You might wonder why you would need a checklist for buying a home. Isn’t all the work done by the realtor? Won’t the information be straightforward? Unfortunately, that is rarely the case.
Buying a house is a huge step towards self-reliance and independence, and a sign of the growth and progress for your family. But, it can be a stressful process. Most people know they need a realistic budget and a realtor and that they need to inspect for mold and other hazards, but there is so much more than that. There are a million things to think about, and without some sort of organized process, you will feel overwhelmed and forget a lot of key steps.
That’s why it’s important to take the time to carefully plan out your home-buying journey. Having a checklist for buying a home is essential to ensure that you know what to look for.
This article provides you with a simple checklist for buying a home. By following this easy-to-use guide, you will be able to make sure that you have all your bases covered before you take the plunge into the realities of being a homeowner. So if you’re ready to start your home-buying journey, read on to learn how to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.
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Benefits of Home-Buying
Before we dive into our checklist for buying a home, let’s learn more about the importance of homeownership. When considering buying a home, many individuals and families feel overwhelmed by the process. The home-buying journey can be a stressful experience, but by having the proper knowledge and resources, it can be more manageable. Understanding the benefits of home-buying can help families make informed decisions when they are looking to purchase their first home.
There are several money-based reasons to own a home. Let’s go over a few of them.
- One of the biggest benefits of home-buying is the potential appreciation in value. Home values can increase over time, providing owners with financial gains when they decide to sell. Depending on the market and the location of the house, this can be a great investment opportunity.
- Similarly, there may also be tax advantages. Homeowners are often eligible for various tax deductions and credits that can provide them with financial savings. It is important to speak with a tax professional to understand the tax implications of buying a home.
- Another benefit of home-buying is the potential to build equity. As the mortgage is paid off, people can build equity in their home, which can provide them with financial security in the future.
- Buying a home can be a great way to build and maintain a good credit score. Making timely mortgage payments helps to demonstrate responsibility, which can lead to a better credit score over time.
Owning a home also creates a sense of security, stability, permanence, and safety. It is a place where memories can be made and shared. You can enjoy the freedom of customizing your space to fit your unique and wants. Having a place to call one’s own can fill homeowners with feelings of pride and accomplishment.
Now we know the benefits of homeownership, so let’s keep the discussion moving. The first step you need to take is finding a talented realtor who understands the market and knows your local area well. He or she can dig into a lot of these homeownership topics with you and provide you with more information. With the right resources and knowledge, families can make informed decisions when it comes to buying a home.
Now, on to the reason you are here: the beginner’s stress-free checklist for buying a home!
A Home-Buying Checklist for Beginners
It’s time to dive into our beginner’s checklist for buying a home. This will walk you through important steps of the process, as well as questions to ask along the way.
First, let’s consider a few things before you have a specific house in mind.
- Do you have a realtor? Does he or she have experience in your area, work for a reputable agency, require any fees, and feel comfortable negotiating on your behalf? Your realtor should get to know you well, ask plenty of questions about your home preferences and budget, and demonstrate that they have your best interest at heart.
- Do you have the money for a home? Have you been pre-approved through a bank or credit union? Have you looked into any special financing programs to help you, such as USDA loans, Teachers Next Door, or Nurses Next Door? Have you asked your loan officer about interest rates, escrow, and PMI? It’s often recommended that you have a down payment of 20%, but there are plenty of reasons why that might not be feasible. Always do some shopping around for mortgages.
- Do you know which neighborhood suits you and your family? Is your ideal neighborhood close to work and school? Are there stores, restaurants, parks and trails, and other activities nearby? Is the area generally clean? Is it safe? Are there sidewalks or public transportation, or is a car needed?
Now, let’s say you have chosen a house and are considering putting in an offer. Make sure you ask the questions. While the prep work is critical, this is the part where various issues can fall through the cracks (literally or figuratively), and it therefore makes up the bulk of our checklist for buying a home.
- What appliances come with the house? How old are they, and have they been maintained? Consider the water heater, furnace, air conditioning units, fridge, oven and stove, microwave, trash compactor, garbage disposal, and any other appliances you see.
- Where are the property lines? Who owns any fences or trees that are on those lines?
- Can you talk to the neighbors? Can they tell you about the community, or even about the history of the house specifically?
- Are there any warranties on appliances or parts of the house? Can you get copies of those warranties?
- Has any part of the house been recently remodeled? Can you get information about any contractors or companies that were used?
- Can your realtor recommend a home inspector? Never waive a home inspection.
- Does the home have (or has it ever had) lead paint, asbestos, radon, mold, infestations, termites, or other hazards? When has it been treated, if ever? Who did the treatment? Note: Ask for a radon test during your home inspection; it may cost a little more, but it’s incredibly important for your family’s health
- What are the most common pests in the area? Has the home had pest control treatments from trained exterminators?
- Are there any sex offenders in the area? The U.S. Department of Justice has a website to help answer that question.
- Where is the fuse box, water main shut off, and any other controls that might be needed?
- What is the estimated cost of utilities for the home?
- Where are the nearest hospitals, police stations, fire stations, schools, libraries, trails, stores, and other resources?
- How long has the house been on the market?
- Why is the seller selling?
- How much are surrounding houses going for?
- Have there been any past insurance claims? If so, what for?
- Where are the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? Do they work?
- Is there a home warranty? If so, include that information in the agreement.
We all know that buying the right house is a more intensive process than simply counting up the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. There is so much to it! With this checklist and the resources of a talented loan officer and real estate agent, you will find success in purchasing the perfect home for your family!
Remember to have patience and grace throughout the process. It can be extremely daunting. But you can do it! Begin with this checklist for buying a home, and you’re off to a great start!
WANT TO READ MORE?
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