Whether you're a first-time home buyer or are re-entering the real estate market after a hiatus, it's important to educate yourself on the most up-to-date tips and tricks for purchasing a home. Doing so can help save you thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars on what is likely to be one of the biggest purchases of your life. Here are three of the most crucial things to know before purchasing a home.
Everything is Negotiable
Although many parts of the country are still experiencing a seller's market, with limited inventory leading buyers to quickly snap up properties as soon as they hit the market, it's still possible to negotiate for what you want—whether this means seller concessions at closing, repairs, or even purchasing some of the home's furnishings separately. You may not get everything you ask for, but there's no harm in asking.
This same principle goes for the purchase price itself. Unless you're in a bidding war for a must-have property, there's no harm in countering a price through your offer, and a few back-and-forth negotiations can help ensure that you're getting the property you want at a price you're willing to pay.
A Down Payment is Important—But Not Always Necessary
For generations, prospective home buyers didn't even need to think about purchasing until they had a 20 percent down payment in cash. But today, mortgage options are more flexible, and some homeowners may be able to take out a mortgage for 95 percent or even 100 percent of the home's value so long as several other conditions are met.
This makes it even more important to thoroughly investigate your financing options. If you're purchasing at the higher end of your budget, using a lower down payment can help you maintain cash reserves that may come in handy. On the other hand, going with the traditional 20 percent down payment can help you snag the lowest interest rates and most favorable loan terms.
You Need a Home Inspection
Even if you don't intend to ask the sellers to fix any problems revealed by a home inspection, getting this inspection before you close on your home can alert you to any potential deal-breakers like foundation damage, hidden mold or moisture, or termites. These types of potentially expensive issues may not be immediately apparent when you tour a home as a prospective buyer, but an experienced home inspector can quickly spot any sources of future trouble. You may decide that the house isn't worth the hassle; if you opt to proceed with the transaction, you'll at least have a better idea of some of the expenses that may await you.
By keeping these tips and tricks in mind, you'll be able to make the home-buying process as streamlined as possible while potentially saving yourself some significant cash.
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