Home shopping can be exciting. It can be a new adventure, the results of which will impact your life in important ways for many years to come.
But the stakes are also high when it comes to buying a new home, and you need to be careful and take steps to protect yourself along the way.
Steps to help make your home buying experience a success include: formulating a plan, enlisting the help of an experienced realtor, applying for a bank loan, and having a 4 point inspection done.
1. Formulating A Wise Home-shopping Plan
Anyone getting ready to start looking for a new home will find plenty of listed homes available. You can do a quick online search and find dozens of real estate sites at your fingertips.
It would be easy to just randomly look this up now and then follow a haphazard approach to searching in general, but that won’t maximize your chances of finding the ideal piece of available real estate.
The most effective way to search for a new home is to formulate a plan. Begin by thinking about what it is you are looking for. Get a piece of paper and jot down your “must-haves” and “should-haves” in regard to your future new home. Rank even your must-have features in descending order of importance, and use that as a guide to how you filter your online searches at home shopping websites.
Ultimately, you need to form a shortlist of “hot prospects.” If you are interested in more than one market, you should probably make a separate shortlist of 3 to 5 top contenders for each local area. The next step would be to visit each prospect, starting with the most likely one (at the top of the list) and working your way down from there.
2. Why Is It Key To Rely On A Local Realtor?
Although you can do a lot of your own research and planning when it comes to shopping for a new home, using a good, local realtor is still indispensable.
There are a number of reasons why an experienced, helpful realty agent is still the key to successful home shopping. Here are a few of the main benefits that relying on a realtor offer:
- Access to all the latest developments in terms of what is listed. There are even exclusive listings that only a realtor will even know about because it’s not even listed online.
- Detailed knowledge of the local real estate market, including what a good price point is for a particular type of house in a particular local neighborhood.
- Only a real estate agent has the right to open a lock box and let you tour a listed home, in most cases. Thus, in order to see a prospect up close and personal, you probably have no choice but to use the services of a local realtor.
- Realtors can give you a realistic view of how much you might be able to get a seller down by making an offer. They pretty much know what the odds are of your offer being accepted or not.
- Good realtors will be able to help you find homes with specific features like open floor plans, bedrooms with large closets and master baths, energy efficiency upgrades, the latest and greatest kitchen appliances, and more. Sometimes it’s hard to effectively search online for that kind of detail while still focusing on your most important “must-have” features.
3. Issues To Consider When Applying For The Loan
One of the first things to ask yourself before you start going out and looking at houses is “How much do I want to pay for this?” Or, you might put the question this way – “How much am I able to afford for a new home?”
Partly, it’s all about getting approved for the mortgage loan. You definitely need to get pre-approved for a home loan before you actually visit and tour homes you are interested in.
Most people have little problem getting approved, but it’s a matter of for how much. You need to know because this affects which homes you will focus on and also because you need to be poised to make an offer quickly if/when you finally find what you are looking for.
One last thought about finances – don’t risk getting in over your head. Generally speaking, your house payment shouldn’t be more than 25% to 30% of your monthly income.
4. Get At Least A 4 Point Inspection Done – Here’s Why!
One step you should not fail to take when getting ready to buy a new home is to have a professional 4 point home inspection done on the premises. Some people try to talk themselves out of doing this, thinking they will save money, but in reality, home inspections don’t cost that much, to begin with.
And it doesn’t take much time or effort to order a home inspection either. You can schedule them pretty close to the date you want them done, usually, and the inspection is typically a one-day affair from start to finish.
But why is it important to have a home inspector look over the property? Here are 5 good reasons why you should include a home inspection in your overarching home-buying plan:
- Your mortgage lender and your homeowner’s insurance company will normally require you have at least a 4 point inspection done. A 4 point inspection focuses on the building’s four major systems: HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and roofing.
- If major problems are discovered with the property, the inspection report can give you the legal right to walk away from the deal even if you have already signed a buying contract.
- If despite certain issues coming to light, you still want the property, the home inspection gives you some “negotiating leverage” with the seller. Significant issues can be resolved by getting a lower price or by getting the seller to agree to fix the problems before the sale is finalized.
- You may want to go beyond a 4 point inspection. A wind mitigation inspection, for example, can earn you “points” that can lower your home insurance premiums – aside from ensuring your home is able to stand up against strong winds. WDO (wood-destroying organism) inspections are another example of a specialized inspection that may benefit you.
- A 4 point inspection will help you get approved for homeowner’s insurance and may (as mentioned above) even get you a discount on your premiums. And, if we were to add a fifth step to this list of 4 key steps – it would be to never neglect protecting your new home with homeowner’s insurance!
To learn more about how to formulate an optimal home shopping and buying plan, or to order a 4 point inspection for a home you are interested in (or on the one you currently live in), contact Super Inspection Pros in Central Florida today!