By Jim McKinley
Buying a home is a huge investment, so it’s important to do some planning to set yourself up for success. Here are some terrific tips to make the process go smoothly.
Save for a down payment. Before you even start looking for a new home, one of the best things you can do is save up for a down payment. While the typical down payment is 20 percent, many lenders will allow you to make a smaller down payment. However, as some experts point out, paying less up front can mean increases in other costs, and you may be required to purchase private mortgage insurance.
Budget and plan. You’ll need to decide how much home you can afford to buy. You’ll want to tally your income, existing expenses, and debt payments and then gauge the expenses associated with the property you’re considering, such as utilities, property taxes, and internet service. You can use a mortgage calculator to figure your mortgage payment. You should also check your credit and clean up any errors that could inhibit your ability to borrow for a house purchase. Once your credit is in good shape and you have a sensible feel for your budget, you should approach a lender for pre-approval on your purchase. As HGTV explains, when a lender pre-approves your home purchase, it means the institution reviews all of your financial information. It also means you’ll have some guidelines on what you can spend house shopping, and you won’t waste time looking at properties outside what you can realistically afford.
Pros and cons. You may be dreaming of a perfect property on the water, but when you weigh your priorities with your price range, an inland home could be a better choice for you. As HouseLogic explains, it’s important to not get caught up in an idea or fall in love with a special feature, thus missing out on a property that will be satisfying long term. For instance, do you prefer a quiet commute, or does a busier location make you feel alive? Do you need a house with closet storage more than a farmhouse sink? Make a list of what you require so you don’t get sidetracked. You can always add a sink later! Then make an offer on an appropriate home based on what the property is worth, whether it meets your needs, and what you can afford. It’s important that you don’t bid too low because that can offend sellers. Your real estate agent can help you with this part of the process and with the negotiations.
Moving on. When you find that perfect property that meets your budget and needs, it’ll be time to prep for the move. Remember that packing always takes longer than expected, so start early in the process. Pack in a manner that is organized, labeling boxes as you go. One suggestion is to label boxes on at least two sides to help streamline unloading and unpacking. Make sure you mark the outside of boxes if the contents are fragile.
Cleaning up. Whether you’re moving from a rental or a home you owned, you’ll need to clean. Your old home should essentially be spotless. If in the chaos of moving cleaning is too much for you, consider hiring a maid service to free up time and reduce stress. According to HomeAdvisor, the average price to hire a maid service for cleaning a home’s interior is between $94 and $185.
Smooth transition. Buying a new home is challenging, but with some good strategies in place, you’ll enjoy success. Prepare financially and plan for the right property to meet your needs. Pack carefully and clean your old home when you move out. You’ll be in your new place before you know it!