I decided to write this article for Buyers as I think it will be very helpful as these are answers to very common questions I get when someone wants to buy a house.
Over the years as a Realtor, I never really established a routine of explaining the 5 W’s and 1 H of Buying a Home, as I like to call them, when i first make initial contact with a someone wanting to buy a house. So, I figured why not put together an article for reference. Truth is without this info someone looking to buy a for the first time or hasn’t bought one in awhile might be lost.
Why Buy a House ?
If someone were to ask me “Why should I buy a House? ” My immediate first response would be “owning a house is like having a savings account. ” When your renting a house your investing into someone else’s savings account. Part of your mortgage payment is the Principal. This is basically the amount of profit ( hypothetical profit ) that you have available as cash. Lets say you pay off your 100k mortgage. Assuming your home is worth 100k at the time you pay off your mortgage then you could sell the home for 100k ( or refinance ) and receive it as cash. There are a few other reasons to purchase a home like: It’s part of the American Dream. Tired of a Landlords rules. Stability. Really the list could go on.
Who should you contact to Buy a House ?
The very first person you should contact when wanting to Buy a House is a Loan Officer. You would think a Realtor, although I probably could argue that would be a better choice ,but no sense in looking for a House and falling in love with one only to find out that you can’t afford it. More often than not I am contacted by a Buyer who would like to go see a house and when I ask ” Who are you Pre-approved with? ” the answer is usually no-one . I usually stop them there and Guide them to call a bank ( usually the one they are already banking with ) and ask to get Pre-approved for a mortgage. There are 3 really good reasons for this.
- You know your price range
- Sellers of houses want to know their buyers are capable of purchasing
- Emotionally it’s official that your on your way to owning a home.
What Kind of House to Buy
Honestly there’s so much I could probably say here, but I must keep this short and summed up. My answer is a returning question ” what is your lifestyle like? ” Let’s consider your ‘inside’ lifestyle. Compare your current lifestyle and imagine if you could make it better, how would you?
We can consider rooms like:
The kitchen– Do you like to cook ? Do you enjoy spending time in the kitchen cooking? Does the whole family like spending time in the kitchen ? Then ideally a larger kitchen would be on the list
The living room– Is it just you or do you have a family that likes to just hang out? Do you like to entertain friends and family ?
The dining room– Honestly I haven’t eaten in a dining room in probably 20 years. Yet I know that if your accustomed to entertaining family and friends then having somewhere to comfortably eat would make a formal dining room a must.
The basement- If you were renting an apartment or even a house you may not be accustomed to having a basement. Ridiculous amount of reasons to have a basement. Here are just a few:
- Safety during extreme weather. I live in the midwest so we have some severe storms.
- You always wanted an exercise room
- You entertain family and friends
- Extra storage
And ofcourse, ahem, the bedroom- So the bedroom is where most of the magic happens, right. Keeping this clean I’ll mention this is where we end our day, all of our nights, and where we begin our day. We tend to accumulate things in our house and a lot can go into bedrooms. i.e Large beds, dressers, her own closet ( lol ), so I do think some people just open the door and fall asleep and yet others want space in the room.
Where to find your House
Where do you begin looking for a house ? Well the 2nd call you should have made after the Lender was a Realtor. We have the experience to know where to find a house. We check the MLS, we network with other Realtors. We put up ads that we have a buyer looking for a house ( side note, sadly most Realtors don’t go this far ). Here is where I would like to mention what is your ‘outside’ lifestyle like ?
In city limits ? Prefer a subdivision? Near activities, shopping, walking distance to parks.
Outside city limits? Live on some acreage? Always wanted a mini farm for larger animals like horses.
When you'll know you found the right House
I’m going to begin by saying there is no such thing as a perfect house. Unless you want to spend the time drawing a blueprint and purchasing a New construction Home. For most people a Resale home is just fine.I have always suggested making a ‘ Need/Want/Don’t want ‘ sort of list.
The perfect house should primarily fit your needs such as number of Bedrooms and Baths. Location. Price.
It should also serve SOME of your wants. You may have to narrow that list down as you may be able to have that large kitchen but end up with a smaller living room, or vice versa.
In my opinion, the ‘ Definitely not ‘ part of that list is the most important. You definitely don’t want a subdivision, or not near a freeway or nuclear plant. Definitely don’t want a 50 years or older home.
Honestly the majority of the Need/Want/Definitely not list is made while you are out previewing houses. You can only see so much online through pictures. Just get out a piece of paper make 3 columns and keep it with you as you preview homes.
How to Buy the House
Ok so this part can get really complex in many many ways. Just know that your Realtor will guide you through this whole process as explaining it here will just make your mind numb. The summed up version of How to buy the House is as follows:
- You’ve found the house you would like to buy. It’s time to write up a contract to purchase the house and your Realtor will present it to the Listing agent or in some cases the Homeowner themselves. Negotiations on price and terms will begin until both sides have fully agreed.
- Get a Home inspection done. Most banks will send out an appraiser to make sure the house is worth the price. Some cities will require you to get a home occupancy inspection which will reveal anything that may need to be fixed to be compliant with housing standards. However a Home inspection will reveal much much more. From loose cabinet knobs to improper attic insulation. They usually only cost a few hundreds of dollars but can potentially save you thousands of dollars. I’m not kidding, GET A HOME INSPECTION ! This often creates a 2nd negotiation between the Buyer and Seller. You wouldn’t want to buy a home only to find out there’s a leak under the concrete basement floor that has cracks 2 inches thick going up and down the basement walls. You would want to ask the seller repair that or lower the price so you could get it repaired
- There will be plenty of paperwork for you to provide to your Lender and Title company and between you and the seller. Your Realtor will keep this all straight for you and make sure everyone has what they need to close on the House.
Closing day is here, and right about now emotions are running high. Your happy, nervous and everything in between. It’s one heck of an adventure. The closing will take place at either a Bank or Mostly at a Title company. This is where you get hand cramping from putting your signature on tons of paperwork and officially the Deed to your new Home. For Sellers their closing can be relatively quick 15 to 30 minutes. For you as a Buyer, I usually recommend you set aside about an hour.
There is so much more that goes into Buying a Home that i could easily write for days straight but the idea here was to just dive into the shallow end of the beginning stages of purchasing a House
If your needing a knowledgeable Realtor to guide you through the process contact me below and let’s get this adventure started