What an exciting, but stressful time! I've rounded up a few tips to help you through this process. The list is from my point of view - someone that has been through the home buying process.
I know any list you read about house hunting will include getting pre-approved. That's because it is important for so many reasons. Many realtors will not show a home without the buyers being approved for that price point. However, it also allows you to make an offer quickly. In today's market it is important to have the ability to act as soon as the day the home is listed for sale.
It can be tempting to stretch your budget or go over-budget when you find a beautiful home. This may end up working out for some. However, it could cause others to be, what my mom calls, house poor. You have the home of your dreams, but no money to make updates or furnish it the way you'd like. You make sacrifices to save money by skipping social outings and vacations. While that may not bother some people, it's still a good idea to consider the type of lifestyle you would like to maintain. Have an understanding of where your money goes each month, not just on bills. Don't forget to plan for unexpected expenses, too. Owning a home is more than paying the mortgage!
REALTOR, MORTGAGE BROKER & TITLE COMPANY
Buying a home can be very stressful. Knowing that the people you're working with have your best interest in mind is important. Actually, they are working FOR you so if they aren't meeting your expectations, don't be afraid to find someone new. In terms of financing and closing on the home, shop around! Realtors tend to have certain companies they enjoy working with, but that doesn't obligate you to use them.
Don't let cosmetic features effect you positively or negatively. We've all heard not to let wall color or decor deter you from the potential the home has. However, beautiful finishes or staging may distract you from an issue such as water damage. Try to focus on the bones of the home. Things to keep in mind when touring a home:
A lot rides on the inspection. At times it can make or break a sale. Ensure that the inspector is licensed and has good reviews. They should not have more than a professional relationship with any party as they should be unbiased throughout the process. Once the report is complete, be sure to review it thoroughly. Don't be afraid to ask questions or for clarification. The last thing you want as a new homeowner is to run into an issue a few months after moving in that could have been caught during the inspection.
MAKING AN OFFER
As I touched on above, today's market is very competitive. There isn't enough inventory for the amount of people looking to buy. When putting in an offer, include a letter giving some background on you and your family along with a photo. The sellers have made years of memories in their home and want to know the new owners will love it just as much as they have.
At the end of the day, only you know what you need to make your the home buying experience a successful one. However, I hope you find something from this list helpful in your search process!