Buying a home is tricky business. From problems with the home itself to financial issues to crazy neighbors, a lot can go wrong during the drawn-out process. Are you in the market to buy a home?
Home Buying Advice
If so, heed the following home advice to avoid having the experience become a disaster.
A DIY Disaster
On your first tour of the home, everything looked perfect. The new tile floors shined gloriously, the painted walls were neutral and gorgeous, and the wood paneling in the living room really matched your personality. The current homeowner proudly boasted that they made many improvements, and you can really see the effort they put into it.
Unfortunately, though, just because the home looks nice, doesn’t mean the homeowner did a good job. There’s a lot more to DIY repairs than cosmetics. If they touched any of the electrical system, plumbing, HVAC system, or gas appliances, there’s a good chance they botched the installation. And because these things are hidden behind walls, you’ll never know there’s a problem until the house is officially in your name.
One way to circumvent this huge issue is by scheduling a home inspection before the sale is finalized. Home inspections go beyond the aesthetics of the place and check for problems within the walls, with the foundation, and with the roof. Basically, if there’s a costly issue lurking out of sight, the home inspection will uncover it so you have a good idea of what you’re getting into (or getting out of).
A Budget Disaster
You got one mortgage qualification from a single bank, and you calculated your ideal monthly payment. You’re ready to buy a home now, right? Wrong. Many homebuyers commit the sin of accepting the first mortgage offered without ever shopping around to other lenders. Even worse, many ignore the APR, simply assuming that the lowest rates are the best (usually, they aren’t, as they often have added fees and closing costs).
Many also forget that you need to pay more than just your mortgage. Property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and utility bills are three monthly costs that can drastically raise your budget. If you’re not careful, you might end up over your head without the ability to make payments on everything you owe.
A Neighborly Disaster
You’ve found the perfect home! It’s under budget and has all the amenities you want. There’s just one problem, and you might not realize it until the sale is finalized — the neighbors suck. There are many kinds of awful neighbors, from those who contest backyard property lines to those who blast loud music all night.
Unless you want to move again, it’s a good idea to canvas the neighborhood before you commit to any sale. Do a little staking out by visiting the street at different points in the day. If you’re bold enough, knock on the doors of the houses adjacent to yours and introduce yourself. If the people are grouchy and throw profanities at you, you might want to reconsider putting in an offer.
The home buying process is always a gamble. However, if you take the proper precautions, you drastically reduce the chances of a home buying disaster happening to you.