Real estate professional Amanda DeLong shares some tips from her experience to help you avoid making these mistakes.
* Don’t buy a place today that won’t work for you tomorrow.
When my husband and I bought our first home, we had two children almost immediately after we moved in and we instantly outgrew that house. If you anticipate adding more children to your family, or perhaps an aging parent, try to think ahead about how this could change what you will require of your space.
* Don’t buy something you cannot comfortably afford.
So, what if the lender approved you for $350,000? If you ran your own numbers and feel the mortgage payment for a house of that price doesn’t leave you with enough discretionary income, then don’t spend that much. Set your own budget parameters and make sure you’re not relying on any future, uncertain increases in income.
* Go into the home inspection with realistic expectations.
You’re likely to get a 75-page report from the home inspector that talks about things you’ve never even heard of and there will be lots of red ink. This is normal — don’t freak out! What’s important is to work with a strong agent who will help you focus on what issues you’ll want to bring up with the seller.
* Shop for your homeowner’s insurance right away after you’ve found “the one.”
Nine out of ten buyers wait too long to shop for homeowner’s insurance! The real estate purchase contract is written in such a way as to give you a set time period within which to get quotes for the homeowner’s policy. That way, if the cost comes in way higher than anticipated, you’ll be able to use this as a reason to get out of the contract.
* Once you’ve gotten pre-approved for a mortgage, do not apply for any new lines of credit.
That means no new credit cards (I don’t care if they’re offering you 90% off, don’t do it!), no buying or leasing any vehicles, and no cosigning anything for anyone. Protect your credit score like it’s your first born and don’t let anything come near it!
* You’re not renting an apartment, so don’t get hung up on paint.
Paint is one of the easiest and least expensive things that you can change when you get the keys. Covering colors that you don’t care for or someone else’s sloppy paint job can dramatically change the look of the place and even add value, so don’t pass up the Easter egg colored house if she’s got the right bones.
As always, when you’re ready to talk about selling or buying, give me a call.