Ready to Move in? Your Checklist for Buying a House

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Are you preparing to buy a house?  Maybe you are a first time home buyer and are full of excitement?  That’s’ good, it should and can be an enjoyable process.  The checklist for buying a house listed below can help with preparations and shed some light on some of the tasks and responsibilities to be mindful of.  Financial preparedness and ability, your expectations of a home and the emotional component of decision making are among the items you will need to prepare for and manage through the process.  Understanding and applying these few steps on the checklist for buying a house may help you maintain your enthusiasm and create an enjoyable and memorable experience for you.

1.    Know Your Expenses:      your-checklist-for-buying-a-house

  • In preparation for buying a house, be clear on how much you spend on everything, use a spreadsheet for accuracy and impact.  And use cash for purchases, it will likely surprise you how much you actually spend.

 2.    Plan and Stick to a Budget:

  •  Knowing how much you are regularly spending create a realistic budget factoring in all costs.  This will give some guidelines for how much flexibility your income will allow for mortgage, tax and insurance costs.
  • If purchasing your first home you can expect a minimum down payment of 5% and in some cases, such as a second residence, it can be as much as 20%.

 3.    Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage:     

your-checklist-for-buying-a-house

  • This step in the checklist for buying a house can be switched up with #4 below.  There are reasons for either one to be listed before the other.  One reason being that your real estate agent could recommend a good lender, so you would want to find a good agent first.  In any case, do your homework and investigate your options when it comes to a good lender.
  • This step will make certain you will be looking in the right price range when you are ready to look at homes.  Your time and energy will likely already be put to the test just searching and viewing homes.  The emotional stress of finding out you can’t afford that fancy dream home you found is unneeded.

 4.    Find a Good Agent:

                         your-checklist-for-buying-a-house 

  • Okay, okay, I know; not that kind of agent.  Wouldn’t be great though to find a real estate agent so dedicated to your home buying success?  They are out there.
  • This is the traditional method for buying a house. Once again though; you still need to do your homework.  There are likely 100’s of agents in your area, and they are not at all equal.  There is a saying that 80% to 90% of the market is worked by the top 10% - 15% of the agents.
  • One alternative method that should be considered on the checklist for buying a house is to find a real estate investment group and get yourself on their buyers list.  A good real estate investor will have quality, newly updated homes for sale or know someone who does.

 5.    Define Your Needs in a house:

  • It can be difficult to know what kind of home you want when you start looking at houses.  Make a wish list for your first couple of viewings, then take the time to review and amend your list of expectations after you see what is available in your price range.  Talk with your agent / investor and with your new information so you don’t waste time looking at the wrong houses.

 6.    Emotional Moxie:                                           your-checklist-for-buying-a-house

  • To buy a home that will build value for you, don’t make a buying decision based on what makes you feel good at the time.  Look carefully at the house and property.  Keep your initial impressions in check.
  •  Don’t let simple things like outdated carpet or an un-kept yard control your decision making process.  Take a look for important items like age of electrical, structure and foundation, drainage and windows.  On the checklist for buying a house these are some very important items.  Don’t let smaller cosmetic items influence your decision.

Summary:

Now that you have a good plan and are aware of necessary items to be mindful of on your checklist for buying a house; all you need to do is follow your plan.  Do your homework and be consistent.  Review your budget weekly during your down payment preparation and make sure you shop around for mortgages (if using a lender).  It pays to understand the different types of mortgages.  It also pays to interview real estate agents and if you are preparing yourself early for buying a house you may wish to spend some of that interview time with real estate investors.  Lastly, knowing what you want in your home and conducting emotional surveillance will serve you well and assist you with a memorable experience.

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