Buy a Permanent Residence, Vacation Home, or Fixer-Upper Without the Anxiety
Big purchases like boats, cars, airplanes, and—you guessed it—homes are some of the best investments you can make. Real estate in particular typically appreciates in value and home upgrades tend to reflect very well on the sale price years down the road. Let’s take a look into how you can get a home, what you should do to prepare, and when you should buy.
Prepare Your Credit
There’s a lot to do before buying a house. Our advisors recommend that you begin with a credit check. This doesn’t just mean you run your free credit report and call it a day. You need to take your credit report, check for any fishy activity or problem children and get them sorted out. The less dings on your report, the better your chances of getting a reasonable loan. Also, don’t purchase anything big three to six months before you plan to buy your new home.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
There’s pre-qualified, then there’s pre-approved. Being pre-qualified means you picked up the phone, called your bank, told them your financial situation, and they made an educated guess on a loan amount. This means it’s pretty much a consolation prize for potential homebuyers.
Being pre-approved means you know the exact amount of the loan you qualify for, have completed all the crazy paperwork, and you can even lock in an interest rate. To buyers this is a hugely important step and sellers know you’re the real deal.
Home Inspections and Surveying the Property
Settling on a house is one thing, but if the roof is falling apart, there’s a massive infestation, or the foundation is damaged, you could be sitting on a time bomb. Like any good homebuyer, you need to get your own home inspection completed, even if the seller has already had one come through.
Surveying a property is also hugely important. It determines your property tax and you can settle land disputes before they become an issue. The last thing you need are neighbors getting angry over an inch of grass here or there after moving in.
Don’t Wait to Buy
Nearly every homebuyer and property owner got burned in one way or another during the 2008-2009 recession, but we can’t live in fear of a market swing. Real estate goes up and down in price all the time. Trying to predict these fluctuations will drive you absolutely insane, so don’t wait for the markets to level out or drop. Buy when you want to buy.
The Art of Bidding
Depending upon the owner, bidding on a house can either go really well or really bad. On one hand, you could bid more than you can afford. Alternatively, you could accidentally insult the buyer with an amount that’s far too low. Check the sale prices of other homes in the area to find an appropriate number. If you happen to find a house with similar square footage in the same neighborhood, it might be the perfect way to hit the right number the first time.
Special Note: Homeowners are sometimes behind on their property taxes. Use this to your advantage.
A house is a great investment that can be kept for generations or sold when it’s time to move on. While you’ll always need a place to live, a financial advisor can help you find a house that fits your needs and helps fulfill your long-term goals.