Buying a home is the biggest purchase you will make, but it’s more than just a purchase, it’s an investment. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or you’re on your fifth home, it’s essential that you’re armed with the proper information. When you partner with a leading real estate agent in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, you can be sure that you’re headed in the right direction to buying the house of your dreams.
Tip #1: Research is Key
Finding the right home for you involves research – and it’s not just about the house itself. You need to educate yourself on different houses, neighborhoods, school systems, and any other factor that is important to you. Research can be time-consuming, which is why enlisting the help of an experienced real estate agent can help you relax and enjoy the homebuying process.
Tip #2: Create a Plan
Without a plan, you are likely to experience information overload. When you begin house-hunting with a well-devised plan, you’ll be able to focus on what is important to you. Establishing your own set of “house criteria” will save you time looking at houses that don’t fit into your vision. Sit down and create a list of features that you need in your next home, as well as features that would be nice to have. Some examples include new appliances, a fireplace, a fenced-in-yard, etc.).
Tip #3: Get Pre-Qualified
Getting pre-qualified for a home will help you determine how much you can afford to spend when buying a home in PA or NJ. The general rule-of-thumb is the 28% formula that is used by lenders. What it means is your monthly mortgage cannot exceed 28% of your monthly income. It also shows the seller that you are serious about your search and positions you as a genuine prospect.
Tip #4: Find the Right Real Estate Agent
When you work with a realtor that you’re comfortable with, it will make the homebuying process so much easier. Real estate agents help you with a number of things like finding the right home in the right neighborhood, negotiating price, and navigating home inspections. Not to mention, realtors will be available to answer any questions you have along the way.
Tip #5: Keep Value in Mind
In the 1970s, homebuyers benefited from what seemed like ever-appreciating home prices. Now there are a multitude of factors that can dramatically affect the value of your home. If you are the fixer-upper type, you might be able to buy a house for a more affordable price and then fix it up to your standards. The work you put into your new home will increase the value of your home over time and also help you create the home you’ve always wanted.
Tip #6: Choose a Type of Mortgage
A fixed-rate mortgage has an interest rate that remains the same amount for the entirety of the loan.
An adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM, has an interest rate that varies throughout the life of the loan. Typically, the initial interest rate will be slightly lower than a fixed-rate mortgage, which can make it more appealing. The rate will be fixed for a specific period of time and then will reset periodically based on interest rates.
Since interest rates can be unpredictable, many seasoned and first-time homebuyers will choose a fixed-rate mortgage. However, everyone’s situation is different so it’s best to explore all options and do the research necessary to determine which type of mortgage works best for you and your lifestyle.
Tip #7: Know What the Contract Entails
When you’re buying a house, there are lots of contracts involved. Make sure you know what you’re signing. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to sign what is put in front of you. Contracts are meant to be negotiated. So, if you need more time to consider what has been found in your inspection or want a third party to review the contract for you, you can make that part of the deal. An experienced real estate agent is the perfect resource to help you.
Tip #8: Handle Home Inspections Like a Pro
Home inspections are one of the most important aspects of the homebuying process. After an inspection, you will know whether there is any damage, areas of concern, or issues that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Tip #9: Purchase a Home Protection Plan
A home warranty, or home protection plan, protects both the buyer and the seller. It is typically a one-year contract that protects homeowners against the cost of any unexpected repairs or replacements of major systems and appliances. A home warranty does not replace the homeowner’s insurance policy but can work in conjunction with it in certain circumstances. For example, the warranty will cover mechanical breakdowns while the insurance policy will cover any repairs related to the damage.
Tip #10: Enjoy Your New Home
All of the hard work is over – now it’s time to reap the benefits and settle into your new home. As a leading real estate agent in both NJ and PA, I can help you reach this goal. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer in Mercer County or an experienced homeowner in Bucks County, I’m looking forward to helping you buy the perfect home. Contact me today at 609-369-1267!