Buying a home is an exciting time! You’re putting down roots, joining a community and planning your future. You’re also entering into a major commitment of time and money.
Here are five tips to help avoid homeownership mistakes:
Be level headed as you consider each home. Try not to compromise on things that are on your top priority list and make sure, above all, that you can afford the monthly payment. No matter what you think will happen with rates or home values, purchasing a home is a long-term investment decision.
You spent time searching for your home. Put the same amount of effort into shopping for your loan. After all, it could be around as long as your house. Beyond rates, ask about applicable closing costs, any fees associated with the loan and if you have to pay points. Also, be sure that you’re assessing the loan on the amount you want to borrow. Often rates, fees and costs are different depending on the loan balance.
Lastly, get pre-approved before you house hunt. You’ll know how much you can afford, which makes you a more competitive home buyer when negotiating and if the sale comes down to multiple bidders.
Buyers can get a great deal on homes that need a little TLC. However, home improvements can be very costly. Before you decide on that adorable fixer-upper, have a licensed general contractor quote the improvements, especially those that you need to make right away, like roofing, plumbing, electrical and foundation. You should reserve enough cash to make those improvements without borrowing.
Buying a home is fun and emotional. It can be a decision of the heart instead of the mind, which is why homeowners often find themselves overextended. It’s essential to have savings when you purchase – beyond your expected expenses. It is also important to maintain savings going forward so you can handle the cost of a roof repair, a fallen fence or a leaky window. Maintaining accessible cash on hand is an important part of homeownership.
Home improvements are never-ending, especially if you buy an older home. As you make improvements, be sure to keep detailed records, including photos, paperwork, costs and permits. Being able to show your improvements will be important for resale value, getting a good appraisal for financing or in the unfortunate event of an insurance claim down the road.
Homeownership is an incredibly rewarding prospect, filled with fun and commitment. Minimize the unexpected and enjoy the memories you’ll create over the years.
By Hemlata, AVP, Lending