Congratulations! Whether you have already made your choice on your dream home, or you are about to start the process of looking, buying a home is a major decision. With all major decisions, there comes a time when you have to prepare and know ahead of time what you will be getting into. Above all else, do your research, and here are seven things to verify before purchasing your home.
Verifying Background History of the Home
You should know the area that you are wanting to purchase a home in. With a phone, computer, and a little time, you will be able to find out if this home is in a safe area. By calling the local police department, you can inquire about the crime statistics in the area. You can also check online on the sex offender registry for offenders in your immediate area. If you have school-aged children, checking the statistics and reputation of the local school district is also a must.
Check online tax record database
This is the best way to verify the sales listing has all of the correct information. If you do a web search of “your town” and “tax assessors’ office” you should be able to find the tax listing website for your area. By accessing the tax card you will be able to find out the following information:
- Tax Value
- Square Footage
- Current Owners
- Yearly tax amount
Find a Reputable Real Estate Agent
First and foremost, finding the best real estate agent to fit your needs is crucial. Not only are they going to be handling a majority of the details leading up to the purchase, but they are also going to be the one to let you know who are the best people to help serve you.
More than likely, your realtor will be able to point you in the right direction on who to use and who has an outstanding reputation for their work. When it comes time to hire professionals they are sure to be able to find you the following:
- Home Inspector
- Pest Control
- Closing Attorney
- Licensed contractors
Finding a Lender
It’s important to get the right loan for your needs. This is a major purchase that you will be making payments on from anywhere between the next 15 to 30 years. It is imperative to know how much you are paying in upfront fees, closing fees, and payments over time.
When you initially apply, the lender will be giving you disclosures that include all of this information. Not every lender is created equal. Some offer different loan programs with varying qualification restrictions. You should always compare several lenders and the options they offer.
Most lenders require that you hire someone to perform a home inspection. This is to ensure that the property you are purchasing is thoroughly looked over to find any major defects or problems that need to be addressed before the closing. This takes place after the home is under contract. If there are defects, it can be put into the contract that they are to be taken care of by a licensed professional before the closing, or you might decide to fix it yourself and negotiate a better purchase price.
It is necessary to carry home insurance quotes up to the limits and coverage amount required by your lender on your new home. With that being said, it is vital to look around and call several companies to get the best price that you can negotiate because they can vary drastically from one company to another. Make sure to list any special premium reducing items like nearness to the local fire department, alarm systems, sprinkler systems, etc.
An appraisal will need to be acquired to establish the value of the home. The appraiser compares your listing to several other recently sold homes with the same general characteristics as the one you are planning on purchasing to arrive at an appraised value. It gives square footage, acreage, and more detailed information regarding types of heating and cooling units, flooring, and other materials used in the building of the home. This will be used by your lender to determine the borrowing amount and terms.
With rents rising and interest rates dropping, it’s the perfect time to consider owning your own home. If you think that you can’t afford it, there are multiple calculators that can help you figure out how much of a home you can afford as well as what the estimated monthly payments will be. With the current market climate, the time has come to stop renting and start investing in your future.