Purchasing a home is a significant accomplishment. It helps families realize the American Dream and put down roots. The challenge is that the process is unfamiliar for most and can be intimidating. Here are five top tips for buying a house that will help you avoid common mistakes.
Home Buying Tip #1 – Know Thyself
Falling in love with a future home and loving your decision can be two different things. Don’t buy a home based solely on emotions, because home ownership is not always romantic. Take stock in how you live today and what you need over the next decade, then make a list of your must-haves and would-like-to-haves. It may be nostalgic for instance to buy a home with a large yard, but less enjoyable when you spend weekends doing yard work. Make sure you take the time to think through each aspect and determine what you really need.
Home Buying Tip #2 – Location Matters
You can change nearly everything about a home, except the address. Where your new home is located will impact your commute, the friends you meet, stores you frequent, and schools your children attend. Love the neighborhood as much as you love the home. Drive to and from the prospective home during rush hour and walk the neighborhood. What is the distance to schools and parks, and how does the neighborhood feel? Buying a home is a long-term prospect. Make sure you buy in a location that best meets your needs.
Home Buying Tip #3 – Get Pre-approved, Not Pre-qualified
Anyone can get an online pre-qualification by entering approximate income and debt, but it is not worth the paper it’s printed on. A pre-approval requires more work up front but is valuable for the home buying process. To obtain a pre-approval, you submit an application, pull credit reports, and turn in key documents to your chosen lender. An underwriter reviews the file and gives you the thumbs up for a price range of homes. While a pre-approval takes a little more work, it provides an accurate look at what you can afford and can simplify the closing process. Shugart Homes partners with lenders that can walk you through the process and better prepare you for home ownership.
Home Buying Tip #4 – Avoid Activity that will Change your Credit Score or Employment
Buyers excited about the prospect of moving into a new home might venture on a shopping spree, which could wreck the closing. Buying furniture, upgrading the vehicle, or changing jobs can all derail the loan. At the time of application, lenders verify credit, employment, income, and savings. They run a second check just before closing to ensure nothing has changed. Increased debt, job changes, or lower financial reserves can reduce the stability of the application and change the loan decision. Be mindful of this tip for buying a house, and you should be in the clear.
Home Buying Tip #5 – Don’t Overbuy
Consider all the costs of home ownership. After closing, you have ongoing taxes, utilities, insurance, and maintenance to consider. You may also have lifestyle costs your lender does not consider. Hobbies, travel, and funding retirement, for example, are not reflected on your credit report and may impact your payment comfort level over time.
Home Buying Tip #6 – Buy A New Home From a Trusted North Carolina Home Builder
Buying a new home instead of a used home can reduce both maintenance and utilities, thanks to the improved efficiency of new homes and lower maintenance costs in the early years of ownership. Don’t settle for anything less than a well-established, trusted builder in the area you plan to move to.
Shugart Homes has been building communities in the Triad, NC area for over 50 years. We work with new homebuyers to help prepare you for successful homeownership in up and coming neighborhoods.