07 Apr Four Tips for Todays Homebuyer
Purchasing your own home is one of life’s biggest milestones and will undoubtedly be one of your most significant investments. Now that you’ve decided to look for your dream house, ICNE suggests you become familiar with the home buying process. For that reason, we have pulled together a few tips for you to check off as you go through the process.
Be an informed buyer
We know this may seem fairly obvious, but ICNE highly recommends you know your stuff before you begin the process of searching for your home. Make sure that you understand how your finances can affect home buying, starting with your credit score. Not only is a high credit score vital in getting a low mortgage rate, but it also influences whether you can get a home loan at all.
Once it has been determined that you do qualify for a loan and you’ve settled on an affordable price range, your next task should be to create a list of what would be nice to have in your new home versus what you need to have. It is very helpful to bring this list with you as you evaluate houses. That way, you can keep your eye on what is most important to you rather than getting distracted by a property with a lot of bells and whistles but none of the basics that you really need.
For example, marble countertops in the kitchen can be very glamorous but are they really sensible when you have little ones? Maybe it’s best to look for an easy-to-clean surface for all those spills and scratches that are inevitable. Or, maybe you’ve put four bedrooms as a must-have for you and your spouse (and the in-laws), but agreed that a finished basement, while a bonus, would not be a top priority.
Knowing in advance what you can afford, as well as those items that you would compromise on, can make the home buying process go a whole lot smoother.
Gather information about the house
Consider all the things that you want and need to know before you feel comfortable committing to one person for the rest of your life, and apply that same thoroughness to the house that may become your responsibility for the next 30 years of your life or more.
A complete investigation of a home’s characteristics, including items such as total square footage and the size of each room, number of bathrooms and closets, and the age and condition of the house, decks, garages, and other structures is invaluable information to have prior to making any type of offer. Lucky for home buyers today, there is almost no information that doesn’t exist online somewhere. Look up details for any home you are considering on reputable sites such as Zillow or Realtor.com. ICNE also recommends you do this research before you schedule an appointment to see the property or attend an open house; this can save you from wasting precious time on houses that meet few to zero of your requirements. These online home buyer resources also allow you to compare the home’s price to the value of other homes within the same area so that you can evaluate if you are on the verge of paying too much or if the house is a bargain you can’t afford to pass up.
Have the house inspected by a professional inspector before you buy
Today, many people waive the home inspection so that they can get out in front of the competition in the home buying process. ICNE recommends you do not skip this step! It’s probably the most critical part of the process when it comes to protecting yourself because it can help identify potential problems and possibly save you thousands of dollars on repairs that you did not anticipate.
For example, an inspection can uncover if the roof is more than 10 years old and needs to be replaced soon, if there is a failing septic tank, if the electrical wiring is outdated and in poor condition, and any other number of hidden issues that could result in a huge expense if not found in advance. A professional home inspection will help you sleep sounder after you’ve moved into the house.
Contact your insurance agent before you buy
Many new home buyers wait until they have made their choice and signed the Purchase & Sales Agreement before contacting their insurance agent about their new home. ICNE recommends you consult with your agent before you make your final decision. There are multiple reasons why we suggest you take this step, but here are two quick examples:
- You’re buying an antique home, one filled with the original crown moldings and hardwood floors, beautiful beveled glass windows, and other extraordinary features from a bygone era. These are all one-of-a-kind items that would be difficult to replicate should your home be damaged or destroyed by fire, severe weather, or some other catastrophe. That’s why, before you buy this unique home, you should work with an insurance professional to assess the actual replacement cost value of this historical home so you know what it would take to rebuild your house as close to the original as possible.
- You’re looking at a home near a body of water, maybe it’s just a stream or perhaps it’s a lakefront or coastal property, or maybe you’re even a couple of miles away from the water. Buying a home in any of these locations may put you in a flood zone area and thus require you to have special homeowners coverage.
In addition to these scenarios, there are many other reasons why the price of your homeowners insurance could be significantly more for your dream home than you may be expecting. Working with an experienced insurance agent, you can find out what insurance coverage is required in advance of finalizing your purchase so that you understand the “real” price of your home.
Your ICNE insurance advisor will be happy to be you partner through the home buying process and share valuable wisdom with you, including what a typical homeowners policy generally provides, such as:
- Coverage for the house and outbuildings, including replacement costs
- Personal property coverage, for damage or theft, up to a certain amount
- Additional living expenses if the home is damaged by a covered loss or unlivable during repairs
- Liability protection and medical bill coverage for people that may get hurt while on your property
ICNE has built a reputation for being the helpful, local agent who will answer all your home insurance questions and find you the optimal personal coverage that fits your family’s needs and budget. Contact us today at (800) 243-8143 to speak to a knowledgeable professional and to get more home buying tips.