Buying a new home can be an arduous process, but there are a number of things home buyers can do to simplify the experience and avoid possible headaches down the road. From getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan to asking for a “punch list” before closing the deal, here are four things that every home buyer should do to make buying their new home a breeze.
#1: Get Pre-Approved For a Loan BEFORE Beginning Your Search
It stands to reason: before you begin looking for homes in your price range, you must first establish your price range! Too often, I’ve seen home buyers’ hearts broken after they learn that the mortgage loan they are entitled to isn’t enough to cover their “dream home,” or worse, they let their emotions cloud their judgement and convince themselves that they can somehow “make it work” with a house that is out of their price range. Don’t torture yourself by looking at homes that might be impractical or financially unfeasible; get pre-approved for a loan FIRST!
#2: Get Good Faith Estimates Before Taking Out a Loan
To make sure you are getting the best possible deal on your home mortgage loan, it’s best to speak with no less than three mortgage lenders, and get a “good faith estimate” from each. Federally mandated by the Truth in Lending Act, good faith estimates are legal statutes which says mortgage lenders must provide buyers with a document that breaks down the loan into component costs and annual percentage rates. By comparing these APRs, home buyers can find the best deal and use a competitor’s lower rate as a bargaining chip during negotiations.
Buying a home for the first time? Visit the First Time Home Buying Tips page for even more in-depth advice!
#4: Have Your Home Inspected By a Professional
Even if your home is brand new, it’s best to get it professionally inspected before committing to anything. An independent inspector can uncover major flaws — structural problems, foundation cracks, plumbing issues, roofing issues, mold, termites, and more — which could end up costing thousands in the long run and make it difficult to resell your house in the future. Consult your real estate broker for a trustworthy inspector in your area.
#5: Ask For a “Punch List” Before Putting Pen To Paper
Specifically for new houses or homes that are being renovated, a “punch list” is a list of problems that need to be fixed before the home is considered ready to be lived in. These issues can be small, like hammering in popped nails, or larger, like replacing faulty wiring or patching a shoddy roofing job. Making sure every item on the punch list is taken care of BEFORE you buy the home will save you the trouble of tracking down the builder after you’ve already moved in.