home buying do's & don'ts

This is your ultimate guide to home buying do’s & don’ts so you can avoid making silly mistakes that cost you thousands.

When buying a home, there are some important do’s and don’ts that you should keep in mind, some obvious and some not so much. Either way, you’re dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars so let’s break down the major points.

Home Buying Don’ts

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Make sure to research the area, the neighborhood, the market, and any potential issues that may arise with the property. 

This includes proximity to work, the gym, grocery stores, church, school, etc. This all impacts your quality of life. After all, it’s not just about a house.

Your Realtor will have access to a lot of community resources so utilize them for this important step in your home buying process.

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A home inspection can reveal any potential issues that you may not be able to identify on your own.  It’s true that most sellers may prefer you not do a home inspection and yes, it’s possible that electing to have one may lose you a house if you’re in multiple offers.

Quite honestly, you are about the purchase a product for hundreds of thousands of dollars… not spending $500 do make sure it’s in good condition could be a huge regret down the road. If a seller has the stance that they’d prefer not to do a home inspection, you’ve got to wonder why they’re so apprehensive in the first place.

A home inspection is beneficial to everyone involved, sellers and buyers alike. If an issue arises after the sale of the home, the buyers can always choose to bring the seller to court for damages, unless of course, it was already identified and remedied during the home inspection process. Do you see now how a home inspection benefits everyone involved?

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Down payment gets a lot of air time when it comes to discussions on home buying. The truth is, there are quite a few more costs involved that you may or may not have even heard of. This includes closing costs, mortgage fees, appraisal fees, insurance costs, and property taxes. 

You can add to that list moving costs, title fees, re-keying your doors, storage costs, using up PTO, etc. Really drill down in detail what your scenario will require in funds before diving in.

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When it comes to home ownership, one things for sure… you will spend money on unexpected repairs, general maintenance issues, furniture & decor costs, and the list goes on. Take some time to really consider on a conservative level what you can afford if something goes wrong and what your long term plans are for the property.

I hope this list of home buying do’s & don’ts is helpful… here are your home buying Do’s!

How Buying Do’s

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Take time to learn about the different types of mortgages and lenders available to you so you can make the best decision for your financial situation.  Your Realtor will help you with finding and vetting the perfect lender for your needs. It’s your job to decide in the end however.

One lender may have a lower rate, but another has a buy down product that could ultimately save you more money in the end. Take your time asking millions of questions and comparing them against each other.

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Creating a budget is the prerequisite to the home buying process in my opinion. This is not financial advice, but before you even decide to buy a home it may be helpful for you to outline your current living expense, how much money is coming in and out.

How much are you paying now for rent/mortgage and how does that differ from how you’d like to allocate your funds with this new home? Is it more? Where will those extra funds come from?

Once you’ve gotten clear on your current budget, test drive the new one. Make sure you can afford your “new” home by living like you have it and are paying for it already. Test that budget out for a few months, see how it feels.

In the end, this is your lifestyle we’re talking about; it’s more than just a house.

If you test out the new budget and still enjoy your lifestyle you know you wan’t be “married to your house” which if you’re not familiar with the phrase refers to people who overextend themselves on a house and then can’t afford to furnish it or have a life outside of it.

If it works great, move ahead! If it doesn’t, you’ve got the information you need to adjust your home price criteria.

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Yes you will need a pre-approval letter to write an offer, and in most cases to view a home with a licensed Realtor but it’s not just about the pre-approval letter.

It’s about having had the opportunity and time to appropriately vet and choose the right lending institution, mortgage officer, and product that puts you in the best financial position for a very large transaction.

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In a sellers market I see this home buying do get put to the back burner.

I’m going to put this bluntly, you’re about to purchase a product for hundreds of thousands of dollars, why would you pass up the opportunity to dodge a life altering bullet for $500 or less?

A home inspection helps us determine the safety and condition of the property beyond what the naked eye can see. This small $500 investment could save you future stress, hardship, and financial ruin, not to be dramatic.

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Did you know that a real estate agent is NOT a Realtor? Do you know the difference?

A real estate agent is licensed to sell commercial and residential real estate.

A Realtor is also licensed to sell commercial and residential real estate but is a member of the NAR (National Association of Realtors) and has agreed to abide by a code of ethics.

This includes duties to clients and customers, the public, and to other Realtors.

Duties to Clients Customers
Duties to the Public
Duties to REALTORS®

A great question to an agent who isn’t a Realtor would be, why have they chosen not to commit to a higher ethic standard in their business.

I hope this information was helpful – it’s always my intention to educate and empower you to make the best real estate decisions for you.

If you’re ready to start your home search, reach out! I can set up your home search in minutes. 

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You can find more helpful information on my YouTube Channel At Home in Saint Paul.