Buying a home is a truly exciting experience, especially if it’s your first time. Becoming a homeowner doesn’t just grant you more freedom than you ever had as a renter, but it also provides you with what’s likely your greatest financial asset up to this point in your life. Your home will work for you, not just as a dwelling place, but also as a way to consolidate wealth. Of course, with greater freedom comes greater responsibility. You won’t have a landlord to call when something goes wrong anymore—being a homeowner means that you’re responsible for all maintenance and repairs.
Even if you’re already experienced with real estate, purchasing a home in the current climate may not be as easy as it usually is. The demand for housing spiked during the coronavirus pandemic last year in the United States, and the current housing market remains a seller’s market. This isn’t meant to discourage you from buying a home. Rather, it simply means that you’ll need to take advantage of all resources available to you. Here are five things you need to look into before you purchase a home.
1. Mortgage Preapprovals
Unless you have a ton of cash lying around, you’re probably not looking to purchase a home outright. You’ll need to speak to lenders about what kinds of home loans you may qualify for, and you may even be able to get preapproved for a mortgage before you start house shopping seriously. This isn’t strictly necessary, but it does give you an idea of the kinds of financial assistance you qualify for, and it may give you time to touch up some things.
For example, your credit score can have a significant impact on what financial assistance you’re eligible for. Getting a free copy of your credit report can help you determine if there are any errors on it that may be holding you back.
2. Real Estate Agents
It may be tempting to try and save on commission fees by doing all your house shopping and negotiating yourself, but it would likely be a mistake. A good real estate agent can educate you on current market conditions and show you comparable homes on the market whenever you find a house that you’re interested in. This can help you determine if the home is truly worth the asking price and a real estate agent will know how to negotiate for the best price.
3. Home Inspections
It’s true that homes will undergo inspections before they’re listed, but once you’ve settled on a house you want to buy, it never hurts to hire your own professional for a thorough inspection. The last thing you want is to move into your new home only to find that there are a lot of hidden problems that you’ll have to take care of.
4. Proper Submetering
You might not have a landlord for your own home, but it’s possible that you’re moving into a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association or property manager that will charge your utility bills. It’s a good idea to make sure your submeter system is accurate to avoid high utility costs. Whether you need a radio frequency system or a manual read system for your home, FlowRite metering can help you improve the energy efficiency of your home by figuring out what appliances are using the most energy, so you can start saving money.
5. Exterior Coatings
The curb appeal of your home is important for both its value and your own enjoyment of the home, and it’s possible that the previous owner didn’t keep the exterior paint job up as well as they could have. That’s why it’s important to look into Florida home exterior coating to get the durable paint job you need to resist moisture, peeling, and mold.
Of course, you can go beyond your exterior house paint as well. For example, if you notice that there are cracks in your siding, you could invest in vinyl siding for your exterior walls to ensure that they’re protected and that they help you conserve energy.