Tips for Buying a New Home
by Matt McWilliams
Buying a new home can be a daunting task, even for someone
who has owned several homes. If you recently purchased
your first home, you probably found that is hard to find
good advice that is truly useful. You had to learn a lot
on our own, but at least now you probably feel comfortable
and knowledgeable about the whole process.
My wife and I recently purchased a new home in Tennessee.
Here are some helpful hints we picked up along the way:
1. Use all of the online resources available. Almost
every state and local government has a website where you
can research real estate information. The data on home
sales, taxes, and neighborhoods is invaluable when you
are shopping for a home. We were able to find out the
most recent sale prices in the neighborhood we selected,
and we didn't have to rely on a real estate agent to get
the data for us. Doing the research yourself will make
you more knowledgeable about the market, which is key
to making a good purchase.
2. Be realistic about how much you can spend. Try
to buy a home in a price range that allows you to put
down 20%. If you put down less than this, you will have
to pay PMI (private mortgage insurance) to protect the
lender in case you default on the loan. I know that 20%
is a lot, but it's not unrealistic. You may not be able
to do it on your first home, but hopefully you can on
your second home. The profits from the sale of my condo
enabled my husband and me to have more than enough for
the 20% down payment on our home. But we didn't put it
all down on the home - we saved some of the profits for
the unexpected expenses that come with buying a home.
We suggest that you do the same.
3. Shop for a home in the winter, preferably around
the holidays. Since most people just aren't interested
in buying a home when they are trying to deal with the
holidays, you can pretty much be one of the few buyers
out there. We bought our home right before Christmas,
and it was definitely a buyers market. We had our pick
of homes and were able to underbid on the asking price,
even though we live in one of the hottest real estate
markets in the country.
4. Use a smaller mortgage company that can offer personal
service. People tend to go with large, well-known
mortgage companies, since that's all they know. But the
smaller, regional companies provide excellent customer
service, and can often give you better rates than the
big companies. Since they don't advertise and instead
rely on word-of-mouth, they have to be good in order to
get your service. We started off with a big-name company,
but in the end, we went with a regional company because
they had better rates and better customer service.
5. Always have a home inspection. I think most
people know this fact already, but it is really important
in areas with a hot real estate market. It can be easy
to get caught up in bidding wars, and to want to get a
house at all costs. Some friends of ours wanted a house
so badly that not only did they overbid, but they also
waived the home inspection. They got the house - and right
along with it they got several thousand dollars worth
of damage that would have been found in an inspection.
As a final note, try to remember that buying a home doesn't
have to be scary. It's very exciting to own your own home,
so think of all the good things that will come once you
have made it through the home-buying process. If you follow
the advice above, then you should be well-equipped to
make it through unscathed.
6. Save money and shop for your home insurance the
easy way! Yeah, I know this is a shameless plug for
our web site, but seriously, whatever web site you do
use, get online and shop around for your home insurance.
You can get multiple home insurance quotes from HometownQuotes.Com
or any of a dozen or so reputable companies online. Go
to a search engine, like Yahoo! and type in 'home insurance
quotes.' This is the best way because if you get 5-10
good quotes you can decide for yourself who is the best.
About the Author
Matt McWilliams is one of the co-founders of HometownQuotes.Com,
an online insurance quotes web site. He is originally
from Pinebluff, NC and graduated from Middle Tennessee
State University in 2002. He is considered an expert in
the field of online insurance shopping and finding new
ways to help consumers save money on their insurance.
For more information visit http://www.hometownquotes.com.