Don’t Get Duped When Buying a Home

When purchasing a home for the first time, it can be too easy to let emotions get in the way of your better judgment. Once you’ve fallen in love with a house, it can be hard to think practically and objectively about the purchase process. Unfortunately, real estate transactions involve multiple parties with competing interests, and when you lose your head you can lose a lot of money too. If you go into the process with a level-headed knowledge of what needs to be done, you won’t get duped in the real estate jungle.

  1. Go for a mortgage pre-approval rather than merely a pre-qualification to signal that you are financially ready to purchase. This gives you much more purchase power when it comes to negotiations and it gives you a much better idea of your own financial ability and limitations.
  2. Look beyond the decor of a home to its core structure. A good real estate agent will have doused the home in a fresh coat of beige paint so that it is automatically pleasing to the eye, but it is far more important to make sure that the house is solidly built and in good shape.
  3. Hire inspectors to check the internal systems of the home. While the seller should reveal any maintenance issues or necessary repairs, sometimes the owner isn’t even aware of fundamental issues or chooses not to disclose them. Unless you are an expert yourself, have a professional inspection done to make sure you aren’t going to have to pour unanticipated funds into renovations of your new home.
  4. Get legal protection by talking to a lawyer and/or hiring a notary public. Your offer should be looked over by a lawyer to ensure that you don’t run into any issues down the road. A notary bonding agent can also grant additional protection by attesting to the legal validity of signed real estate documentation throughout the process.
  5. Get to know the neighborhood beyond just driving through. Visit at different times of day to see what it’s like, talk to your future neighbors, and look through newspaper archives to get a feel for any issues with the area that might not be immediately apparent.
  6. Talk to the owners and ask for past bills to get a better idea of the cost of living in that home. Utility bills throughout the year and tax rates for the last few years can give you surprising insights about the true price of home ownership.
  7. Don’t buy the most expensive house you can afford. Unexpected expenses will always pop up, and you don’t want to spend the first year in your new home under financial strain. Think about all the costs associated with owning the home and budget conservatively to make sure you can comfortably afford your dream home.
  8. Think about the future. Are you going to be living in this area for a long time? What are the chances you’ll have kids while living in this house? Is there a good room for a nursery? What is the local school district like? These are all questions to consider when making such a sizable investment.

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