Use These 4 Items to Simplify Your Home-Buying Journey
Whether you're buying your first house or your fifth, the home-buying process can often be a bit of a gong show.
Even so, if you go into your house search armed with the items we've just listed here, you'll be in a strong position to make your purchase a little more stress-free.
On a scale of "I never knew stress like this existed." and "I barely even noticed that.", NBC claims that 40% of surveyed Americans said that buying a home was the most stressful event of their lives.
And if we're being honest, it's not hard to see why.
When you're not bidding on properties, negotiating, and talking to the bank, you're packing up your things, making furniture arrangements, and arguing over the new home's decor.
If any of that sounds familiar, we're about to give you a list of 4 items that could potentially make your home-buying journey a relative breeze.
Just keep reading to find out more.
Item #1: A Solid Credit Score
In a lot of circles, low credit scores are the boogeymen of personal finance.
According to this school of thought, people with low scores not only won't qualify for a mortgage, but they'll often have to live in the worst neighborhoods if they do.
While it's true that you do want your credit score to meet a certain threshold in order to qualify for buying a home, there's another big reason why your credit score matters:
It can affect your mortgage interest rate.
The higher your credit score is, the more you stand to save on interest.
Item #2: A Checklist of Must-Haves and Nice-to-Haves
Any time you're house-hunting, you have to weigh a lot of factors.
Is there a homeowners association? Are there good schools in the area? Will the basement carpeting work for you until you're able to put in hardwood flooring?
According to SmallBizGenius, the average home buyer spends 10 weeks looking for a new home.
During the first few weeks, it's easy to go with your gut when you've got that "I will settle for nothing less than the perfect house." energy. But once you get to week six or week seven, you can start to feel your standards slipping.
Suddenly that long work commute doesn't seem like such a big deal. And that awful kitchen arrangement you were laughing at before deserves a second look.
So how do you know if you've crossed the line from practical to compromise?
You sit down and you create a list of non-negotiables before you start looking at properties. That way you can ensure that even if you don't get everything you want, at least you won't end up in the wrong house altogether.
Item #3: Home Inspections
You find the house of your dreams and you decide to buy it on the spot.
You're in such a hurry to make the purchase that you decide to skip the inspection and go straight to closing.
But then, not even a year after the purchase date, you get out of bed only to find that you're ankle-deep in water due to a faulty plumbing issue.
Depending on who you ask, skipping inspections is a surprisingly common decision for eager homebuyers to make. And while sometimes this may be the difference between snagging that house or just missing out, if you're unlucky, you could end up accidentally paying full price for a fixer-upper.
When you've fallen in love with a house, you've fallen in love.
But an independent home inspection can let you know what you're getting into.
Item #4: A Fund for Your Property Taxes
There are certain expenses that every homebuyer expects to pay like closing costs, mortgage payments, and emergency repairs.
But when you're moving from apartment to house or from house to bigger house in a nicer neighborhood, there's one annual bill that never ceases to cause mild dismay the first time it arrives:
The property tax bill.
And the worst part is that if you've made a solid home investment, your property value, and your tax bill will likely go up over the years rather than down.
If you can get a general ballpark figure and put aside money every month on top of your mortgage, however, property tax becomes less of an "Oh my gosh!" moment and more of a "No worries. It's sitting in that account." type of situation.
This approach may seem a little odd at first if you're not used to paying property taxes, but when the bill comes around, you'll be glad you did it.