Homeownership is a big part of the American dream. Many adults will not truly feel settled or accomplished only until they own their own home. If you have started looking for your first house, your mind is probably full of details about square footage, storage requirements and mortgage terms.
The excitement of searching for that ideal first home, touring new spaces and making offers on a property should not run the show during this process. Buying a home is likely one of the biggest financial investments you will ever make. You want to center protections for yourself in every stage of the process. The following three suggestions can all help you stay safer when looking to buy a home.
Don’t shy away from inspections
You want to get as much house as possible for the money that you will spend, but everyone has their own idea about how to maximize their housing budget. Some people want square footage, while others want a specific aesthetic quality.
Most everyone wants to keep their costs low so that as much of their mortgage goes to the house as possible. Some people will make the mistake of declining inspections. An inspection will help you find out ahead of time if there are major problems with the property that might make it worth less than what you plan to spend.
Title searches and insurance protect your investment
Title insurance will protect you in case there are issues with the property that could mean that you lose it to someone with a claim to ownership in the future. A thorough title search could potentially catch issues like a lien against the property that the seller didn’t inform you of.
Issues from tax encumbrances and liens held by private companies to people with a claim to partial ownership of the property could affect your ownership rights in the future.
Make a competitive offer, but protect yourself while doing so
When the real estate market is hot, properties move quickly and may have multiple offers on them. You want to make an offer that is attractive to the seller but that still protects you. Make sure when you make your highest and best offer that you factor in closing costs and other concerns.
You may also need to include contingencies in your offer that limit when you will have to follow through with the purchase. Some buyers include a contingency about selling their house, while others include requirements about the appraised value or condition of the property after the inspection.
Contingencies help ensure that if the sale falls through due to an issue that is not your fault, you will have the opportunity to receive your earnest money. Making certain to protect yourself at every step will make buying a home a less nerve-racking process.