Buying a house is a significant financial and emotional investment. It takes maturity, both financial and mental. Unlike renting, you can’t escape an undesirable property with 30-60 days notice if you are dissatisfied. Here are some tips to make sure that you are prepared for a commitment of that magnitude.
Here are 5 tips to prepare you to go house-hunting:
Get your finances in order
Get a full picture of your credit by obtaining your credit report and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Many sellers will not even entertain offers from buyers who are not pre-approved.
Find a house you can afford
Other than your lender’s pre-approval, there are a number of online tools and calculators that can help you understand what you can afford. However, don’t forget, too, that there other considerations beyond the price, including property taxes, energy costs, and your daily expenses.
Hire a professional
Recruit a buyer’s agent, who will have your interests at heart (as required by law) and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.
Do your homework
Before making a bid, do some research. Come up with an asking price that’s competitive, and realistic. You don’t want to kill off negotiations with a low-ball offer anymore than you want to over-pay for a property that is not worth it.
Think long term
While you shouldn’t buy with the expectation that you will sell soon, you should also want to be in an area where you can maintain if not increase your property values. One of the ways you can accomplish that is by buying in a neighborhood with good schools and other desirable amenities.