10 Things You Shouldn’t Do When Buying Real Estate
Your home buying process is well underway. The sellers have accepted your offer to purchase. The home is officially under contract and you’re counting down the days to closing. The lender pre-approved you, so buying the house is a sure thing, right?
Not quite. Nothing is certain until the deed transfers! There are still hurdles to get past before it’s yours, and your actions between now and closing can create headaches, slowdowns and even stop the transaction.
1. Don’t Make a Major Purchase
You’ve just found out your credit is A+. That’s great news, because a new car would look fantastic in the driveway of your new home. But hang on now, if you are depending on a mortgage to move in, you’d be better off waiting until after closing to buy that car.
An increase in your debt to income ratio reduces the amount of monthly income available for your mortgage payment. If you tack on a higher car payment, the bank might decide you can’t afford the home. Using cash to purchase the car could also create a problem, since banks consider cash reserves when approving your mortgage. If you must make a major purchase before closing, talk to your loan officer before you do it.
2. Don’t Change Jobs Unless It’s Necessary
Lenders like to see a consistent job history. They aren’t usually as nervous if you change jobs within the same field, but it’s better to stay put until the home is yours.
3. Don’t Represent Yourself
If you were a doctor, you wouldn’t perform surgery on yourself. If you were a dentist, you wouldn’t extract your own tooth and if you were an attorney, you wouldn’t represent yourself in court. Even though all of the professionals listed above could do these things for themselves, they usually don’t. So why would you want to represent yourself in a real estate transaction? Heck, even a hair stylist won’t cut their own hair.
You are best served by hiring a professional Jennings Realty Agent to represent you in your real estate transaction so that you can maintain a safe, emotionless distance from the seller, which will guarantee a smooth and drama-free transaction.
4. Don’t Self-Lawyer
In Illinois, it is usual and customary for buyers & sellers to engage the services of a competent real estate attorney to handle the closing of a real estate transaction. Using the services of an attorney for a purchase transaction is highly recommended and could prove invaluable should problems arise with your transaction.
5. Don’t Let Your Emotions Take Over
Keep a cool head during the entire home buying process, especially during and after a home inspection. Be realistic. No home is perfect, especially older homes. It’s not unusual for new owners to take care of some repairs themselves. Don’t let the seller’s refusal to do a small repair kill the deal on a home you truly love. On the other hand, don’t fall so in love with the house that you’ll buy it no matter what needs to be done unless you’re sure you can handle it emotionally and financially. Decide what type of repairs you can realistically tackle, then stick with the decision.
6. Don’t Become Best Friends with the Seller
It’s great to be friendly, but don’t get into too many long discussions with the sellers, because personality conflicts often cloud judgments.
Remember, this is their home. You’re no doubt excited about moving in, and if you didn’t like the house you wouldn’t have offered to buy it. But you’ll make changes; everyone does. A casual statement about “ripping up that ugly carpet” might be hurtful enough to keep the seller from negotiating with you about repairs or other issues that crop up.
7. Don’t Forget to Schedule a Home Inspection
Unless you are a general contractor, plumber, electrician or structural engineer, it is highly advisable that you engage the services of a qualified home inspector. They will provide you with a comprehensive report detailing the condition of your home’s major mechanical systems, overall structural soundness, intrusion of moisture and other issues that may be cause for concern.
8. Don’t Forget to Switch Utilities
That sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to apply for utility service at their new home. Call the utility companies as soon as you have a contract. Find out how many days lead time they need to switch the service, then get back with them when you have a firm closing date.
Oh, and don’t forget to discontinue services at your old home.
9. Don’t Forget to Line-Up Your Hazard Insurance
A no-brainer, right? But it’s another often-forgotten task that buyers scramble to take care of at the last minute. Before closing, your lender will want to see an insurance binder showing that you have coverage for the new home. Get it as early as possible so that closing isn’t delayed.
In some locations, additional types of insurance coverage might be necessary.
10. Don’t Forget Your Final Walkthrough
Your Jennings Agent will schedule your final walk through the day before or the day of your closing. This is your opportunity to verify that the condition of your home is as you remember it during your home inspection and that no issues or causes for concern have arisen.