re a qualified buyer. You should also get your lender or realtor (or both) to provide some financial information about you along with your offer. This helps to add to the case that you’re a dependable buyer.
Let Things Move Quickly
If you allow your lender to send an appraiser to the property as quickly as possible, this will give you an advantage in the home buying process. You want to reduce the amount of time that it will take to close on the house. That means you should consider cutting down on both the appraisal and contingency time. You could even consider waiving any contingencies if you feel comfortable.
To speed up the process, even more, you should pre-order an appraisal in advance. You can do this before your offer has even been written. It can be difficult to arrange this, especially with larger scale lenders, but it’s always worth a try. Once the offer is written, the lender can relay to the seller that an appraisal has already been scheduled.
You’ll also want to get the inspection done fairly quickly. You only have a short window of time to get the inspection done. The quicker you get this done, the more serious of a buyer you appear to be. You should have the inspector who you’ll use ready before you even put an offer in on a home in order to expedite this part of the process. Usually, inspectors don’t take terribly long to schedule appointments knowing that their clients have short windows to get inspections done.
Make A Strong Offer
Making a good offer could mean paying extra for a home you love in order to compete with cash offers. Spending more money helps to win. Here’s why: Sellers almost always will give a cash buyer a bit more of a discount since they’ll be getting all of the funds up front. If you love the house and plan to live in it for years to come, the extra money you spend will be well worth it.
Write An Offer Letter
An offer letter adds a bit of a personal touch to the number you put down as a buyer. Here, you can tell the seller who you are and why you love the home. It can be emotional to sell a property, but a seller will feel more comfortable knowing that the home is going to someone who will appreciate it.
A home inspection can make or break a property sale. If all goes well during a home inspection, a buyer and seller can proceed with a transaction. Conversely, if a home inspector discovers major problems with a house, a property sale may be in jeopardy.
As a homebuyer, you'll want to do everything possible to ensure a home inspection delivers valuable insights. With in-depth home insights at your disposal, you can determine whether to continue with a home purchase or reenter the housing market.
To ensure a successful home inspection, let's take a look at three common home inspection mistakes, and how a homebuyer can avoid these problems.
1. A homebuyer hires an inexperienced home inspector.
When it comes to hiring a home inspector, it is always better to err on the side of caution. With an experienced home inspector at your side, you can boost the likelihood of a successful home inspection.
Evaluate a variety of local home inspectors. Then, take a look at each home inspector's background and expertise to narrow your search.
In addition, if you feel comfortable with a home inspector, reach out to this professional directly before you make your final hiring decision. That way, you can request client referrals and gain additional insights to help you make an informed selection.
2. A homebuyer does not attend a home inspection.
A homebuyer is not required to attend a home inspection. However, attendance usually is a good idea, regardless of your homebuying expertise.
Remember, a home purchase is one of the biggest transactions that you likely will complete in your lifetime. If you want to ensure a home is a viable long-term investment, it certainly pays to walk around a property with a home inspector and conduct an in-depth evaluation.
In many instances, attending a home inspection may enable a homebuyer to gain home insights that might not be included in a home inspection report as well.
For example, a home inspector who identifies issues with a property may be able to give a homebuyer an estimate about how much it will cost to complete myriad property repairs. These insights are exceedingly valuable and can help a homebuyer determine whether a house is a worthwhile purchase.
3. A homebuyer ignores a home inspection report.
After a home inspector completes a property evaluation, this professional will provide the homebuyer with a home inspection report. Then, a homebuyer will have a set amount of time to review the report to determine whether to proceed with a home purchase.
A home inspection report contains plenty of valuable insights, and as such, should not be ignored. Instead, a homebuyer should spend time evaluating the report and learning from it. And if a homebuyer has any questions, he or she can reach out to the home inspector who provided the report for answers.
Lastly, if you need help planning a home inspection, you should employ a real estate agent. By hiring a real estate agent, you'll have no trouble getting in touch with the best home inspectors in your area.
If you intend to purchase a house soon, it helps to prepare for the home buying journey. In fact, if you identify potential issues before you start your quest to find your dream home, you could avoid them during your property search.
Now, let's take a look at three common issues that plague homebuyers, along with tips to address these problems.
1. Lack of Home Financing
In some instances, a homebuyer will check out residences and find one that matches their expectations. Next, this buyer will submit an offer to purchase a home that ultimately gets accepted. At this point, however, the buyer may discover that they lack the necessary financing to acquire this home.
Entering the housing market with financing in hand is ideal. If a buyer gets pre-approved for a mortgage, they will know precisely how much money is available for a home purchase. As a result, this buyer can map out their home search accordingly.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, it helps to meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach a homebuyer about his or her mortgage options. Plus, they can help you make an informed mortgage selection.
2. Tight Home-buying Timeline
If you have only a limited amount of time to move from your current address, you may rush to purchase a house. In this scenario, you risk making a rash home purchase – something that may prove to be problematic both now and in the future.
For buyers who face a tight home-buying timeline, there is no need to stress. If you make a list of home-buying tasks you need to accomplish, you can take a step-by-step approach to the property buying journey.
3. Unrealistic Home-buying Expectations
You may expect to buy your dream residence without delay. Yet the real estate market offers no guarantees. And in certain instances, it may take many weeks or months before a buyer finds a house that they want to purchase.
To establish realistic home-buying expectations, it usually is a good idea to work with a property buying expert. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and they can provide home-buying insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.
A real estate agent is committed to a homebuyer's success. As such, he or she will work with a homebuyer and help them prepare for the housing market. A real estate agent will also set up home showings and provide feedback about available residences in a buyer's preferred cities and towns. And if a buyer finds a house that they want to purchase, a real estate agent will help this individual put together a competitive home-buying proposal, too.
When it comes to purchasing a home, you should plan for the best - and worst-case scenarios. If you consider the aforementioned home-buying issues before you begin your house search, you can boost the likelihood of enjoying a successful property buying experience.