Are you looking to buy a home in Columbia County, NY or Berkshire County, MA? We’ve been buying and selling real estate here for almost thirty years, and we know the market. We want your buying experience to be a good one, and we want to share our knowledge with you.
1. Make a wishlist
Before you begin house hunting, ask everyone who will be living in the home to make a wish list of features. This list can include the house itself, the property, the neighborhood, even proximity to friends and family. List whatever factors and characteristics are important to you.
Rarely will a house satisfy everything on your list. This simple exercise will help you define the most important factors. After you tell us what you have in mind we will know how refine the search.
2. Get loan approval before starting house shopping
When getting pre qualified a loan officer can do a preliminary analysis of your loan level. The loan officer provides a general estimate of your price range based on the financial information you provide. This can help you in finding out how much you can afford and how much they will lend.
Many sellers and listing realtors require a pre qualification letter to accompany the offer.
3. Consider the ongoing costs
Moving from renting to owning can seem like a no-brainer when you compare rent and mortgage payments. However, it’s easy for new homeowners to get in over their head when they don’t consider the additional expenses of home-ownership. Property taxes, utilities, home repairs, and regular maintenance all add to the cost of home-ownership. A little planning and forethought can help you enjoy your new home in the long term without feeling overwhelmed.
4. Get a survey
When making your offer to purchase include the contingency of a survey. It’s good to know the exact property lines which can save you a handful of headaches down the road. Once an offer is accepted you can commission your survey. The survey will provide a map with the exact property lines and the land will be “flagged” so you will see the borders.
5. Hire a Home Inspector
When buying a used car, it is recommended that you have a trusted mechanic take a look at it first. Similarly, it is the responsibility of a home inspector to provide you with objective information about the property you plan to purchase. Once your offer is accepted call two or three inspectors to see which one you would like to hire. Inspections are normally expected to be completed within two weeks of an accepted offer. The inspector can draw water samples for potability testing, arrange testing for radon, do pest inspections and conduct a structural analysis of the house. You will be given a written report with photos after completion. If the property has a private septic system is is also recommended to have the system inspected.
In NY and MA house inspectors are licensed.
6. Don’t love something that can’t love you back
Where we live is important to all of us, but it’s important to remember that buying based on emotions can backfire. Recognize potential and value without becoming obsessed with the easily replaceable features such as appliances, paint color and other decor.