When buying a house, it’s important to have all your ducks in a row. This includes having enough cash saved up for a down payment, understanding the financing options available to you, and knowing what to expect from your real estate agent.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at each of these considerations so that you’re prepared when it comes time to buy!
What Should You Expect from Your Real Estate Agent?
Before you sign anything, you need to understand what your real estate agent does for you. Essentially, he or she is there to represent your interests in the transaction and negotiate with the seller on your behalf.
Your agent should provide information about comparable property sales in the area that will help you make an offer on the home that’s right for your budget. Your agent might even be able to find other homes currently available across town or online (or elsewhere) that could act as good comparative properties. If you’re considering buying a house at auction, however, be sure to hire an attorney before signing any contracts – many state laws require it!
It’s also wise to review other expenses associated with buying a house (like transfer taxes and HOA fees), as well as the home inspection and financing options with your agent before you sign on the dotted line. Your real estate agent can guide you through the house buying process, provide you with the counseling you need, and help answer any questions that arise throughout the transaction.
Should You Hire a Lawyer?
While hiring an attorney to work on your behalf when buying a house is not required in all states, it’s often advisable to do so. For example, if other terms besides price are negotiable (like loan terms), hiring an attorney helps protect your interests after negotiation.
Also, certain legal documents must be signed in the course of buying a house, and hiring an attorney can help ensure you’re protected in case any of these documents turn out to be incomplete or inaccurate.
Here’s a list of some common real estate-related transactions that might require your lawyer’s attention:
- Buying the house
- Closing the loan
- Preparing your down payment
- Property inspections
- Signing off on home repairs
- Title search and insurance policies
- Handling taxes
- Checking out utilities
How Much Cash Should You Have on Hand for Your Down Payment?
One of the most important considerations when deciding whether a home is a good investment is how much you’re able to put down. Generally, lenders prefer at least 20 percent as a down payment. Paying this much also reduces the need for a private mortgage insurance policy, which can save you hundreds of dollars per year.
But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try your luck with any less! Some mortgage loans allow as low as 3 percent down payment and even a low credit score.
In fact, many first-time buyers choose to use all their savings and borrow the rest from relatives or friends. Just make sure you know what kind of interest rates you can expect before committing yourself to taking on this extra debt.Planning ahead by comparing the mortgage rates and choosing the best one will hurt you less on the long run.
What Are the Most Important Considerations When Deciding Whether to Buy?
Besides how much cash is required for your down payment, other factors might influence you toward buying or renting, depending on your unique life circumstances.
The biggest one is deciding whether it is the right time to buy a house. If your financial situation is stable and you expect to be living in the same area for more than five years, buying a home may be an even better option than renting. It can also help build equity that you could tap into later if you choose to sell the house.
Another factor is whether you can afford to invest in repairs and renovations if necessary, as well as upkeep over the years.
Also think about your current job security. Will it be easy for you to transfer your skills elsewhere? Will you be able to continue paying your mortgage if the economy takes a turn for the worse?
Do you plan on having kids soon? A house is generally preferred by parents who are looking to build their own home with space to raise children.
Just like with any major purchase, do your research and make sure you understand all your options before committing.
As you can see, there are several important factors to consider when purchasing a house. If you have strong negotiating skills and an agent representing your interests, buying a home may be one of the best investments you make in your lifetime!