Buying a new home isn’t the easiest thing to get yourself into, especially if you aren’t very familiar with real estate trends or if you’ve never purchased a new house before. So what do you need to know before you get started? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- The sale price isn’t actually what you’ll end up paying. Not only is it normal to have a period of negotiations, but you also need to factor in any additional fees, taxes, and repairs that the house needs. Sometimes a house for sale is ready for new residents right away, but this isn’t always the case.
- Look into tax credits and federal-backed loans. There are a bunch of different kinds of financial assistance programs you may be able to take advantage of, especially if you’re a first-time buyer and you already have a high credit score. If you aren’t sure where to start, asking a real estate broker for some guidance is the best way to figure out if you might qualify for any of these programs or loans.
- Turn down any major cash gifts from family. Sure, this might help you make your down-payment and even your first few mortgage payments, but the government loves these kinds of gifts because they can tax them to infinity (and beyond). Instead of accepting cash gifts directly, ask if family members would be willing to help out in other ways.
- Pay attention to foreclosures. Foreclosed homes are pretty common in most housing markets today, and many haven’t been inhabited since the Recession hit. It’s important to use caution when purchasing a home that went into foreclosure, and it’s even more important to find a real estate agent with experience in this industry.
- Remember that you aren’t just buying a new home — you’re finding a spot in a new community. If you absolutely love a house but you don’t like the neighborhood, you won’t be happy. Similarly, if you can’t afford to pay the property taxes or you end up having to make more repairs on the house than you has anticipated, you could end up in some financial trouble. Flexibility is key when it comes to buying a new home, and a good real estate agent will be able to help you find a house and a community that you love.