Make the Right Purchase
Purchasing a home is a big decision and you want to be as prepared as possible. Make sure you and your real estate agent are following these tips to get the most out of your purchase.
1. Research Schools
Even if you don’t have children, research schools in your potential neighborhood because it affects the value of your home. If you buy a house in a favorable school district, the value can be affected by as much as 20 percent.
2. Watch Your Money
Don’t make large purchases or move your money around three to six months before buying a new home. You don’t want to take any big chances with your credit profile.
3. Value Your Time
Your time is one of the most valuable assets you have. Ensure your agent personally visits prospective homes before bringing you along. They should be pre-screening these homes in-person, to ensure you are seeing only those that match your stated needs.
4. Pay it Off
Ask your mortgage broker about the benefits of making one extra mortgage payment a year. You can potentially reduce years off your payment terms with this simple step. Word to the wise – be sure you ask about pre-payment penalties as well.
5. Is it Up and Coming?
To assess whether a neighborhood is “up and coming” look at spill-over markets – which are communities just outside the hot markets. These neighborhoods often mirror most of the winning characteristics of the hot market, at lower price points.
6. Make an Informed Decision
Before buying a home in a planned community, read the CC&Rs cover to cover and the board meeting minutes for the past year. They outline important topics from what colors you can paint your exterior, to what issues the community has faced.
7. To Buy or Lease?
Ask your mortgage broker to run an analysis of the affordability of your dream home now and with a projected interest rate increase. While there are advantages to leasing, if you need to save toward a down payment and interest rates rise, you may be priced out of the range you originally considered. A good broker will run through all these options with you, so you can make an informed decision.
8. Dial in the Offer Packet
When buying a home in today’s hot market, it is vital that your offer packet be 100% complete and error free, with all associated documentation well organized and presented. Consider including a cover letter that outlines who you are and what you like about the property. Often you have only one chance to submit and you want to be sure your offer stands apart from the crowd.