Our Real Estate Blog
A home showing represents a learning opportunity for a homebuyer. If you know how to plan ahead for a home showing, you can optimize the value of this opportunity.
Ultimately, preparing for a home showing can be simple – here are three tips to help you get ready for any home showing, at any time.
1. Evaluate a Home Listing Closely
A home listing enables you to learn about a house's age and condition. It also may include pictures that highlight a home's rooms and features. Thus, if you assess a home listing closely, you'll be better equipped than ever before to determine whether a house may be right for you.
As you examine a home listing, it generally is a good idea to think about additional questions that you may have about a house. If you craft a list of questions prior to a home showing, you'll be ready to get the answers that you need to make an informed decision about a residence.
2. Make a Home Showing Checklist
A home showing allows you to examine a residence both inside and out. As such, it may be beneficial to create a home showing checklist that ensures you remember to analyze all aspects of a house.
Be sure to include assessments of an attic, basement and other house areas in your checklist. In addition, it may be helpful to consider checking out a home's proximity to parks, schools and other landmarks. Because the more information that you obtain during a home showing, the more likely it becomes that you can make the best-possible choice regarding a residence.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
If you plan to attend a home showing, hiring a real estate agent is essential. A real estate agent can help you prep for a home showing and ensure you can review all aspects of a residence in no time at all.
Prior to a home showing, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying goals. Next, this housing market professional will offer expert recommendations to guarantee that you are fully prepared to attend a home showing.
Let's not forget about the comprehensive support that a real estate agent can provide throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent will keep you up to date about new houses that become available in your area and help you set up home showings. And if you want to submit an offer on a residence, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive homebuying proposal.
For those who want to explore the housing market, attending home showings is crucial. If you're able to make the most of a home showing, you can boost your chances of enjoying a seamless homebuying experience.
Thanks to the aforementioned tips, any homebuyer can get ready for a home showing. Take advantage of these tips, and you can approach a home showing with the confidence that you need to succeed.
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You found the perfect home. It has everything you want from location to bedrooms to that art studio in the back, AND the mortgage payment will be lower than or the same as your current rent. You got qualified for the loan and the agent has all the paperwork ready to go. So that’s it, right? Time to buy!
In all the excitement of finding that new home, it’s easy to ignore the warning signs of “overspending” and forget that there are more costs than just the mortgage payment. This can be a dangerous game because once those papers are signed, you are stuck with your purchase.
Additional Monthly Costs
For the best home-buying experience, calculate ALL your monthly costs and try to budget that into your life before you make any final decisions. Determine what you are willing to give up in order to get that extra bedroom or live in that perfect neighborhood. Some additional monthly charges include:
- PMI “Private Mortgage Insurance”: Pay attention to the mortgage you qualify for and make sure to calculate for PMI in your new monthly budget if it applies. PMI exists to protect your lender in case you default on your mortgage loan. It’s usually included when you have a lower credit score or a smaller down payment and can range from $75 to $300 per month or more.
- Homeowners Insurance: You’ve been paying renters insurance for a while now probably, but homeowners’ insurance is a completely different ball game. Your insurance cost will be based on the estimated cost to fix or rebuild your home after a catastrophic event, NOT its market value. That means any special features with historic value, specialty windows, etc. will increase the price. Also check out if the home is in a weather damage area, somewhere prone to tornadoes, flooding, hail, etc. It also covers everything inside your home from furnishings to clothes and electronics. The more stuff you have, the greater the cost to insure it.
- Property Tax: Unlike tenants, owners pay taxes to local governments for schools, roads, city governments, etc. These vary greatly from area to area, so be sure to find a good local property tax calculator to help estimate what those charges will be. If you’re buying a home in a new neighborhood or a gentrifying one, there may be additional taxes to cover the cost of roads, streetlights, parks, and other new area features.
- Association Fees/Dues: Nearly all condos belong to Home Owners Associations (HOAs). Depending on the neighborhood you choose, your single-family home may belong to one as well. HOAs handle neighborhood maintenance including streetlights, pool upkeep, exterior maintenance, parks, and even security. HOA dues can range from $50ish per month up into the hundreds of dollars or even more.
- Services: You know all those utilities and local services currently included in your rent? As an owner, you must pay for all of them separately. That means water, power, trash, sewage, recycling, internet, cable, and phone bills all get added on top of your monthly payments as well. Some cities such as Austin, Texas, also have local monthly fees separate from property taxes, usually to cover extra city features like parks.
The most difficult costs to calculate or plan for are maintenance costs. If your landlord currently covers bug treatments, light bulbs, paint, carpeting, landscaping and generally all other maintenance, you will need to try and estimate how much of that you’ll need to pay for in your new home. There is no one else to pitch in, so this can end up being a huge additional cost.
So, How Do I Buy a Home Safely?
First, find yourself a good agent. A well-qualified agent who is familiar with your area and property needs can help you figure most of these costs. All you must do is ask. If your agent is unable or unwilling to help you plan for these, find yourself a new agent.