Every morning, Beth wakes up thinking about real estate transactions. Bucks County has a plethora of homes for sale, and she dreams of someday owning one of them.
But Beth as excited as Beth feels, she’s also somewhat daunted. She’s a very careful person, every “I” dotted, every “t” crossed, taking a belt-and-suspenders approach to life. She knows that purchasing a home is a complicated endeavor and that there are some things you should know before you buy.
1. Think in the long term
For most people, buying a home is the biggest financial commitment they’ll ever make. Before you purchase, think about your long-term plans. How long will you have the job you have now? Are you married? Will you be getting married? Will you have kids?
It might take years to pay down any equity on the home, depending on the market and your mortgage, so be sure that the house you’re considering is a house you’ll want to stay in for the long term.
2. You’ll need a reliable realtor
You don’t have to have a real estate agent, but as NBC News put it in its home buying guide, “the real estate industry has pretty much locked up the supply of houses in the hands of agents.”
That means you’ll be working with a realtor, so make sure you find a reputable one. Ask around and check them out on your state’s real estate licensing board. That will also tell you whether the agent has had any suspensions or complaints.
3. You should look beyond the purchase price
The purchase price is only a small part of most real estate transactions. Bucks County, like many regions, is filled with a lot of lovely homes and more than a few fixer-uppers. Factor in the cost of, say, redoing a kitchen or replacing a roof.
And make sure you consider all the other costs that come with home ownership: insurance, homeowners association fees, maintenance costs and taxes. An inexpensive home with high property taxes might end up costing you more than a pricier home with lower taxes.
4. Mortgages and down payments
Shop around for a mortgage so you can learn how much you’ll be able to borrow, which will affect what house you can buy. Becoming pre-approved for a mortgage will also make you look better in the eyes of a seller, who will be more confident that the deal won’t fall through.
You’ll also need to come up with a down payment for your new home. This is typically between 15 and 20 percent of the purchase price. You may not have to come up with that much, as some lenders will go for a lower – or no – down payment. But these loans are often costlier and carry more risk. The lower the down payment, the higher the chances are of you being underwater on your mortgage for a longer period of time.
5. Find a lawyer
As we said earlier, some of the biggest financial transactions most people undertake are. Bucks County’s Benner & Wild can help you navigate through this process.
Whether you’re purchasing or leasing new property, having qualified legal representation is important. Our attorneys can help you with everything from understanding the purchase contract to zoning and land development issues.
From negotiating and preparing agreements of sale to helping you through closing, our firm is skilled at making sure homebuyers have a voice. Contact us today to learn more.