Five Helpful Hints for New Home Buyers
For first-timers, the process of buying a new house or condo can be intimidating. But it’s an exciting venture and one you should enjoy (and eventually celebrate) as long as you keep in mind a few best practices that can help you make a good investment.
1. Know your budget
Although you may know how much you can afford to devote to a down payment, don’t forget about other expenses. Tennessee has a low cost of living compared to other states, helped by low property taxes. But some towns are more expensive to live in than others, which is reflected not only in home prices but in everything from gym memberships and restaurants to childcare and insurance costs. When considering making an offer on a home, research the local cost of living so you aren’t caught by surprise.
2. Get preapproved for a mortgage
Selecting a mortgage lender and securing a credit line will not only save you last-minute stress when you find the home you want but also foster the sellers’ confidence that you are a buyer who can actually produce the funds required. When sellers are considering multiple offers on their home, the easiest buyers to eliminate are those who aren’t preapproved.
3. Research lifestyle factors
Consider your current activities and lifestyle and whether your new neighborhood can accommodate them comfortably. If you want to be able to walk to shops and restaurants or it’s important to you to live near a hiking trail or bike path, find out if those amenities will be available. If you have children, or you plan to start a family in the next five years or so, research schools in your target areas.
4. Set well-grounded expectations
Create a checklist for your ideal choice of home. How many bedrooms make sense for your current and future family? Do you need an office or guestroom? Is a basement or rec room area important to you? How much storage do you need? After making your list, order it by priority. That way, if you see a house in the perfect neighborhood that lacks a low-level feature on your list, you won’t eliminate it outright, and you’ll be able to rule out homes that lack your top-of-the-list must-haves.
5. Let professionals guide you
A local real estate agent has the best insight into current market conditions and understands price structures and bidding opportunities. A qualified home inspector can uncover problems that may affect price negotiations or save you the heartache of structural or other costly problems. An experienced real estate attorney can guide you from contract to closing, reviewing the title and serving as your advocate throughout negotiations.