Buying your first home can feel like both the best of times and the worst of times. Here are 10 facts nobody tells you when you’re buying your first home.
1. Something will go wrong
No move is ever perfect. Something will get broken or there will be something you’ve forgotten to bring or do. With any luck, the setback will be minor, and you can chalk it up to the old adage, “things happen.”
2. If you don’t have the closing fees, you don’t get your new home
Legal fees are due on closing, and your funds won’t be released to the seller unless your lawyer is paid. Closing costs usually range from two to five percent of the purchase price, but be sure to verify this information before arriving on closing day. This money is in addition to your deposit.
3. Good schools increase a home’s value
You’ll pay more for a house in a good school district. Of course, the good news is you’ll get more for it when you decide to sell. If the home you’re planning to buy is your “forever” home and you don’t have, or plan to have children, this may not matter. Still, it’s something to think about.
4. Your neighbourhood may be about to change drastically
The municipality may be planning a park, a school, or a playground for your area. Depending on your lifestyle, that can mean profound changes in a short period of time. Check with local administration and the area’s local representative. The first can tell you what the plan is. The latter will have a far better grasp of whether outlined timelines are accurate or not. You can base your decision on the information they provide.
5. You need to read all the documents yourself
It’s tempting when you’re paying a lawyer to review your documents to simply delegate this task. However, a close reading of the minutes of meetings will teach you a lot about your neighbours-to-be and help you avoid nasty surprises, like planned increases in fees or devolving renovations.
6. Don’t apply for other credit while mortgage shopping
Applying for a loan or another credit card may seem like a good idea when you’re about to take the home ownership plunge and know you’re going to need to buy things like garden tools, a gazebo, and a grill. Don’t do it unless absolutely necessary. It can negatively affect not only the amount of your pre-approved mortgage, but it can also mean you don’t get pre-approval. Wait until after you’ve bought your home to apply for more credit.
7. Your neighbours-to-be may be your best source of information
Walk around the area you where you want to live. If you see people out gardening or mowing their lawns, talk to them. Strike up a conversation and explain that you’re thinking of buying. Ask receptive individuals what the neighbourhood is like, how long they’ve lived there, and how long they’re planning to stay. If you learn that your new home is located next door to some party animals who blast music every single summer evening, you may not enjoy your own backyard, so you may want to reconsider.
10. Check for rebates you may be entitled to
You may qualify for first-time homeowner rebates. There may be other municipal, state, or utility-provider rebates available, too. Start investigating early. It may make more sense to invest in attic insulation than an air conditioner if you’re going to get a rebate that covers some or all the cost of the insulation. Some areas offer rebates on newer, more energy-efficient appliances. You won’t know that unless you do your homework.
A good real estate agent can talk you through the buying process. Now you’re already ahead of the game with these 8 facts nobody tells you, and you’ll be able to focus on offer strategy rather than the fundamentals.
Disclaimer: The opinions posted within this blog are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, others employed by Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate or the organisations with which the network is affiliated. The author takes full responsibility for his opinions and does not hold Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate or any third party responsible for anything in the posted content. The author freely admits that his views may not be the same as those of his colleagues, or third parties associated with the Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate network.