As Mike and Michelle search for their dream home, Mike has his eye on
vaulted ceilings and Michelle looks for the perfect space for a home office.
When they find the house that meets their expectations, how can they be
sure they'll be happy with their choice? Considering that your home may
be the single largest investment of your life, follow these tips for making
a good choice:
Rolling Out the Welcome Mat
- Stay within your budget. Keep in mind how the home purchase
will affect your existing financial situation and other goals, such
as saving for retirement or funding a child's college education. You'll
also need to consider the cost of living in the new home, such as
utility bills, heating expenses and repair and maintenance costs.
And don't forget to reserve enough cash to cover the closing costs,
insurance premiums, property taxes and moving expenses.
- Decide what type of agent to work with. Although the
seller's broker will be available to you, remember that he or she
represents the seller. You may want to hire a buyer's broker to help
you get the best deal. Ask the local Board of Realtors for a referral.
- Consider the asking price. To make sure you're not paying
too much, objectively ask yourself how much the house is worth. Will
you end up paying extra for features such as extra bedrooms, a pool
or sauna that aren't important to you? Check the selling price of
comparable homes in the neighborhood for recent trends.
- Have the home professionally inspected before you sign
on the dotted line. A good inspection will reveal major problems,
such as corroded plumbing antiquated or unsafe electrical systems,
or structural or foundation problems. An inspector may also discover
less serious problems, like minor electrical defects or inferior ventilation.
If the house is safe and sound, the cost of an inspection will buy
you peace of mind. Ask your real estate agent, friends or mortgage
lender for a referral to a home inspection professional, or look in
the Yellow Pages under Home Inspection Service.
- Get to know the neighborhood. If you have children, check
out the schools they'll attend. Drive or walk to the nearest grocery
store and shopping mall, and consider your daily commute. Make sure
you don't mind these trips, because you'll be making them regularly
for years to come.
- Look at the surrounding areas. To avoid unpleasant surprises
in the future, envision possible changes in the neighborhood. Beware
of imminent modifications if wooded areas are being developed or streets
are being widened. You may want to check with the local planning department
to see what developments might be permitted down the road, and how
assessments could possibly affect you.
- Don't let your heart rule your decision. A new home is
a significant investment, and looking at the pros and cons objectively
may help you make the wisest choice.
When you find the perfect home, we can help you choose
a mortgage that fits your needs. Our mortgage
lending team is staffed by experienced professionals who would be
glad to explain all of your borrowing options. Stop by today, or call
to make an appointment.
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