A couple weeks ago, I was on my way home from enjoying the weekend up north at the cabin with my wife and my dog, Charmin, a small Westie. I pulled over on the side of the dirt road because my wife noticed a turkey in the woods. I rolled down the window so Charmin could see. Charmin was so intriged that she literally jumped out of our large SUV window! She fell hard to the ground, unhurt luckily, and must have realized that maybe it wasn't such a good idea but chased after the turkey anyways. She ended up losing the turkey in the woods.
That got me thinking about how some home buyers are "jumping" at the first homes they see without being prepared for what problems could occur during and after the sale. Here are a few tips to consider when buying a home:
1) Get pre-approved - If you are lucky enough to be pre-approved for a home loan, it can give you an edge over any other buyers who may be interested in the same home but are not yet pre-approved. It’s also an indication to the home owner that you are serious about buying the home and not just bargaining to find a steal!
2) Affordable home - The rule of thumb is that you can buy housing that runs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary. But you'll do better to use one of many calculators available online to get a better handle on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford. Make sure you don’t use up all of your monthly income on the home payment. You will be much less stressed out when you have extra money for vacations, nights out, or any other fun activities.
3) Find a Realtor - Even though the internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings, most new buyers (and many more experienced ones) are better off using a professional agent. Look for an agent who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process. Realtors will also guide you though out the process and make sure everything goes smoothly. The best part is…it’s usually FREE to work with a buyers agent!
4) Hire a home inspector - Buyers gain a thorough overview of the property and its condition before closing. This helps in deciding an offer, negotiating price, or finalizing the purchase contract. By having an inspection done, the buyer is knowledgeable about both negative and positive aspects of the property so there are no unpleasant surprises later. Property maintenance needs are also made known in advance.
We hope Charmin will be smarter the next time she sees a turkey and will only go after it after she assesses the situation.