Tips for Single Homebuyers
There are probably few things in life that are as exciting--or as nerve- racking--as the search for a house. With an organized home buying plan, you can minimize a great deal of the emotional impact. By determining your buying power, your wants and needs, and having an organized search plan, your chances of a stress-free experience are much better.
Certain types of homes may appeal a bit more to some single homebuyers. For example, since most of the maintenance will be done by one person rather than two, many single buyers prefer homes such as townhouses and condominiums where some or all of the exterior maintenance, landscaping, snow removal, etc. is handled by the homeowner's association. In addition, some single buyers prefer the community aspect of these types of homes and the sense of safety that may be conveyed by having neighbors close at hand.
Many single homebuyers are single parent families, and a common mistake made is to tailor their purchase too closely to their current needs and not enough to future resale. For example, a one bedroom, two-bath single-family home with a huge great room and kitchen may be perfect for you, but it could be next to impossible to sell. It would be far better to have an additional bedroom or two sit empty (use as an office, exercise room, etc.) than to not have it at all.
Gertrude Singer, a REALTOR with National Realty in Palm Bay suggests that single buyers consider a few issues when preparing for and purchasing a home. According to Singer, the single homebuyer should
· Run before walking. This is easy to do once the decision to buy a home has been made. It means rushing off looking at homes, surfing the web or calling on advertisements before doing some up-front preparation.
· Don't over-buy the first time. A large and beautiful home with little or no furniture tends to be empty and cold. A life where almost every dime of your earnings goes to the support of your house wears thin very quickly and is a frequent cause of family stress. Leave yourself some breathing room!
· Compare mortgages. Don't simply accept the first plan presented to you. Spend time comparing to get the most advantageous plan for your requirements and financial situation
· Get mortgage pre-approval. Pre-qualification and pre-approvals are a necessary part of the home buying process. Not only will it give you an exact price range for your purchase, pre-approval will add a great deal of strength to your offer
· Don't wait for the "perfect" home. Many first time buyers make the mistake that they will, if they look around long enough, find a home that has a full 100% of their needs and wants. Instead, it makes sense to determine the most important of your needs and the most desired of your wants and selecting a home that meets the majority of them.
· The inspection process. This can involve skipping a whole house inspection completely in order to save the relatively small amount of money involved, or it may involve using a friend or relative with limited experience to conduct the inspection. In either case you run the risk of not exposing potentially expensive--or even hazardous--defects in the property. Protect yourself by investing the $200 to $500 for a professional inspection.
John Kuehne, a REALTOR with Pruitt Real Estate, Inc., advised that once the decision to buy a home has been made, you take the time to prepare before you go on your home search.
· Get your financial house in order first!
· Determine what your budget will comfortably allow and stick to it.
· Get pre-approved for a mortgage.
· Get familiar with the different housing types available to narrow your search.
· Determine your minimum requirements as well as any desired additional features-your needs and wants.
· Take note of any items that you don't want in a house.
· Determine the desired location (schools, work, public transportation, etc.)
· Choose an agent that you feel comfortable with and who understands your needs.
Kuehne also suggests that as you are searching, you use a scorecard to compare homes. "A scorecard is a great tool when it comes time for comparisons (and for remembering which home had which features)."