“Life hacks” have been trending everywhere the last few years, from the internet to social media. Life hacks are typically actions or wisdoms to make life easier. However, home buyer life hacks are not easy to find.
The home buying experience can be time consuming and stressful. Over time, the home buyer’s responsibilities change. In fact, the home buying experience has drastically changed in the last decade. Consider that mortgage programs and Realtor® contracts changed and continue to evolve. Which includes the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule that went into effect last fall, which changed how a transaction settles. Here are a five home buyer life hacks to make the experience straightforward and more enjoyable.
The first home buyer life hack is to learn about the home buying process. Certainly a must for first time home buyers. However, even experienced home buyers may find themselves in strange waters if they’ve not bought or sold a home in the last couple of years. Becoming acquainted with home buying process can help you anticipate and prevent most surprises that can upset the flow of the transaction.
Home buyer life hack number 2 – make a budget. Creating a budget may take the romance out of the buying process, but will help you with your home search and contract decisions down the road. Consult a professional if necessary. In making your budget, consider your income, debts and other financial obligations, as well as your life style. Make a housing budget that includes mortgage, property taxes, HOA or condo fees (if any), homeowner’s insurance, utilities and maintenance. In creating your budget, also consider future changes to income and home related cost increases.
Home buyer life hack number 3 – know what to expect from the housing market. Knowing whether the housing market is benefitting the seller or buyer can help decide on a winning home buying strategy. Understanding that a low inventory market may necessitate you and your agent to do a little more leg work to find homes for sale. Know the current housing trends for the neighborhoods you are perusing, so you can prepare for competition and multiple offer scenarios.
Home buyer life hack number 4 – hire a professional. The process isn’t rocket science, however, you can easily find yourself in over your head if you’re not experienced in buying a home in today’s market. Although some home buyers believe they can get a better deal by not using an agent to help them buy a home, it could end up costing more because of poor negotiating in price, home inspection, and other add-ons. Hiring a buyer agent can also free up time that is necessary to conduct the process. Experts know the market such that they can help you determine the best offer price. They can also package your offer in a way that facilitates the transaction.
Most home buyers will follow home buyer life hacks 1 through 4. However, they will take for granted that everything they are told is true. Which brings us to home buyer life hack number 5 – do your due diligence. As you can imagine, not everything you are told is true or depicted accurately. “Trust and verify” can help you identify and reduce hidden and obscure risks by verifying the truth. Conduct your due diligence throughout the home buying process; from the veracity of a seller’s statements about their home to vetting the professionals you hire.
Copyright © Dan Krell
Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.