I'm in the market for a house, been looking pretty seriously for the past week or so. I've got two pre-approvals for mortgages, and I think I'll probably look for at least two more for fee comparison purposes. I have yet to actually see a house unfortunately, since every house we try to view gets sold that very same day :/ Hopefully the streak is broken, since we have an appointment with another house today!
Anyway, who here has advice for (any part of the process of) buying a house? Things to look for when viewing a house, things to consider that the common person might not, tips for making offers, tips for not giving up because of the market, etc.
I'll lead with some tidbits that I've gained from asking around friends and family that have already bought places recently.
Apparently, sending a personal letter to the owners with the offer letter has gotten multiple people a house even when their offer wasn't the highest. For example, my sisters friend knew the owners had a cat, and has cats herself. So in the letter she wrote, she mentioned how happy her cats would be laying on the windows and running around in all the new space and such.... and she got it! The owners realtor was kinda pissed.
Try to find out the reason the owners are moving out. My sister and her husbands realtor asked around, and they were able to close on their house because the owner needed a quick turnaround to get out as fast as possible. They got the house for 60K under asking price because they were able to sweeten the deal to suit the owner.
Location is (generally) more important than furnishings. You can add or remove things from a house, but you can't move it once you buy it.
Once you make an offer on a house and the owner accepts, make sure the contract includes the following two parts that are (apparently) very important:
- House must appraise for at least the same value you've agreed to buy it at
- Inspection must show no more than
$buyer_defined_valuedollars of necessary repairs, otherwise the deal should be re-negotiated or considered void.
Always leave enough money in your savings account to pay for any extras (because there are always extras) after the house is yours. New furniture, carpets, smaller repairs, paint, etc. You don't want to drain your account for the house only to find out you can't do anything afterwards.
I'm very excited (and exhausted already), but I want to make sure I'm as thorough as possible since I'll be spending the next several years of my life in it!
Forgot to mention(Thanks @Thra11), this is the US East Coast.