Ready to buy a home in St. Paul, MN? There are all kinds of things you’re likely thinking about. What kind of house do you want? Which neighborhoods are you most interested in? Before you get really invested in thinking through a lot of these kinds of issues, however, you want to have some fundamentals together. CNNMoney gives a good “Top Things to Know” list for buying a home:
1. Don’t buy if you can’t stay put.
I think this is a lesson that most buyers understand these days. Selling is currently much harder than buying, so investing in real estate that you don’t plan to keep for a while is likely not a good plan.
2. Start by shoring up your credit.
Start with your credit report and make sure that everything is correct. Don’t wait until you are applying for a mortgage to find out that there are inaccuracies regarding your credit!
3. Aim for a house you can really afford.
Crunch the numbers. Then crunch them again. On paper. Don’t let someone talk you into more house than you can really afford to make payments on. Fortunately, lenders are much more careful these days about making sure you do just that, but you still need to do the math yourself and make sure you’re working within a realistic budget.
4. If you can’t put down the usual 20 percent, you may still qualify for a loan.
You need to do the research to find out if a loan is right for you, but you may qualify for a loan that would require less than 20% down.
5. Buy in a district with good schools.
Not just for your kids, if you have them, but for your sake when you eventually sell. Good schools sell homes!
6. Get professional help.
On Monday I’ll be blogging about the reasons that using a professional real estate agent is the best thing you can do to reduce the headache and cost of selling your house.
7. Choose carefully between points and rates.
This is another area where you need to do research. Don’t just settle for the first mortgage rate or lender you see. Rates vary daily, and widely between lenders. Put the work into exploring several options to find the one best for your life.
8. Before house-hunting, get pre-approved.
Once you decide you want to buy, it’s so tempting to just get out there and start looking and dreaming. But you really need to have a realistic game plan before you start falling in love with houses you cannot or should not afford.
9. Do your homework before bidding.
Your real estate agent should help you with knowledge about the selling price of similar homes in the area of St. Paul you’re looking at. Sellers vary widely in their asking prices, irrespective of what homes are actually selling for. Knowing the going rate in the neighborhood will give you clout to make a good and realistic offer.
10. Hire a home inspector.
It’s important to have a professional look over the home through a variety of structural lenses – making sure that any number of issues are taken care of. The difference between someone who knows and doesn’t know what they’re doing in this area is huge, and well worth the couple hundred dollars it will cost to hire a pro.
Resist the temptation to rush out and tour homes, and instead first lay the good groundwork for successfully buying a home in St. Paul, Minnesota!