If you’re looking for a new house during the summer, you’ve got to be careful. There are plenty of people out there that would love to get a piece of the action. Everybody from the mortgage lender to the home inspector is going to get paid on your way from becoming interested in buying a house to finally moving in. And guess who is going to be paying them? You will, that’s who.
Sure, you won’t be paying them out of your pocket, but everybody that gets their fingers in your pie along your home buying path is benefiting from your decision to buy a house. Sure, the realtor will pay the home inspector, but guess where she’s getting the money from? That’s right, your commission. Of course, many realtors expect you to the right a check right to the inspector himself.
Check With The Inspector
Then there’s all the closing costs, points, and all that other junk that just gets rolled into your mortgage payment. Because you don’t see the money floating out of your bank account into theirs, it doesn’t seem like such a big bite. But it’s there, and you’ve got to know about it. That’s why you’ve got to be extra careful when shopping for a house. It’s not like you can get your money back if you’re unhappy!
A good rule of thumb is to do as much legwork and research on your own as you possibly can. The minute you contact a realtor, she’s going to want you to sign forms, promise exclusivity, and pretty much hand over your bankbook. Avoid this at all costs until you’re ready to buy.
It all starts with figuring out how much you can borrow. Check with your bank. But don’t tell them you’re ready to buy. Just ask them to tell you a rough estimate of how much you can afford. Whatever you do, don’t sign anything.
Next is to choose a neighborhood. Check with the cops and the schools. The better grades the kids get, and the less crime, the better. After that, simply start checking online for houses for sale in your target neighborhood that is in your budget. Check them out yourselves. Find out all you can write about them. Talk to the current owners if necessary.
Only when you know how much you can afford, and where you’d like to live, should you contact a realtor? Tell them which house you want to look at. They’ll try to show you a bunch of other ones, but don’t bite. Only look at the ones you’ve chosen, and no others. Stick to your guns, and you’ll be fine.