House hunting is super exciting! Especially if it’s your first time buying a home. As a real estate agent my job is to guide my buyers through each house using my homeownership knowledge and real estate experience to help them choose the property that satisfies their goals the best. Here is a list of items that I find useful for a first time home buyer to remember when they are searching for home sweet home.
Before You Look Get Pre-Approved
You don’t want to go on a weekend of house hunting and see the perfect home for your family only to find out you can’t afford it! That’s NO fun at all. I tell all my buyers before we waste any of their time they need to contact a lender. If they don’t have one in mind I have a great lender I recommend to all my clients. In fact, my favorite lender is the tall guy standing behind me in the photo! I think it is important that my team has the same standards we have and like us they walk our clients through every step of the home buying process from the beginning to the closing table. Getting pre-approved is the first step in homeownership. The lender will sit down with you to discuss your credit score, financials and job history. You will need a pre-approval letter when you make an offer on a home. The seller will want to know you have met with a lender and can financially purchase their property.
Add It All Up
When you look at homes in your price range don’t forget to add up all the cost that you are going to have if you buy that home. There are taxes, mortgage insurance, there may be association fees in the neighborhood you purchase your home in, utility bills, garbage bill, city bill and any home maintenance costs that come up along the way.
Don’t Let The Wall Color Distract You
This statement works in two ways. One; don’t disregard a home based on a bold Mediterranean orange kitchen or a black and white painted checkered ceiling, which I have seen both, because color can always be changed. In fact it is the cheapest home improvement out there. A fresh coat of paint can make a world of difference! On the other side of the coin don’t fall in love with a home just because it has the trendy soft gray walls throughout the living space. Look closely at the finish and make sure you aren’t buying a money pit that used color to hide any issues.
Think About The Resale Value
While walking through properties ask yourself if this home would have a good resale value. The things you want to look at are the style of the home, garage size, location, school district ranking, access to major highways, lot size, curb appeal and the backyard views. These items always come into play when selling or buying a home. Buying the worst house on the block doesn’t mean you can turn it into the best house. If the house is on a high traffic road that is something you can’t change and it will be harder to sell that home in the future. You will have to weigh the pros to the cons and decide if that home has enough good points to sell down the road.
The Multiple Offer Game
If you find yourself making an offer and you’re told you aren’t the only one on the table then that means you are playing the multiple offer game. The trick to winning isn’t as simple as rising your bidding price. I tell my buyers to come in with their best and final offer when we are dealing with multiples. That way they can feel good about giving it their all right up front. If the seller didn’t like it the first time then at least they can walk away knowing they gave it their best shot.
Also, don’t throw all your high cards away when you adjust your offer. For example, I encourage my buyers to have an inspection and make it contingent on the inspection every time they make an offer on any home. I don’t want them to give away something that is so important just to win the house. Think of it this way, say you give up your home inspection and the seller chooses to go with your offer. Great, good for you! Spring comes down the road and your house has an issue with the sump pump. There you are wearing your rain boots removing basement water wishing you had the chance to go back and have that home inspection! If you don’t win the house it’s OK there is always another house you can buy.
Home Inspections Are Worth It
Like I stated above I tell all my buyers to make their offers contingent on a home inspection. In Minnesota the average inspection costs $350.00. I would also tell my buyers to add a radon test to their home inspection. Radon is a radioactive gas formed by the natural decay of uranium in rock, soil, and water. It enters the house through cracks in floors or walls, construction joints, or gas in foundations around pipes, wires or pumps. If there is a high level of radon in the home it can cause lung cancer. In fact, radon is responsible for about 20,000+ lung cancer deaths every year, which makes it the second leading cause of lung cancer. There is a way to control the radon in a home through radon mitigation. My point is GET A HOME INSPECTION AND RADON TEST!
Choose A Professional Real Estate Agent
There are a ton of real estate agents out there, but that doesn’t mean they offer the same value. Most people don’t realize the difference between a agent who treats this job as their business compared to their friend who used their Dad’s brother who sells three homes a year. Buying a home is one of the largest investments a person will make in their entire lifetime. It’s a big deal! You need to trust the person you are working with is working for you and doesn’t just want to sell you anything so they get a pay check. There are many factors that come along with buying a home. We are full time agents who stay up-to-date with the ever changing market, education, real estate laws, purchase contracts and more. If you are looking for someone you can trust give us a call. We would be more than happy to answer any of your questions and help you find your dream home.