When I went through my home buying process, my husband and I had little knowledge on the actual process and what kinds of red flags to look for. I wish there had been a resource, or maybe if I had just taken the time to research deeper and ask more question I could have been better off. A few things I realized after moving in:
This is a lot simpler than it sounds. Loan officer, lenders and mortgage brokers all have the same goal—to get you to use them. The big difference comes with the mortgage broker who has the ability to shop around for rates. Essentially, they have partnerships with numerous lending institutions and can see which LENDER can get you the best rate. Don’t just settle for a friend who is in the business, this is a long-term investment and a rate can mean the difference of thousands and thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
- Buying a home is a HUGE investment (but also a money sucker.)
Two months after moving in, our basement flooded. It had nothing to do with the actual functionality of the house itself, but someone had come over and flushed cleaning wipes down out toilet thinking that was okay… not sure why. But anyways, my husband is a huge numbers guys, so even though we had a savings, he didn’t want to deplete that to fix out basement. We really wish we would have started saving for such incidents while we were in the home buying process.
- Realizing that we are NOT handy people
This goes along with the previous point, with having to rip out a bathroom and carpet, even after we had bought the supplies to put it all back together, it just sat there because we are not DIYers! It took months for us to finally finish it (still a work in progress.) Be honest in what you can and cannot handle! Some homes are “move-in ready” and others need a little work. Just think about the commitment before you pull the trigger on anything.. I so bad wish we would have bought something that needed a little work, so we could “make it out own,” but I am also thankful that we didn’t, so we wouldn’t go through the same hassle we did with the basement!
- DO THE WALK THROUGH
At the end of the transaction there is an opportunity to do a walk through to make sure the home hasn’t been demolished while you have been going through the home buying process. DO IT. It doesn’t matter if you are busy or have other plans, those can be pushed aside. This is very important. When we closed on our house the previous owner left an abundance of garbage and some malfunctioning appliances, and while there is always the opportunity to hire a lawyer, it can be a lot simpler to fix before the transaction closes, so the new owner doesn’t have to make numerous trips to the dump before they can move their own furniture in.
- Paint before you move in!
Painting is one of my least favorite tasks.. and now that all my belongings are moved in, it is something that I am still pushing off…. 1.5 years later. Even though it’s new and exciting, hold off on getting your stuff in and paint while it’s vacant!
- Buy furniture room-by-room—but not until the house closes!
Buying furniture before a house closes can be a huge disappointment if something falls through, but also a problem if you put it on your credit card and it starts counting towards your debt-to-income ratio, which affects what your eligible for when it comes to a home mortgage. So hold off! But anyway, the accumulation of items is something my husband and I are still working on. While we do have a lot of “stuff” in our house, we have close to nothing hung on our walls, which sometimes makes it seem like we are in the process of moving out. (On a side note, once you get wall hangings, put them up! Don’t just lean them against the wall for months like us.)
Lastly, save money when you can! Don’t go out and max your credit cards on all the things you think you want for your home, because often times you are buying because it’s cheaper than renting… but you know what’s not cheaper? A mortgage + maxed out credit cards. Be conscious of your spending after you move in, you do have 30 years left on your mortgage after all!
Looking to buy or sell real estate? Go to hardiegroup.com or call 509-456-4500
This is not professional or legal advice, this is just one first time home buyer talking to another.