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Home Buying Tips

There are so many things to consider when buying a house. By doing some research ahead of time, you can make smarter choices while on the hunt!
Have an Open Mind
  • The home buying process is exciting but can also be an emotional roller coaster. Houses that look perfect online can end up being a disappointment in person. The opposite is also true. Houses with poor pictures or lack of information may be quickly passed up. But if they have the basics of what you are looking for, it might be worth taking a personal walk through.
  • If you are struggling to find the perfect house in your preferred area, you may want to consider expanding your search area a little bit. It never hurts to see what’s out there, and who knows, you may find an extra 15 minute commute is worth it for the home of your dreams.
Stop Watching HGTV
  • Well, not completely of course, but realize some of the home buying shows can mislead you on the real-life process. While HGTV home seekers are fun to watch, they only show about 10% of what has really happened. Just don’t expect your home buying story to mimic those hunting for houses on HGTV!
Do a Drive-By (if you can)
  • This is such good practice when considering looking at a house. Pictures tell a thousand words but only what the listing agent wants you to see. Is the house too close to the road? Is there a cell tower next door? Is traffic more than you expected? A drive-by gives you a lot of information before you decide to schedule a showing.
  • BUT, in this market, time can be a factor so don’t ever put off scheduling a showing if you can’t drive-by first. Your agent from Tim Dunham Realty’s team is always happy to show a property whether you’ve driven by or not!
Check Out the Neighborhood
  • Thanks to Google Earth, you can now check out the entire neighborhood of your favorite houses. You would be wise to do so: https://www.google.com/earth/
  • Property tax maps are a great resource to learn more about the property’s history. Ask your agent to provide any additional information like this from the MLS. You can also call the local town’s office or do some research on their website.
Take a Second Look
  • If the market allows, schedule a second showing and bring a list of items you may have forgotten to look at in great detail. Closet sizes, appliances, windows, lighting, are all things that you may want to double check.
  • Bring a friend or family member. There is a lot to see and a lot to miss. Having another set of eyes there will prove helpful later when you can’t remember certain details.
  • Sometimes there is no time to schedule a second showing because the market is too competitive and multiple offers may be a factor. If this is the case, don’t worry - you can still double-check everything during inspections.
Home Inspections
  • The inspection process is one of the most important steps in the home buying process. Make sure to talk to your realtor about what inspections are recommended for the type of property you are purchasing.
  • Don’t ever think inspections are not worth the investment. It is your responsibility as a homeowner, to understand the systems in the house, potential issues and what to expect in the future.
  • Inspections are rarely perfect. There are very few houses that won’t have some sort of issue come up during the inspection. Ask your realtor for advice on how to move forward once you’ve received your inspection report.
Plan Ahead with Financing
  • The most common advice when applying for any loan is to review your credit. This couldn’t be more true for a mortgage. There are several online credit check companies like www.creditkarma.com and www.freecreditreport.com that you might want to try out and make sure you have no surprises.
  • Do your best to have your funds for your down payment in your account at least 60 days before you apply for a mortgage. Underwriters typically ask for 2 months bank statements and will question any deposits that do not come from obvious sources like your job. If you are receiving a gift or selling something to make your down payment, try to do it ahead of time. It will save you some extra work with underwriters in the long run!
  • Even if you feel like you don't have all your ducks in a row, you can still successfully obtain financing for your home.  The smartest step is to speak to a mortgage banker to get clear on what you need to do for your specific situation.
Learn About Home Owner’s Insurance
  • A great place to start with a quote is with your current auto insurance. You should get a multi-policy discount which can save 10-20% depending on the insurance company.
  • The insurance company is going to ask very specific questions about the house you have under contract. Make sure you are prepared with the answers. Basic questions will include age of the home, square footage, etc. Other questions might include the age of the roof, heating systems, and how far the closest fire hydrant or fire pond is.
  • Understand what deductibles mean and how the insurance quote changes when the deductible changes.  You may be able to save a few hundred dollars by changing your deductible from $500 to $1000.
  • Ask if recent system updates to electrical, plumbing, etc offer any discounts. Sometimes insurance companies will give “bonus points" when a house is recently updated which may mean more discounts!

We have answers to all your home buying questions and are happy to answer your call or email!  207-729-7297 or tim@dunhamrealty.com.


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