Author: Ryan Ginther
Owner/Agent & Loan Officer NMLS #1147279
Contact Ryan >
20 Home Buying tips
That could save You Thousands
There are some great ways to save time and money while buying. The process can be so complex while already living a busy life. Check these tips out below to help stay on track and avoid lighting money on fire!
Many other tips can be found on our 7-Step Home Buying Process page. We highly recommend going there next!
Wise Financial Tips:
1) Shop around for mortgages. All lenders are not created equal. It is wise to check with 2-3 lenders while getting pre-approved. On top of going for the best rate and fee combo, this is a great way to test how responsive the loan officer is! I would ask around for whom your friends and family have used and what their experience was like. We can help with this as well! (pulling your credit during a 30-45 shopping period only dings your credit one time)
2) Compare rates AND fees. Make sure when you are comparing the company's rates that you also look at the total fees! A large portion of the "fees" will be consistent with establishing your escrow account, but points, processing fees, and origination fees need to be known while also looking at rates.
3) Make credit report fixes early. More than likely, you have been thinking about buying a home for a while now. DO NOT forget about your credit! I would recommend using a free service such as www.CreditKarma.com to monitor your credit and see if there are any suggestions on how to boost your scores. You could save yourself $10's of thousands over the life of your loan by making some simple adjustments ahead of time. Better scores typically mean better rates and fees.
4) Look for homebuying credits. Although rare, there are some home-buying credits out there along with the most popular, First Time Homeowner down payment assistance. Sometimes there are parts of town that are simply trying to pay people to redevelop and boost the area. Here is a good article with more information.
5) Don't drain your savings. Sounds simple, but the desire to get exactly what you want could sometimes overpower your better judgment. Always leave yourself a decent chunk of backup funds in the bank to avoid becoming "House Poor" out of the gate. It is easy to fall into credit card debt quickly, costing yourself thousands in unnecessary interest. Things will go wrong and repairs almost always come at a bad time!
6) Avoid major purchases and credit pulls. Don't be tempted by that 20% you can save by opening up a store card and just WAIT on that new car you were going to purchase. Especially if you are already under contract, you could put your loan approval in danger and even lose the house due to a credit score drop and/or debt-to-income changes.
7) Shop insurance companies. It doesn't matter that you've been with the same company since you were 16. Shopping insurance can often have the biggest effect on lowering your total mortgage payment. Have 2-3+ companies look into rates with vehicle combo discounts. Also, make sure that companies are not cutting out specific coverages to beat the next guy. Make sure to ask what their roof replacement coverage is, too, as this is the most commonly covered during homeownership. This can vary a lot from company to company.
8) Don't shop for homes before getting pre-approved. By all means, look online, but avoid going out and looking at homes before knowing the numbers. With the market growing at an average rate of 2-6% every 6 months in the Kansas City area, you could set the bar too high leading to over-spending and disappointment.
Smart Shopping Tips:
9) Focus on the payment, not the price tag. Many buyers get hung up on the price of a home vs. their total mortgage payment. This is a huge mistake as 2 similar homes could have a huge difference in taxes and HOA dues. I've seen homes priced at $300,000 carry the same payment as a $350,000 home!
10) Pay attention to taxes and HOAs. One thing is for sure, taxes and HOA dues can vary a lot. While shopping online, you will find the annual taxes and HOA dues on most sites. This, as mentioned above, can drastically affect your buying power and allow you to get more home with less waste (taxes are theft, wink wink). *Have your agent or loan officer confirm the taxes with the county assessor and HOA info from the subdivision. This would also be a good time to see what is in the HOA restrictions.
11) Don't buy a "money pit." ALWAYS factor in major items that will likely have to be replaced in the next few years and remodeling costs plus 20% wiggle room. If you had $10,000 set aside for a remodel and didn't factor in the 20-year-old HVAC system going out, your dreams will be put on hold. Trust your gut and if you feel like the laundry list of expenses grows out of control after the inspection, walk.
12) Focus on what you cannot change vs. what you can. This is backward from a lot of things in life but is extremely important in real estate. There are parts of homes that cannot be changed and will stay with the house when you sell, such as; location, school district, tiny master area, small kitchen, no yard, etc. These could remain deal-killers when you go to sell and when the market cools down and there are more sellers than buyers, you could lose a lot of money.
13) Don't be blinded by 1-2 key features. Don't forget about your goals and minimum requirements! Buying is all about sacrificing "this" to get "that," but do not let that craftsman style kitchen distract you from your primary goal in getting that 4th bedroom and 3rd car garage!
14) Slow your roll. When buying, especially for first-time homeowners, the anticipation and excitement can lead to quick and forced decisions. Sometimes the 1st home you look at is "the one," but make sure you have looked for a while and have a good grip on the market and follow all the tips provided by the NuHouz team and you will be just fine ;)
15) Do what YOU want to do. While help from the outside is important for referrals, suggestions, and stories, this is about you, not anyone else! Oftentimes parents, family, and friends get involved and have an unnecessary influence on purchasing what was supposed to be YOUR dream home. Remember, your parent's generation put carpet over hardwood!
Clever Offer Tips:
16) Have the seller cover closing costs. On top of your down payment, inspection fees, and more, you will have to shell out a decent amount of money to cover closing costs. This includes lender fees, title fees, and the establishment of your escrow account. If possible, add "Seller Paid Closing Costs" in your offer to cover all or a partial amount of your fees. This will help keep that savings account healthy and allow for more flexibility for updates and furniture!
17) Offer sellers non-financial gains. Although money is the #1 motivator for sellers, there are other reasons sellers move offers up in the stack. Items such as flexible closing dates, extra days to move out, renting it back to them until they find a home, additional earnest money deposit (goes towards your down payment), dropping sale, appraisal, inspection contingencies, and more. For "7 Powerful Tips to Get Your Offer Accepted" Go Here >
18) Get personal. Tell the sellers about yourself! Write a letter to the sellers, including a bio, compliments on their home, your vision in their home, and kindly ask them to consider your offer. Oftentimes, you are where they were several years ago and could lead to "Ah, honey look, their kids are the same age as when we moved in here". Most sellers want to know who you are and adding a personal touch can often put you at the top of the offers and greatly decrease your chances of getting "ghosted" without at least receiving a counteroffer since there is now a humanitarian aspect.
19) Take the home "As-Is." This isn't as scary as it sounds. You still have an "out" when it comes to buying a home as-is. Inspections are still performed and you have the ability to back out completely with no penalty. In good faith, it does say the seller intends to make no repairs, but it doesn't mean you couldn't essentially say "fix this or we are out".
20) Inspect the inspection. Your inspector is not a licensed roofer, HVAC specialist, nor foundation engineer. Your inspector will often recommend further inspections into specific areas of the home that are suspicious or that pose great health and safety concerns or large, expensive repairs. Take their advice, extend the inspection period if needed, and get a professional over asap to diagnose the extent of the issue. If you don't, you could be setting yourself up for thousands in repairs soon or when you go to sell later.
Bonus: Check out our article on
"8 Powerful Tips to Get Your Offer Accepted (in a competitive market)"
Go there now >
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