Avoid­ing first-time mis­takes

Tips to keep buy­ing your home from be­com­ing a night­mare

GA Voice - - News - By Jeff Ham­mer­berg

There are sev­eral mis­takes that first-time home buy­ers make that are eas­ily avoided. The idea is to not be im­pul­sive or suc­cumb to wish­ful think­ing. Even though a home may seem like a dream house it could, in re­al­ity, be a night­mare if you do not care­fully con­sider ev­ery­thing such a ma­jor pur­chase en­tails.

Fol­low th­ese tips to steer clear of some of the big­gest pit­falls:

Check out the neigh­bor­hood thor­oughly.

Re­mem­ber that there are real es­tate agents in the busi­ness of sell­ing you a home how­ever they can, and if that means telling you that you are about to live in a gay-friendly neigh­bor­hood that ac­tu­ally is not that friendly at all, then they may — in­ten­tion­ally or not — do their job and “get you into a home.” Work­ing with an LGBT real es­tate agent, or an agent with ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with LGBT clients, can help pre­vent this.

Check your credit be­fore you start to buy.

Yet an­other mis­take that many first home buy­ers make is as­sum­ing their credit is good be­fore they make an of­fer on a home. They dis­cover way too late that they can­not go through with buy­ing the house be­cause their credit is not good enough and the en­tire deal falls through.

Get pre-qual­i­fied or pre-ap­proved.

Your best bet is to get pre-qual­i­fied or pre-ap­proved for a mort­gage be­fore you even start shop­ping for a house. This pre­vents you from wast­ing your own and ev­ery­body else’s time later in the game.

Home sellers will not even con­sider en­ter­tain­ing an of­fer un­less you are at a min­i­mum pre-qual­i­fied, and your real­tor should re­quire it be­fore he or she even takes you to look at homes.

Con­sider a home’s flaws as well as strengths.

The de­sire to live in a par­tic­u­lar neigh­bor­hood or in an adored hous­ing style can also cause you to be blind to some of the flaws of the home. Are you really pre­pared to deal with low water pres­sure for years, very old ma­jor ap­pli­ances that might break down at any minute, or re­plac­ing that clay tile roof? Make sure that you have funds in or­der that will help you pay for things if th­ese break down. This is es­pe­cially true if you want to buy a his­toric home.

Don’t skip on in­spec­tions.

Be­fore buy­ing, make sure that you get all of the in­spec­tions that you can af­ford as that can save you a lot of money in re­pairs down the line.

In ad­di­tion to the stan­dard home in­spec­tion, con­sider a sewer scope, ask­ing for a roof in­spec­tion and cer­tifi­cate, a fur­nace in­spec­tion and cer­tifi­cate, and de­pend­ing on the re­sults of your home in­spec­tion, spe­cial­ists to re­view items of con­cern. Al­ways de­mand li­censed/ in­sured con­trac­tors for all re­pairs and re­place­ments nec­es­sary, with re­ceipts and war­ranties at clos­ing.

Shop around for the best mort­gage bro­ker and loan.

When shop­ping for a mort­gage bro­ker, many first-time buy­ers just go with the bro­ker who throws them the low­est fig­ure. But be­ware: low fig­ures can change once the com­pany feels they have “hooked you.” Go with a re­fer­ral from a trusted source, your real­tor who closes dozens of deals ev­ery year, or your own bank.

It is also a mis­take to take out what is called a sub-prime loan. This is a very ex­pen­sive mort­gage with a su­per-high in­ter­est rate. It might be of­fered to you if your credit rat­ing is not so hot.

Keep in mind that as de­sir­able as it may be to have a bit of eq­uity, mak­ing an ex­pen­sive deal may not be worth it in the end be­cause you will end up paying thou­sands more than you would have if you had sim­ply cleaned up your credit rat­ing and bought a home at a later date.

Over­all, don’t panic about “miss­ing the mar­ket” or “miss­ing the low rates.” Do your home­work and be as­sured of the sin­gle best in­vest­ment you may ev­ery make.

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