10 Home Buying Tips You Probably Didn’t Know

Buying a home can get complicated. Even for buyers that have a great professional agent monitoring their transaction, staying informed about the process can help you keep a level head when the unexpected occurs. Here are 10 Home Buying Tips You Probably Didn’t Know that can help you keep things under control…

Don’t Forget the Closing Check
Unless you’ve made some other arrangements… don’t forget to bring a cashier’s check to closing. If things change a little and the check isn’t exactly the right amount… don’t sweat it. Most closing and title companies will either write you a check back or take your personal check for the difference as long as it is under $500.00. Good to know, right?

Be at the Home Inspection
I might get some flak from Realtors that don’t really want their clients at the home inspection but I don’t care. It’s going to be your house… what better way to get to know it than to go over it piece by piece with an inspector? Plus, when the inspection report comes out and something sounds like a big deal, you can go, “Oh, he showed me that, that’s easily fixed.”

Research the Builder

This is one your agent can do for you but you might want to ask as it’s not always common practice, especially in existing homes. Here’s what you want to look for:

Craftsmanship – does the builder and their subcontractors build a quality product?
Warranty/Service – What kind of warrant do they offer if it’s a new home?
Reputation – more than anything, do they have a good rep. with people that own their homes?

Go by the House in the Rain
This is another one that was suggested by Tom Yazwinski – one of our great local KNWA morning news anchors. Thanks Tom. This is a must, even if you don’t think the home has drainage issues, the only way to be really sure is to stop by when the skys open up. Look for standing water as well as runoff. If you catch it early enough, you can stipulate something about fixing the water problems in any offers you make.

Shop Around for the Best Rate

Now I’m going to get the mortgage guys on my tail. There are two things to remember:

Not all lending institutions have the same rates… in fact, they can vary widely, with their prime rate diverging by as much as a full percentage point. That’s about $35,000 in additional interest over the life of a typical 30 year, $150,000 mortgage.

Lenders with the best rates are not always the best way to go. Maybe you’re loan isn’t straight forward. Maybe your self-employed. Maybe you don’t have a good credit score. All of these factors affect rates, and all of them affect rates differently… so shop around.

Look at the Neighborhood
This one seems like a no-brainer right? Let me tell ya, it’s easy to be so enchanted by “the house” when you finally see it that you kind of miss what everything around it is like. Want to know what your neighbors are like? Look at their cars. How does the lawn look? Are kids playing on the street? Are senior citizens out walking around (I live in Bella Vista)?

Just be observant to know if this is the kind of neighborhood for you.

Make Your Best Offer First
For some reason, especially in a buyer’s market, home buyers like to low-ball offers. When you do that one of three things happens:

  • You get the offer accepted
  • You get the offer countered
  • You get the offer rejected

But there’s really a fourth possibility… you get out-bid and lose the house you are in love with.

Have your Realtor ask about the home’s interest level, the possibility of multiple offers, and how they are handled. It will help you decide what to offer.

Get Automated Updates
In today’s emerging real estate technology environment you can do all kinds of things to make your life easier like reading a good real estate blog. One of the many is that you can get automated updates of homes in your price range and area of focus. Any new homes or price drops get sent directly to your email, allowing you to search once and then wait for the properties to come to you.

Steel Yourself for Foreclosures and Short Sales
I’m not saying that dealing with distressed properties is always hard. I am saying that you need to prepare yourself mentally for delays and frustrations beyond what normally comes with purchasing a home. Using a good Agent with plenty of niche experience will ease your pain.

Stay Flexible
News Flash! Whether you are building a custom home, buying a new spec home, or purchasing an existing property there’s always going to be at least one or two things you wish the house had or wish you had done differently. My advice: Know that going into it and you’ll be a much more satisfied home owner. There’s always remodeling.

There are lots of other tips for home buyers around but some of the best are in our resources for buyers category of our blog. What other tips do you have for home buyers, first timers or otherwise? Thanks for reading!