My day job is being a Realtor, so I’ve helped a lot of people buy houses. Without a doubt, when buying a house, people are told all kinds of things by well-meaning friends and family, and an alarming amount of that advice is wrong. Want to know what the true #1 thing to do is?
Ok, I know that’s vague, so I’ll spell it out for you.
- When buying a house…
This applies to every buyer out there: talk to a reputable mortgage person. Why? 1. Because most agents won’t waste time on someone who doesn’t have pre-approval from a lender; you can probably figure out the reasons why if you think about it. 2. You don’t want to fall in love with houses you can’t afford. That’s the kiss of death because when you start looking at lower priced houses, none will measure up, and you’ll be disappointed. You also don’t want to waste time on houses under your price point.
Renting? Check with your landlord/rental people about if and how you can get out of it. You can’t break a lease without paying substantial penalties.
Own a house already? You need to have your house on the market, preferably under contract. Put yourself in the seller’s shoes. Would you want to take your house off the market and wait on someone who hasn’t even started the process of putting their house up for sale? Of course not! Put yourself in a stronger position, so your offer has a better chance of being accepted.
- Working with an agent to buy a house is free to you. I can’t speak with 100% certainty in every place and every situation, but in the normal scheme of things, sellers pay commission for both agents involved. But buyers do have other expenses. They will have to have a down payment of some kind in most mortgages, but sometimes a lender will have a no-down-payment loan. Buyers will need to pay for inspections of the home they’re buying, usually at the time of the inspection. Money will be needed to make the house the way you want it after you move in, and that amount depends on how much work will be done.
Buying a new house is a lot of fun but can be stressful. If you’re ready before you start, you’ll find it goes much more smoothly.