Whether you’re buying your first family house or upgrading to a bigger and better home, shopping for a residence is exciting. You get to review dozens of different options, some in person, and be exposed to dramatic differences in layouts, construction styles, and more.
What you may not know is that you have the ability to shop for many other details and facts throughout the home-buying process – and that your decisions may have a major impact on both your future finances and quality of life.
The Power of Choice
It may seem as if buying a home involves a single, stand-alone step. But in fact, the homebuying process entails a series of smaller decisions, potentially dozens of them, depending on how you count them.
Your choices in these matters are not arbitrary; they can have an impact in several ways. Here are several of the most important:
- Money. On the surface, in the most obvious way, some decisions will save you money. For example, you might find a home inspector who charges $200 instead of $400. But the long-term financial ramifications of the choices you make are more subtle and can have an even greater impact. For example, if you choose the wrong home inspector, and fail to identify a major foundation issue, this could cost you thousands of dollars for repairs. Even minor differences in home loans can add up over time, resulting in additional thousands over the lifetime of the loan.
- Time. Other decisions have the potential to save (or cost) you time. Securing an efficient, mutually respectful relationship with a professional can save hours compared to working with an inexperienced or unprofessional consultant.
- Stress. Don’t neglect the impact that stress can have throughout the purchasing process. Selecting options that are more consistent, reliable, and convenient can improve your quality of life and remove most of the stress of buying.
What You Can Shop For
What might you shop for when you’re looking to buy a house?
- Your agent. One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is choosing a buying agent. The agent will help you with everything, from setting your initial goals and priorities to helping you close the deal. He or she can provide advice and direction, accompany you on tours of homes for sale, and even advocate for you during the negotiation process. There’s really no reason not to have one, since the seller is typically responsible for paying the agent’s commission. Look for someone who’s experienced and knowledgeable, as well as possessed of an area of specialty that’s relevant to your needs. For example, you could choose an agent who knows your preferred neighborhood well. You’ll also want to locate an individual you get along with – who’s easy to talk to – since you’ll be engaging in lots of conversations with that person.
- A loan. Another major choice you have is your home loan. You’ll be able to choose not only the lender you work with, but the specifics of the mortgage product. You can also decide to forgo a loan altogether and pay for the house in cash, but this isn’t an especially common choice. Some lenders are communicative, supportive, and transparent – which makes them more trustworthy and easy to work with. You have other variables to consider with regard to the loan itself. Specifically, you’ll have to think about the terms of the loan (typically, 15-year versus 30-year), the interest rate, the down payment you’re going to pay, and even specifics like the titling company you’ll use for acquisition of the title. Once you have a good loan officer on your side, you’ll find it much easier to navigate this complex and intimidating process.
- Neighborhoods. Your choices do not only concern the property you’re going to buy. It’s also about the neighborhood in which your home will stand. Are you looking for a specific neighborhood based on its proximity to your workplace or certain amenities? Or are you open to a number of other possibilities? In any case, you’ll want to think about variables such as crime rate, school district quality, house quality, and access to transportation. You’ll also want to consider whether this neighborhood is primed for further growth or if it’s more likely to remain stagnant.
- Home insurance. Most mortgage lenders will require you to purchase a home insurance policy for your house. Even if you’re paying in cash, or if this requirement isn’t in play, you’d be smart to obtain a home insurance policy for your own needs. You’ll discover highly divergent prices across various insurance carriers, and many types of coverage. For instance, does your policy cover damage due to flooding? Would you even need this kind of coverage?
- A home inspector. Getting a home inspection is a typical part of the home-buying process. Though it may be waived, it’s generally advisable to follow through with a thorough inspection so as to catch potential problems and accurately evaluate the condition of the structure. To do this properly, you’ll need a trained, reliable home inspector who will study every square foot of the house.
- A real estate attorney. Depending on the nature of the transaction, you may also want to shop for a real estate attorney – or your agent may recommend one. Credentials and experience are vital here.
- Movers. Finally, you’ll have to shop around for a moving company (unless you plan on doing all of it yourself). The right moving company will provide prompt and reliable service on schedule, and be equipped with a robust insurance policy with relatively low cost to you.
You deserve to be informed, supported, and advised professionally throughout the home-buying process, no matter how much experience or knowledge you already possess. That’s one reason why Green Residential exists: to help homebuyers like you make the best decisions throughout the process. Contact us today for a free consultation or to get in touch with one of our real estate agents.