Buying a home, be it your new primary residence, a second home, or, a vacation rental, is an exciting time. You think to the future and what lies ahead, filled with anticipation, and, the memories waiting to be made. Now, it’s time to start planning to get there and create a checklist of all the things you need to do. Some of these tasks are obvious, like setting a budget and choosing an experienced real estate buyer’s agent that’s intimately familiar with the area.
You’ll also have to decide what type of property will best suit your wants and needs. Fortunately, here in Sarasota, there are many choices, from single family residences, to condominiums and townhouses, to villas. Location will be a really big factor in your decision, but the good news is, you won’t be far from the beautiful white sand beaches, no matter where you buy.
While you’re probably thinking about expenses such as your down payment, inspections, and earnest money deposit, but, you might not stop to consider some other costs. Though these are not all huge expenses, you ought to factor these in so you are fully prepared.
HOW TO BUY A HOME WITHOUT BREAKING YOUR BUDGET
No one wants to be in the position of going way over budget when buying a home. It means those improvements and little extras will have to wait. There are some strategic moves you can make, in order to buy a home without breaking your budget. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is the first step, it tells you what you can spend, and, it definitely helps to stay under it. If you’re purchasing a new primary residence, you should consider selling your current home first. This will allow you to approach sellers with cash-in-hand, something that’s quite motivating.
“You’ve crunched the mortgage rates, estimated your tax payments, and taken a realistic look at how much house you can afford. You’ve stuck within your range when scouring the realtor.com listings, being careful not to bust your budget. But there are more expenses involved in home buying than just the property costs. And those additional payments, if you don’t factor them in, can be high enough to derail your conscientious planning.” —Realtor.com
Other tip is to look for vacant properties. Homes where the sellers have relocated for a job or for another reason. The longer a house is empty, the more negotiating power you’ll have on your side. Yet another way to stay under budget and get a good deal is to look for mid-range homes in desirable neighborhoods. This way, the equity will appreciate nicely, but, you won’t face the situation of exceeding local market value. Overlooking small cosmetic issues is a great way to save a bit on the purchase price, especially if you have your buyer’s agent do the negotiating.
DON’T FORGET THESE HOME BUYING COSTS
Most homebuyers do plan for the larger, obvious expenses, but somehow miss other costs. The down payment is perhaps the most noted, simply because of the amount, and, inspections are also accounted for because of their importance. However, there are some expenses which get overlooked, like the following:
- Closing costs. Unless you strike a deal with the seller to pay some or all of the closing costs, these are generally the responsibility of the buyer. On average, settlement costs, which consist of all sorts of fees, range from 2 percent to 5 percent of the purchase price. Though you will receive a Good Faith Estimate, or GFE, from your lender after you apply for a home loan, it’s still an estimate. The actual costs can be as much as 10 percent by law. That’s not insignificant. A home selling for $250,000 will average $5,000 to $12,500, or, $5,5000 up to $13,750, if the estimate is adjusted upward by 10 percent. It’s important to note that some fees are negotiable, just ask your lender about lowering them.
- Moving day odds-and-ends. Though you probably will get a few estimates and choose a moving service, there are last minute costs which can add-up quickly. Expenses can be for boxes, bubble wrap, new interior paint, appliances, and utility deposits. Plan ahead and think about what you’ll need to settle into your new home. For instance, you might need some everyday household items, or, need to take care of small repairs.
- A contingency fund. Even if you get a clean home inspection report, it doesn’t guarantee that something won’t go wrong. You move in without a hitch and a week later, the water heater stops working, or, the air conditioner needs an expensive part replaced. Whatever it might be, it will be even more inconvenient if you aren’t prepared well in advance.
While you certainly can’t anticipate everything, you can do much to be ready for these and other expenses. The key is to partner with a good buyer’s agent and strike a deal on your home.