Preparing to Buy a Home? Here’s What Your Realtor May Not Tell You

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by Sean Finucane on October 22, 2018 · 1 comment

According to the National Association of Realtors, 52% of home buyers cited finding the right property as the most difficult part of buying a home. But don’t be mistaken, the process doesn’t end when you’ve found the picture perfect property — in fact, that’s where it’s just beginning. Buying a home requires due diligence and financial responsibility. Here’s what you may not know about the real estate purchasing process:

It’s helpful to hire a contractor, even if you aren’t planning immediate renovations.

Even though the vast majority of homes are built with structural integrity in mind. You never know when something may be out of place or cause for unsafe conditions. About 93% of American homeowners have at least basic homeowners insurance.  Experts say it’s still a good idea to hire a contractor to provide some professional insight about what might need to be repaired.

After the home inspector looks to see what needs to be repaired, you’ll want to bring in a home building/maintenance contractor. This person will provide you witha realistic estimate of what it will cost to fix those repairs. The seller’s agent typically offers credits for repairs.  Hold off on accepting them though — they usually don’t cover the actual cost. Having a quote from a contractor will help you negotiate the cost of the house or repair credits,” writes Hillary Hoffower on Business Insider.

It’s worth it to take the time to find the lowest mortgage rate possible.

Bankruptcies in the U.S. increased to 25,227 companies in the second quarter of 2016, from 24,797 companies in the first quarter of 2016. That being said, personal bankruptcies are still relatively common as well. You can save thousands over the years by taking some extra time to dig deep and find the lowest mortgage rate you possibly can. This may seem like an obvious piece of advice. Yet far too many buyers simply take the first offer they get. The truth is, even a half of a percentage point can make a big difference in monthly payments.

Consider renovations that save you money on utility costs.

Even if you don’t want to renovate as soon as you move in, you may want to after getting an unexpected utility bill. You can also be proactive by taking energy-saving measures right off the bat. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, ICF (insulated concrete form) walls can save homeowners 20% to 25% on annual heating and cooling costs. You can also upgrade your home’s HVAC system. You could also install a programmable thermostat to preemptively cut back on energy usage.

Your school district matters, even if you don’t have children.

It’s true — even if you don’t have kids and aren’t planning on it anytime soon, the school district matters when it comes to selecting your future home. When it comes time to eventually resell your home, you may learn the hard way that school districts can play a major role in home values and trends.

“Even if you don’t have kids, buying a home in a top-notch school district will bode well in the long run come resell time. When you’re ready to move on to your next home, chances are your first house will have gone up in property value and will go off the market faster thanks to new homebuyers looking for a great school for their children,” writes Hoffower.

Again, buying a home is by no means a simple or overnight process. It helps to learn all you possibly can about real estate transactions and be prepared to ask your realtor for professional advice.

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