Avoid costly mistakes when buying a home
1. Not knowing what you can afford before making an offer.
The best way to avoid this is to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you know exactly how much you can afford. Usually, pre-approvals are free.
2. Not knowing who the agent represents.
Ask your agent to ensure they are not double listing the purchase and also representing the seller. Get everything in writing.
3. Choosing the wrong mortgage.
A bad mortgage can cost you thousands in taxes and interest. Pre-qualify before you begin the home search process (most agent will request this prior to offering to show homes with you). Back to point #1, only look in the price range you can comfortably afford.
If you are able to secure a mortgage that allows for early pre-payments, or weekly, monthly or annual lump sum payments, take advantage. You can also:
Round up your monthly payments.
For example, if your monthly mortgage payments were $734 dollars a month, but you rounded it up to $800 per month, you would save more than $48,000 in interest payments, and reduce the length of your mortgage by 7.5 years.
Make one-time pre-payments using your income tax refund.
For example, if you have a $100,000 mortgage, and you have a $1,000 tax refund this year, apply that refund to your mortgage. Over time, this will save you more than $8600 and shave 1 year and 1 month off your mortgage using the $100,000 mortgage amount.
Choose a 15 or 20 year mortgage (vs the traditional 25 or 30 year amortization). Also, choose bi-weekly payments versus monthly to shave off additional accruing interest.
If you can afford it, you are far better off getting a 15 year mortgage instead of 30. It will cost you more, but the interest savings are truly incredible. If you have a mortgage of $100,000 at 8% interest over 15 years, your monthly payment would be about $200 more, but you'd end up saving $92,083 in interest over the life of your mortgage.
4. Not understanding how credit can impact your ability to purchase or refinance a home.
Get a mortgage professional to help you go over and prepare your credit file before you buy a home. Low credit scores (below 650-700) mean higher interest rates and lower approval ratings. To fix or increase a damaged credit score can take up to 6 months of consistent, on-time, credit payments.
5. Not finding problems with the home before buying it.
You should always have a professional inspector look at the home before buying it, otherwise you could be looking at huge repair costs later on.
6 Warning Signs That Could Mean Expensive Repairs:
Leaks are the most common problem with roofs, and are tough to detect from outside. However, from inside an attic, you can often see water marks where there may be a problem/leak.
2. Plumbing System
Make sure you are confident that both water systems: the one that brings fresh water in and the one that takes sewage out, are functioning well before signing on the dotted line.
3. Electrical Systems
Before you agree to buy you should make sure that you can run all of the appliances and use some of the plug outlets without having a power failure. You also want to make sure that the electrical system is safe and does not present a fire hazard.
4. Heating and Cooling Systems
Be sure to thoroughly inspect the heating and air conditioning systems in any home you are considering purchasing for age, energy usage and maintenance records.
5. Bad Paint and Signs of Rotting
The paint inside and outside the house can reveal a lot about the condition of the underlying material. Check several places on several walls, using your eyes and a screwdriver for poking.
6. Cracks and other important signs
Cracks in walls, doors not closing properly and uneven floors can all be signs that there is a problem with the foundation. If the foundation is not strong, the entire house could literally collapse, so you should carefully check for these signs. A bad foundation may not mean imminent disaster, but it could be used to bargain for a lower sale price, or you could ask to have the owner repair it before the sale.
Please refer to our "Preferred Partners" page for more information on trusted trades people and financial advisors that will be able to assist with any and all questions before beginning the home buying process.
We have carefully selected this list from our previous business relations. We can confidently recommend them to you for quality service.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us and we will help wherever possible.