1. Find someone that is knowledgeable and reputable to represent you. Not only will you be working with person frequently but you are going to need to have a good relationship with your broker and agent.
2. Before ever placing an offer on a property you obviously want to do your due diligence. This not only includes visiting the property, but a number of other things. You definitely want to get a copy of the plat for the property and walk the boundaries of the property. While walking the boundaries of the property you should be on the lookout for any types of encroachments. If the boundaries of the land are unclear, you may need to pay for a survey before placing an offer.
3. It is always advisable to read all of the fine print, but more specifically, you should pay particular attention to the Seller’s Disclosure. Typically you receive this within five days of mutual acceptance of the Purchase and Sale Agreement. It is important to read this thoroughly as it is the case that you get your deposit back within three days if you read something that is not agreeable to you.
4. The best investment you can make before closing on a home is the building inspection. You do not want to skimp on the quality of the inspector and make sure that they come with good references and qualifications. There is an extent to which the building inspector can examine the home so just because the house gets a clean bill of health that does not mean that there are no problems. It will however bring to the surface any issues that may not be evident to the naked eye. If this is the case, you will want to determine how much damage is done by an individual specialist so that there are no surprises later on.
5. You need to make sure that the building is up to code and that all proper permits have been obtained for any improvements that may have been made on the structure. If proper permits were not acquired, you are liable for any fines or other repercussions that may come from not having one after you own the home.
6. Another important document that you should read diligently is the Preliminary Title Commitment. You usually receive a copy of this no more than ten days after the creation of the Purchase and Sale Agreement. If not, you will need to request this documentation. There should be separate documentation for easements, covenants, as well as any other agreements associated with the property. Important things to look out for are exclusions, as they are items that are not covered by the policy. In these instances, you can acquire additional coverage. If this is the case you will need to have a survey as well.
7. The terms of your financing are of particular importance. Even before you arrive at your closing, you should have reviewed all of your documents to ensure that everything is in order for the big day. You should never rely on the word of somebody. Make sure that everything is in written form and do not hesitate to seek advice from professionals, even if it comes at an expense. Performing the necessary actions before you buy will ensure that you are not met with any surprises down the road. Not to mention, you have a lot of leverage at the point in the game whereas after you own the house there is probably no going back.
Although buying a home can be a stressful and trying time, it is an event that is also extremely exciting. Regardless of how little experience you have in buying homes, it is a process that can be quickly learned if you are diligent in finding a good home for yourself.
With that being said, take it to be a learning experience and seek out knowledge whenever possible. It may seem troublesome in the short term but in the long term it will pay off with a house that you can truly enjoy.
18 thoughts on “Buying Your First Home”
I agree all your points, especially the number two. I had an experience, I found out on early of 2011 when I am planning to extend our house, our neighbor concrete fence was already built inside our property. Until now our neighbor did not yet removed their fence but he promised within this year he will demolished.
There is a lot of pressure and efforts when your neighbor encroached to your property. Our developer brought the third party surveyor to verify both our property line. And it is clear that our neighbor built their fence inside our property.
All great tips, especially 4 and 5. There seem to be quite a few properties for sale in my area that have notes about additions, like garage conversions or guest houses, that aren’t permitted. That can be a snafu when trying to secure financing.
Great tips!!! We’re currently house hunting and haven’t found anything yet. This is not a bad thing, because the more and more we search, the more and more we figure out what we really want. And what we want to pay for.
Understanding all of your costs is key, as well. For example if you move into a condo then you have to know the homeowners association fees and add those to your budget. No matter where you go, you have to factor in insurance. Look at what you think utilities might cost. If your desired place is old, make sure you budget for upkeep. The price of the house is not just what you pay at closing, there are many more variables at play that you need to be aware of.
Great tips. From my experience, getting a good home inspector really made a big difference – but do still be financially prepared for nasty surprises. Even great home inspectors can miss a thing or two, and like you said there are limits to how much a home inspector can examine a particular home. Having a little fund set aside for your first year in a home (through all 4 seasons) is a great idea in case something pops up and must be repaired or replaced.
Also, I’d recommend not being too hung up on price. Set a budget, but don’t miss out on a great place because it’s slightly more expensive. If it’s truly a solid house, that money will come back to you on the back-end.
I never understood why someone would want to skimp on the price of the home inspection. Yes, the initial costs of buying a house can really add up. However, the home inspector can bring to light issues that may keep you from making a bad purchase. Most homes are going to run 150k+ so it would be a very good idea to make sure everything is in working order. It is no different then checking under the hood for a car.
What’s important in a booming housing market is to get prequalified for a loan. That letter should be included in all of your offers to even be considered.
The first statement you made is incredible true! You must have someone knowledgeable to help you in your search for the perfect home. To me, research should be done to figure out which Realtor fits you and your needs. This can help save you money, time, and stress later on when purchasing. Thanks for sharing your tips!