Once you start looking for a new home, suddenly everyone you know becomes an expert with advice to share. Sometimes all this guidance can be a bit overwhelming and even distracting. To help you focus on what’s most important, we’ve put together a list of our top home buying tips.
Know the Neighborhood
Many home buyers invest all their time and energy on finding the right house. The reality is you are also purchasing property in an area. While everyone knows the familiar marital phrase “you marry the family,” it’s easy to forget the same applies to purchasing a home. You marry the neighborhood. That’s why it’s crucial to do your research and make sure the neighborhood fits your needs and lifestyle.
Start by identifying a list of criteria of what is most important to you. This may include good local schools, access to parks, being close to town, a convenient commute, or a quiet community. Then make a list of things you want to avoid such as busy streets, constant construction in a developing area, or being too far from certain amenities. Vet the neighborhood by visiting the area at different times of day to gauge various activities and noise levels. Introduce yourself to the neighbors and ask them what they like about living there – it’s a great way to meet people too! Of course, we think Kitsap County is superb with top-notch schools, excellent playgrounds, awesome on-the-water activities, and fun volunteer opportunities. However, it’s all about finding the best community and neighborhood for you.
Understand All Costs and Fees
There are a lot of costs and fees associated with buying a home. Even if you’ve purchased a home before, it’s easy to forget how quickly these additional costs add up. This includes everything from estimating your monthly mortgage payment to paying property taxes. As you’re budgeting and planning, use this handy cheat sheet to make sure you include all financial obligations. The last thing you want is to be caught off guard by unexpected expenses.
Get a Home Inspection
A home inspection is key to understanding what you’re buying and also informs your budget if there are necessary repairs. Usually, a seller does a pre-listing inspection for prospective buyers to review. If for some reason this isn’t the case with a home you are interested in buying, it’s essential to have a professional home inspection done. An expert will identify potential costly repairs that are easy to miss from a walk-through such as foundation issues or roof leaks. Buying a home is a major investment, the more you know the better!
Get Pre-approved for a Loan
If you are serious about buying and want the best chance of purchasing your dream home, getting pre-approved is a must. The pre-approval process determines what size loan you qualify for. This piece of information is essential for helping you figure out what you can afford and your estimated monthly mortgage payment. Additionally, having pre-approval paperwork shows sellers your offer is financially secure and closing will be quick. It’s truly a win-win for sellers and buyers. Also, before getting pre-approved, take time to do some research and see if you qualify for any government loans. This knowledge informs the pre-approval process and ensures you receive the best loan rate available.
Work with a Local Lender
There are a variety of options available for securing a home loan, but using a local lender has important benefits. Generally, sellers and real estate agents prefer working with local lenders. Compared to online lenders and national banks, local lenders have a reputation for closing faster and on time. In addition, local lenders often have relationships within the community and possibly know your real estate agent or even the seller’s agent. All of these factors add up to a powerful combination that can work in your favor, especially if a seller receives multiple offers. If a seller is contemplating several offers, but your offer is the only one attached to a local lender, then your offer could be the one that stands out the most.
Work with a Great Buyer’s Agent
Purchasing a home is a complex transaction and something you don’t want to navigate alone. Make your life easier by working with a knowledgeable, local buyer’s agent. This expert helps find the best home to meet your needs, works with you to develop a competitive offer, prepares for negotiations, and handles all the paperwork to close the deal. Having a great buyer’s agent at your side will reduce your stress significantly. Lastly, a local buyer’s agent who really knows the area well is a great resource for you! As active community members who know the real estate market and local service providers, a local agent can connect you with other experts you’ll need such as inspectors and repair workers.
Questions? Contact one of our excellent local Windermere real estate agents.