9 Best Tips for Orlando Home Buyers
Check Your Credit
Many people don’t even think about checking their credit records until they’re turned down for a loan. The time to check your credit record is before you even begin searching for a house. Not only should you look at your credit score, but you should examine your credit history, to make sure that those records are accurate. Make sure that any accounts you’ve closed are indeed listed as closed, and that there are no negative credit reports or loan balances that are inaccurate. If you find any errors in your credit record, contact those companies to correct the mistakes.
Determine What You Can Afford
Before you set your sights on your dream home, you need to figure out what you can reasonably afford to pay for a house. The generally accepted rule is that your house expenses should not exceed 30% of your monthly income. By house expenses, we mean the mortgage payment, any mortgage insurance on the loan, and property taxes associated with the house. With that said, if you have other debt, such as a car loan or credit cards, your acceptable amount for a monthly mortgage payment may be lower. There are a variety of loan calculators online that will help you figure out your house budget.
Stay Under Your Preapproval Limit
As with the previous tip about how much house you can afford, although a bank may approve you for a large loan amount, it’s always a good idea to stay under that limit. Buying a house at the very top of your budget may be feasible initially, but doesn’t account for things like major home repairs or a change in your household income. Be smart and look at houses that are under your maximum budget, but still meet your needs.
Decide on the Type of Property
Before you start looking at houses, decide what kind of property you want. There are detached family homes, townhomes and condos, and duplexes, and maybe you’re willing to look at all of those, but maybe you’re only willing to look at one kind. For example, if you insist on having a yard, you’ll probably only want to look at detached family homes and possibly duplexes. It’s really a waste of time on both your part and the real estate agent’s part to look at properties you have no intention of buying.
Location is Everything
There’s a saying that you can change just about anything about your house except for the location, and it’s true. Many people have preferred neighborhoods where they’d like to live, and it’s important to communicate that to your agent. You might be looking for homes near a train station if you’re in a large city, or if you have children, you might be looking for homes in a particular school district. Map out the areas where you’d like to live, and then look for homes within those areas.
Make a List of Non-Negotiables
Everyone has certain things that they want in houses and certain things they don’t want. Make a list of those must-haves and must-nots. It shouldn’t be an incredibly long list, as some things are more easily changed in houses than others, but if you want 2 bathrooms, you’re probably not going to be happy with a house that only has 1 bathroom. If you absolutely must have a garage, you probably don’t want to look at a house that only offers street parking.
Consider Future Needs
Don’t just buy a house on your current needs and wants, but think about the future and how long you plan to live in the house. If you only have one child at the present time but plan to have a couple more children, then you’ll want to look at houses with 3-4 bedrooms instead of just 2 bedrooms. On the other hand, if you’ll be empty nesting soon, you may not need the larger house that can accommodate your entire family.
Compromise and Negotiate
Now is not the time to be completely inflexible. Keep in mind that many things with a house can easily be changed, such as the color of the paint of interior rooms and the style of carpet. If you’re house-shopping with a partner or spouse, you probably won’t find a house that you both absolutely love, with nothing that should be changed, but some features of a house are more easily changed than others.
When you’re ready to make an offer on a house, be ready to negotiate with the seller. No buyer really wants to pay full asking price for a house, and no seller really wants to sell the house for less than full asking price. This is where using a buyer’s agent can help so that you can be apprised of comparable prices of houses in that area. You can always submit an offer that is lower than the asking price but, be prepared to do some negotiation with that price, and be willing to increase your offer, if necessary.
Hold Off on Other Big Decisions
This is not the time to make other big purchase decisions or life-changing decisions. Wait until you’ve purchased and have closed the deal on a house before buying a car or changing jobs. Such actions can affect your credit rating and the bank’s perception of how easily you can pay that mortgage. There will be time for those decisions after you’ve moved into your new home.
Buying a home is a big deal, and for many people, it can be a very stressful time. However, following these suggestions can definitely make the process less stressful, as you search for a home that you’ll be happy in for years to come.