Top 5 Things Every Home Buyer Should Know Before Buying a New Home
Buying a new home can be confusing and overwhelming; but with the right information you can actually enjoy the experience. Understanding the home buying process will lead you to the home of your dreams and make buying a new home a pleasant experience!
1. Location, Location, Location. Don’t just focus on price-make sure that your future home is located in a good neighborhood where the value of your home will rise. Look for neighborhoods where lawns, yards, and the homes themselves are maintained; this shows that the homeowners care about their homes and neighborhood and property values will stay stable in areas like this. Another thing to keep in mind is to always buy a home in the neighborhood you want that is easily comparable to the others home located in the area. In other words never buy the largest home in the area.
2. Loans & Mortgage Rates. Find a highly recommended and locally trusted Loan Officer. Usually your Realtor can recommend someone and talk to others you know in the area for their recommendations. Pay close attention to Points, your PMI (private mortgage insurance) and closing costs; these can drive your mortgage cost way up. Make sure to read all the clauses and fine print before getting a mortgage. Ask your loan officer about penalties, interest rates, etc. Don’t be afraid to shop around and find the best loan for you and what works with your budget.
3. Get a Real Estate Agent. You may think that most real estate agents represent the seller, but that is not true; you can obtain an agent to represent your needs and desires while purchasing a new home and help you locate the home that's best for you and your family. When working with an agent you will have every part of the sale in writing, and the agent will help you make sure you understand every aspect of the sale prior to making a commitment. Legal jargon and real estate terminology can be confusing and somewhat frustrating, so that is the number one reason to have an agent who knows the terminology and can walk you through each step of the process.
4. Get a Home Inspection. In the state of Georgia it is required that a home seller discloses potential problems with the property, but the homeowner may not always know all of the existing problems. The only way to truly know what's going on inside and out of a home's structure is to get a home inspection. It will cost a few hundred dollars but if there are existing problems that were not disclosed you will be saving thousands if the home isn't up to code or has major issues.
5. Know your taxes. Ask your Realtor for the tax information on your home, not just last year’s taxes but for the past 5 years. In some areas, homes can be re-appraised thus taxed at higher rates, sometimes frequently. That great deal you thought you were getting may not seem quite so grand if the property taxes skyrocket year after year. You can look at newspaper archives or talk to your Realtor (yet another great reason to have a Realtor at your side) about the way taxes are used in the area you are moving to.
Be informed! If you obtain a Realtor and do your research you will have a wonderful experience while buying your first home, or your second, or third!
Rebecca Johnson, Realtor
Freedom Realtors of Middle GA