As you start to get older the big purchases you make become more and more important. When it comes to buying a home, especially for retirement, you don’t want to make any mistakes. You want to buy once and be happy with your purchase. To help you be successful buying a home today, we’ve put together five tips on home buying you can apply today in 2020.
Five Home Buying Tips
1. Get Pre-approved Before You Search
One of the home buying tips and tricks is to get pre-approved before we start actively looking at homes. Many home buyers make the initial mistake of thinking that pre-approved is the same as pre-qualified, but there is a drastic difference between these terms.
Pre-qualified simply means you filled out a basic online form without submitting financial documentation such as paycheck stubs and tax returns. Pre-qualification doesn’t always hold weight in the competitive real estate market of today. When buying a home you need to obtain a pre-approval letter from a home mortgage lender.
So our first home buying tip is to get ahead of others and get pre-approved by a mortgage lender or bank. The lender will examine your financial documentation, and then determine how much money they are willing to loan you based on your finances. With this letter in hand, you can feel confident that you’ll be viewed and respected as a serious buyer.
2. Timing the Market Doesn’t Always Work
Our second tip for buying a home is to not try and time the market.
Often you hear buyers and even a few realtors say summer is the best time to buy. Sure, it’s typically the most convenient time weather-wise to move and the market is often flooded with homes, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the best time to buy.
You can buy a great home at any time of the year! It’s almost impossible to anticipate the real estate market. You don’t want to miss out on buying a great home by waiting for a specific time of the year to buy.
3. Don’t Waive a Home Inspection
Buying a home tip #3 is all about due diligence. Buying a home is a major endeavor – it’s likely the largest investment in your portfolio – so you don’t want to go into a purchase blind.
Surprisingly, some buyers forego the home inspection, thinking that since the home looks great on the surface all is well throughout the home. However, many buyers end up with a bad case of buyer’s remorse months after a purchase when they discover a faulty foundation, an aged AC/HVAC system, or hidden water damage with possible black mold.
Many costly problems can exist behind the walls, unseen to the naked eye. That’s why it’s imperative to get a home inspection done before you buy!
Hiring a home inspector costs about $200, but it’s worth every penny. You’re purchasing an unbiased third-party professional opinion about the home’s condition.
Please don’t make the mistake of relying on the seller’s pre-listing home inspection. Sometimes a seller will buy a home inspection before listing a home on the market in the effort to show that they have done their due diligence and repaired any problems found. However, don’t rely solely on the seller’s home inspection because the inspector may be biased to the hiring party.
This 2020 home buying tip is relevant right now since inventory is starting to creep up on the market. Some sellers are getting anxious to sell their home, so it’s best you purchase your own home inspection before buying. If the inspector does find problems, you can use the inspection report as a bargaining tool to lower the price.
4. The Art of Bidding
Home buyers searching for home buying tips in 2020 are well-served to think about their bidding strategy. Choosing the right offer price can be tricky, especially right now.
You don’t want to buy more than you can afford, but you don’t want to lose out to another buyer either. Be fair and reasonable so you won’t offend the seller. Many people think low-balling is the way to go with the first offer, but that’s how you can lose in a bidding war for your dream home.
It all depends on how the market is at the time. Is it a seller’s market? If so, you may need to enlist the help of a seasoned real estate agent who has a knack for price strategy and negotiation. Check out the recent sales history of homes in your neighborhood with your agent and figure out the average price per square foot.
You can also check with the county clerk’s office to see if the seller is behind on their property taxes. This valuable information can give you room to negotiate a better deal. Also, some agents will suggest you use an oddball number rather than a whole number for your bid. Round numbers give the impression that it’s a bid like all of the others, but an odd number may make your bid seemed more thoughtfully researched and prepared.
5. Check Out the Neighborhood
Before placing an offer on a home, check out the neighborhood. Drive through at different times of the day and week, especially the weekend. You can find out if your future neighbors throw loud parties on weeknights or if the next-door neighbor’s basement-living son likes to sunbathe in the driveway. You can get a true feel for the neighborhood culture by driving through at different times.
This advice is an important new construction home buying tip as well. Since new construction neighborhoods are often barely occupied, it’s a good idea to check out the neighborhood and get a feel for its energy and vibes. There’s always a chance that these neighborhoods do not fill up right away, so you want to make sure you don’t find it eerie or lonely.
Also, you’ll want to search the address on Google Maps and click the “nearby” search feature for that address. You can search for nearby grocery stores, drug stores, hospitals, restaurants, and more to see how far they are from the home. You’ll want to check out the schools assigned to the address, too, even if you don’t have kids because this affects a home’s value.
Thinking About Buying a Home?
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