In today’s age, millennials were on the trend of only renting and not buying property. Now, the trend has turned around and we are buying homes more than before. I recently went through this process and we’re currently doing our inspections before closing late in June. That’s right, we made an offer in early May and won’t move in until the end of June. Closing dates can either be weeks after the offer or months. But there are a few nuggets of information that I would like to share with you before buying a house.

Know your credit score and get a pre-approval letter for a loan.

Your credit score will determine how much a loan you’ll be able to receive and having that letter ready to go shows the buyer that you are able to get this loan unless there is a drastic change of financial situation. Your letter of approval is also important if you are competing with others for the home. Buyers will look at how much you got approved to make sure that the person or persons putting in an offer on a home to make sure that they come through with that.

Know what you want and get a realtor who is knowledgeable about the area.

I am fortunate enough to have a realtor who knows me personally and can understand what I like. Knowing the must-haves verses the wants and knowing your price range is very important. You must know how much money you will be able to spend, especially when you count in the hidden costs. Also, it is imperative that your realtor knows the area and has experience. I can’t count how many homes we went into where another realtor was showing, but we noticed how much they missed. My realtor took us under the house a lot to check the pipes and crawl spaces, she checked the condition of the siding, the proximity to roads, the easements, the roof, the condition of the yard and any problems relating to that. Don’t shop on your own because you will miss a lot of things that realtors are trained to look for.

Verify all the information in the listing and make sure you’re getting what you pay for.

Go through the entire listing and make sure that everything they have on there is accurate. Then make sure that you’re having this place inspected. It is important to have the inspections done in a timely manner. In NC, we have a due diligence period where we get our inspections done. Then, there is additional time where the current homeowners have time to fix what is requested of them to fix. They can choose to fix it or not. But one of things we decided not to budge on was price. The sellers contacted us and wanted us to pay more, but they wanted to keep the refrigerator we asked them to leave. We were not going to give them more money for less within the home. Make sure you are understand what they are asking and what you will be getting.

Make sure everything within the home is up to code.

There are more and more laws passing everyday and more codes that are being updated. You need to make sure that everything is up to code. If not, it could be quote costly later. It could become an expensive fix even though the liability before the purchase lies with the homeowners. Make sure to look for any water-related issues and inspect for asbestos, mold, and radon.

Save up

When you are looking to buy a home, don’t buy something above your means. Shoot low with price and if you can’t find a home at that price, go up steadily. If you can’t afford to buy a home, simply wait and save. Saving up is key, especially because things like carpet and paint may be needed upon move which means bring to the point: don’t let the color of the walls or the carpet determine your final thoughts on a home. All cosmetic things can be changed. Don’t let that influence you.

Buying a home is stressful but exciting. It is so fun to go look at home and finding the one that is meant for you is exhilarating. Waiting for the acceptance of your offer isn’t fun but hearing your realtor say they accepted your offer is icing on the cake.  Buying a home is a lengthy process. Educate yourself and know what you’re getting into. The good news is: real estate is an investment so it’s worth it!

Caroline C.
FFL Cabinet Member
Follow Caroline on Twitter!