Make sure to get pre-qualified for a mortgage before starting your search. It gives you more leverage in negotiations and more validity as a serious buyer. More importantly though you will know how much of a loan you are able to get, and therefore how much house you can afford.
Research the Community
Go online and read all you can about schools, crime, amenities, proximity to work, real estate history, etc. There is ultimately only so much you can learn through reading. Talk to people who live in the area. You should also physically explore the community as well. Nothing beats walking the streets and looking in every nook and cranny.
Comparison shopping is absolutely essential to home buying. Visit several potential homes to make sure you are getting good value. Get your realtor to get you all comps from the last year of properties that have sold in the neighborhood. Your realtor has access to information about how much homes have sold for and how long they have been on the market.
Get An Inspection
Always make sure to get a home inspection. People are usually honest on disclosures, but who knows what’s really going on inside that crawl space or on that roof. Inspections usually cost $350-400 but can end up saving you thousands in the end. The inspector can check for the presence of things like hidden damage, roofing problems, foundation issues, wood rot, asbestos, and wood-destroying pests.
Buy a Home Warranty
Paying an extra few hundred dollars for a home warranty when you have already paid so much money in fees and mortgage money can seem like that one last annoyance that you may feel tempted to skip. However, much like an inspection, it can save you a lot of money in the end. Inspectors are great but even they can miss stuff, like who knew that perfectly good dishwasher would break or that the engine on the AC would blow up? The good news though is that many buyers offer their homes with a warranty anyway, and if they don’t, your realtor can often convince them to throw it in for free.
Use the Right Realtor
The right realtor is someone who is familiar with the area and can help you identify a quality home at a great price. The realtor can negotiate for you to get the most for your money, actually saving you tens of thousands in the end.
Main Line Communities
- Bala Cynwyd
- Bryn Mawr
- Penn Valley
- St. Davids