Buying a home is one of life’s most exciting adventures! It’s such a huge milestone in adulthood, and much like buying a car, one can easily get caught up in the glitz and glamour and forget about some of the nitty-gritty.
As you know, I cover a lot of home-related content on this blog, and so far I have mainly focused on all the pretty details that come with homeownership such as decorating and entertaining, but I recently realized that a lot of people are needing access to more resources and home buying tips.
This week, my husband and I celebrated our five-year wedding anniversary and since being married we’ve rented, owned, and built. We have learned so much over the years so I thought I’d share some of that with you. Today, I’m sharing 5 Things to Keep in Mind when Buying a Home.
1. Don’t start looking until you have a loan officer!
A lot of people may not realize this but a loan officer is a pretty important cog in the wheel when it comes to home buying since many of us need to borrow money from a bank to purchase a home.
The loan officer is your guide from start to finish. They help you determine what you can afford, which type of loan is right for you, and they keep you informed throughout the whole process. We found our loan officer to be extremely helpful throughout our home buying process. He helped through the application process and was super quick to get us approved each time we were ready to start our home search. Even if you’re thinking you MIGHT start looking for a new home, I suggest going ahead and getting pre-approved.
When Ty and I first got engaged and started looking for homes, I wasted so much time on Zillow and Realtor falling in love with homes which was a complete waste of time because I had no clue how much we could afford. We also wasted our agent’s time going to look at houses because we hadn’t yet gotten pre-approved for an amount to spend.
So, if you’re starting to get the itch to buy a home, I recommend getting pre-approved now! The pre-approval letters are typically good for around 90 days. Use me (The Southern Source) as a referral and get a complimentary appraisal!
You’ll want to find a good lender that can help you secure low rates and doesn’t have a ton of excess fees looped in.
South Point Bank which is based in Birmingham has a great track record of finding its clients low loan rates. Plus, they don’t have a fee for applying for a loan which is a major plus! All the fees associated with buying a home can add up, so it’s nice to know where you can save some money!
Paul Leara, a loan officer with South Point helped me gather some great tips for buyers to keep in mind while going through the application and approval process:
- Start being aware of your credit score and stay current on your existing accounts
- Don’t open up any new lines of credit and don’t close credit accounts
- Don’t make any large purchases while in the process of buying a home, mainly while you are trying to get approved for a home equity line of credit
Prepare to have this information:
- Driver license
- Social security card
- Current bank statements
- Income and employment information
- Other existing loan account information
2. Don’t forget about closing costs
This is a big one! A real estate transaction is a somewhat complex process with many players involved and lots of moving parts. Before closing on your new home, you’ll have to get inspections and appraisals, so don’t forget to have cash set aside for these fees. For a limited time, my friends at South Point are offering my readers a complimentary appraisal. This is HUGE. Simply fill out this form and Paul will be in touch with you. He is so knowledgeable about the housing market and lending process and he has been really helpful in our journey. Let them know “The Southern Source” sent you so you can take advantage and receive a FREE appraisal during your home buying process!
3. Don’t get bogged down thinking it has to be your forever home
While you want a home that is a perfect fit for you and your family, it’s virtually impossible to check every single dream home feature off your wishlist — even when building. That being said, something else to remember when shopping for a home is to…
4. Stick to your budget with upgrades or renovations
5. Get an agent!
Just a note: You don’t just have to use a friend because you went to high school together. We did this the first time we started looking for houses and it just wasn’t a good fit. The second time we started seriously looking we used our landlord that we were renting our condo from. She was super cool and ended up going to bat for us and crushing an all-cash offer that was on the table to help us get our home in Crestline park which is very competitive. It was a For Sale By Owner and we wouldn’t have gotten that house without her, so we offered to pay her realtor fee (usually the seller pays it), but we wanted the house bad enough. Here are a few things to look for in a good real estate agent:
- Relatable and real
- Has your best interest in heart and understands you
- Has excellent people skills, is well connected, and is a great negotiator
- Clear communicator
For the most recent home which we built, we used an agent on-site with Signature Homes. With new-build situations, you can bring your own realtor in on the deal but we didn’t find it necessary. They handled everything we needed them to and had everything we were looking for in an agent.
Over the past two years, I’ve really found my passion within the home space. After all, it’s where some of life’s best and most intimate moments happen. I love helping my readers furnish their spaces with accessible tips and affordable finds and also connecting them with the best resources when it comes to finding a home. I hope my home buying tips are helpful to you in your home buying journey! If you know someone who is in their home search, be sure to share this post with them and tell them about the incredible offer from South Point that includes a free appraisal!
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