At this point in life I have a lot of experience packing and moving but I am absolutely not an expert on buying a house, since we just bought our first one, and we’re still not done with the process. So I am just going to share what happened to us and I hope it helps! I would love to hear about your experiences on the comment section below.
- The process of buying a house starts way earlier than you would think. For us, it actually started a few years ago. We knew that we would like to buy a house in the future and we had to build up our credit. We didn’t have bad credit, we just didn’t have any because we are not from here. We applied for a credit card, used only 30% of its limit and paid it off in full every month. We also decided to buy a used car with a car loan and pay it off which we did recently.
- Don’t make huge purchases or move large sums of money around prior to buying a house. We were completely clueless about this one. At my husbands previous job he had to pay for a lot of expenses out of pocket and then get reimbursed and some of these purchases didn’t match our profile, so our lender did ask about them. Also, don’t get any new credit cards or make more debt.
- Make a checklist. This one helps emotional buyers like me and it’s something really simple to do. What are your must haves and nice to haves. For our family one of our must haves was an extra bedroom or a second living room. We always have family from Brazil coming to visit and we really wanted to have a 4th bedroom or a 2nd living room to make guests more comfortable. I’m glad we did that, becauseI fell in love with every single house we walked through! It’s like any one of them could potentially be ours. I’m glad my husband could leave his emotions aside and really make sure that we were getting what was right for us. What we wanted in the first place that was on our checklist.
- Hire a home inspector. I think this one is pretty basic by now. I don’t know who wouldn’t do this. The amount of money you spend on an inspection cannot be compared to the amount of money it will save you finding problems later on. Besides, in our case, we didn’t have any major problems, but everything the inspector caught was fixed before closing. And I am pretty sure the sellers paid more than what we paid for the inspection. You also want to be informed about the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. You don’t want to find out about major issues later on.
- Stalk the neighborhood. Oh my goodness, we are probably the creepiest people around. I don’t think I can count the amount of times we drove by the houses we were really considering buying. Let’s just say potential neighbors-to-be already knew of us. Every time I saw someone on the road I would stop and ask them their thoughts on the neighborhood, the schools, noise, how far their work place is, basically everything I could think of. We also did our regular commute from the house, searched grocery stores, and all of the other important things – like Target :)
These are really the tips that helped us the most. You can find a much more detailed list on these three links:
- 6 Must Dos Before Buying a Home from Bankrate.com
- Best Kept Secrets for Buying a Home from HGTV
- 10 Tips Most First Time Home Buyers Don’t Consider from Foxbusiness.com