Home Buying Do’s and Don’ts

Buying a home can be a difficult and confusing process, especially for first-time home buyers. During the home buying journey, you will interact with many different people, sign numerous documents, and go through several steps before you can finally get the keys. However, knowing what you should and shouldn’t do can help make the process easier, faster, and less stressful for everyone involved.

DO:

Know What You Can Afford

A mortgage is a large commitment, and not being able to repay your debts can result in losing the home you’ve bought, as well as destroying your credit score. Before you even consult a real estate agent or get preapproved for a mortgage, make sure you know the price range you’re looking in.

Putting together a monthly budget will help you see where you can cut costs, and roughly how much you could afford for a monthly payment. You could also take advantage of online calculators to help you learn just how much you can afford. It’s also important to account for and be aware of one-time costs when buying a house. These include, closing costs, the Peconic Bay Preservation Tax, moving costs and furnishing your new home.

Get Preapproved

Mortgage preapproval allows you to know how big of a loan you’ll be able to take out. Lenders will look at your credit score, debt to income ratio (DTI), yearly income, and more. One important thing to know is that pre-approvals are good for a set period of time, such as 90 days. It’s recommended you complete the pre-approval process right before you start shopping for homes.

Going through the preapproval process provides you with many benefits; for example, many real estate agents will require a preapproval letter before setting up showings and having a pre-approval letter makes any offer you submit stronger. Being pre-approved can also help speed up the closing process once you’ve put in an offer on a property.

Find a Real Estate Agent

The real estate market is complex and difficult to navigate if you don’t know what you’re doing. Although there is no rule against representing yourself when buying a home, much like with the law, it’s highly recommended against doing just that. Working with a Realtor can help you when it comes to setting up showings, finding homes in your price range, drawing up offers for homes you’d like to buy, and pointing out possible problems with a property. Also, in many markets, sellers pay the costs of both the buyers and sellers agent, meaning there’s no good reason to forgo the services of a real estate agent in your search.

DON’T:

Make Financial Changes

Throughout the home buying process, multiple agencies will be checking your credit score, financial portfolio and employment status. Any change in these factors could lead to your pre-approval being rescinded, or delaying your closing. This means that once you begin to look for houses, it’s important to not make any significant financial changes like taking out any new loans or credit cards. You also shouldn’t quit your job when buying a house unless you absolutely have to, even if it’s for another position where you make the same amount or more money. Lastly, don’t close any financial accounts, even if it’s to pay off another loan, or open new accounts until you have closed on your new home.

Buy a Home Based on Looks

Of course, you want a home that looks appealing inside and out, that’s completely understandable. However, don’t let things such as interior and exterior paint color, flowers or furniture influence your decision whether or not to buy. Homes will often look a lot different once your own furniture and style are applied. This is why it’s important to look through as many listings as possible, because your own style will dramatically alter the home and judging a house by it’s superficial traits could cause you to lose out on a beautiful, quality home.

Rush Into Anything

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial commitments a person can make. It’s important to not rush into any part of the process, from deciding it’s time to buy a house until the closing day. Some steps you can take to prevent rushing the process include, saving up a large amount before looking, sticking to a budget, and making sure you understand all additional fees and read forms thoroughly before closing. Since you will likely be staying in your home for several years, it’s important to make sure you’re confident in your decision and can be happy there for the foreseeable future.

Home buying doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s important to be well-informed and prepared before you jump in head first. However, if you assemble the right team and ask questions, you can be in a new home sooner rather than later.