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Home Buying Tips
Homeownership is truly a rewarding experience. Not only are you investing in your future (the market WILL make a comeback...I hope!) but you will also have opportunities to learn about home maintenance and repair. Whether it's your first home or an investment property, taking out a mortgage on a property is one of the largest expenses we will make in our lifetime; and for most of us, we will spend almost our whole lifetime paying it off! Before you move forward with taking out a mortgage on a property I have compiled this list of tips that (I hope) will be helpful.
1. From experience, have the property inspected and ensure the inspector is established and reliable. It does add an additional expense, which most of us don't want to incur because we are about to deplete our savings to make a downpayment on a home, but it could save you from A LOT of headaches down the road. It's unfortunate, but a lot of people out there will do quick fixes to make their home look "pretty" before they put it on the market... and that could be an issue if they are covering up something larger. An inspector should have a fairly large checklist (a few pages) of areas the review around the house; from the roof to the basement- and everything in between. If they find nothing wrong, you can sleep at night knowing this is the home you want... if they find something wrong, you can use this to negotiate the price down on the home and if they won't budge on price- you can still sleep at night knowing you didn't move forward on a home that may have been a money pit.
2. An additional expense that is well worth the investment is a home owners warranty. Unless your house is brand new, within the first year or 2 something will break; whether it's something as simple as a ceiling fan or something more complex like an air conditioning unit. A home owners warranty covers most, if not all, of the expenses required to repair those items. One thing to note is the warranty generally only covers appliances (ie. HVAC unit, sink disposal, stove, etc.). It is definitely something to look at.
3. Check out the property at various times of the day and pick a few days. It may be time consuming, but you are about to live there for many years. It may be peaceful and your dream location based on the day you went to check it out, but the community nightlife may be a drastic change... or maybe the neighbors have keg party's 3 times a week- okay, you might like that- or maybe not so much. Usually the day time is safe to get an idea, but the night may bring about a whole new neighborhood, so check it out on a week night and pick a weekend night. It could save you some frustration.
4. In this economy it is essential to negotiate! Even if you think the asking price is fair, you may be able to reduce the price; which means money saved for your future and over the life of the mortgage it could be a significant amount of money! Start big, small or somewhere in between; don't be afraid to make an offer that is below the asking price, you may be surprised at their response.