5 Things No One Tells You When Buying a Home
Buying a home can seem like an unattainable goal. But it's possible with the right knowledge. Visit to learn 5 things no one tells you about home buying.
When purchasing your first home, there's so much that you just don't know. That lack of knowledge can cost you dearly in the homebuying process. Numerous nuances and potential problems can arise during the purchase of a home, many of which first-time home buyers are completely unaware of. To avoid being caught off guard, you need all the insider information you can get, and that's where we can help! Here are five home buying tips no one tells first-time home buyers.
An approval letter vs. a pre-approval letter is a leg up on the competition
Knowing the differences between an approval letter and a pre-approval letter is paramount.
A pre-approval letter is an unofficial statement indicating that you're qualified to borrow up to a certain amount of money from a lender. The letter is drafted after a lender has reviewed your unverified financial history. It is an estimate, not a guarantee, since the lender hasn't yet formally verified the information you gave them. Still, having a pre-approval letter in hand shows sellers that you're a serious buyer.
An approval letter is even better – it means that you're not only qualified to borrow, but the lender has committed to lending you a certain amount of money. This letter is only issued after a thorough review of your financials (income, expenses, credit history, etc.). An approval letter is much more influential to sellers than a pre-approval letter because it carries more weight – the lender has put their stamp of approval on you as a buyer.
If you're shopping for a home, aim to get an approval letter from your lender. It'll give you a stronger negotiating position and may even help you avoid getting into a bidding war.
Always interview and find the best real estate agent for you
The real estate agent you choose can make or break your home buying experience. A quality real estate agent will be knowledgeable about the market, attentive to your needs, and committed to getting you the best deal possible. Other agents may just do the bare minimum, waste your time, and maybe even cost you money. We advise against choosing an agent just because they're a family friend or because they helped your best friend find a home.
When looking for an agent, interview several candidates to find the best fit. You can ask them about their experience, how they would handle a situation similar to yours, what resources they have available, and anything else that's important to you. Once you've found an agent you're comfortable with, you can start looking for homes with confidence, knowing that you have a qualified professional by your side.
Expect unexpected surprises & expenses
Surprises and expenses are unfortunately a common occurrence when buying a home. From hidden home damage to last-minute fees, all sorts of things can pop up and throw a wrench in your budget. This is why it's always good to have a buffer of extra money when buying a home, just in case.
Also, we recommend you consider a home warranty. A home warranty is a service contract that covers the repair or replacement of home systems and appliances. Many first-time home buyers don't realize that once they move into their home, they're responsible for all repairs and maintenance. A home warranty can help protect you from expensive repair bills down the road.
Consider widening your scope for your home search.
When you start your home search, you may have a specific idea of what you're looking for. But as you look at more homes, your preferences may change. It's not uncommon for buyers to find their dream home in a neighborhood they never would've considered before – so don't limit yourself too much in your search.
If you're having trouble finding a home that meets your criteria, try widening your scope. Here's how:
- Raise or lower your budget.
- Change your must-haves to nice-to-haves.
- Look in different neighborhoods.
- Consider a fixer-upper.
If you're flexible in your home search, you'll be more likely to find the perfect home for you.
Don’t skip the home inspection.
The home inspection is one of the most critical steps in the home buying process, yet many buyers skip it. A home inspection is an objective evaluation of a home's condition where a qualified inspector will look for any problems with the home, both big and small.
During the home inspection, you get to see for yourself what condition the home is really in. You may find that the home you thought was perfect has some serious problems. Or, you may be able to negotiate a lower price if the inspection reveals damage. Either way, it's always better to know what you're getting into before you buy a home. If you cannot physically be there, ask if your realtor can attend in your place.
And if the house isn't what you expected and you're no longer interested in buying it, you can always walk away. You don't have to buy a home you're not happy with just because you're under contract.
This is just a taste of what you can expect when buying a home. The process can be daunting, but as long as you go into it with your eyes open, you'll be just fine. Just remember to do your research, work with a qualified professional, and be prepared for the unexpected. With that being said, we encourage you to utilize the homebuying tips in this article along with eHome’s Homebuyer Education courses to help you navigate the home buying process.