Today’s market for home buying is INSANE! It seems like everyone is really up for taking on this challenge with continuing record low rates. This makes me so happy because it’s giving so many of us in communities of color an opportunity at home ownership! Especially for those buying our families’ first homes, it is something to be incredibly proud of yourself for. I don’t know about most of you, but going on this venture was hands down one of the most stressful, intimidating, and daunting experiences I had ever embarked on.
For those of you in the same boat, I’d like to share some tips on what you’ll want to have prepared and be on the lookout for to be as well prepared as possible for what’s to come. I am starting after your pre-approval just heads up, so if you haven’t yet, find a lender and make sure you know what your budget is before going on a search that may not end up so well.
- Find a home inspector, and if you are buying an older home (anything before 2000), a GREAT plumber. Before you rush to Google the ones with top reviews (a good start), let me share a bit on my mistakes. While yes, Google helps, you also want to take the time to ask these vendors some filtering questions so you can be sure that they are a good fit for YOU. Do you have an engineering/construction etc. background and don’t need to have your handheld through the inspection OR are you clueless when it comes to homes and repairs? Will having someone with the patience to explain the issues found in the house be beneficial for you? Before choosing a vendor, ask how they feel about your current situation and the time you think you may need. Once you have those details, then make a decision.
- For those searching for an older home, do not, under any circumstances, skip the plumbing inspection. There is plenty of information out there that makes these tests seem too invasive, putting current homeowners on edge. They fear that this may cause damage to their drainage system, but that is simply not the case. A hydrostatic test means merely that the plumbing system will be stopped up, filled with water, and the plumber will wait to see where, if anywhere, the water pressure starts to drop. That will signal to them that there is a leak somewhere in the water lines of the home. Older homes in Houston have galvanized pipes for their water and sewer lines. Knowing if there are any leaks and getting these repaired before closing will save you TONS of headaches and expenses later on.
2. Find your top 3 preferred home insurance companies. I say top 3 because things like overall service, responsiveness during issues, and reputation can all be gauged with or without having a home you’ve submitted an offer on. Once you find the home of your dreams, you can then submit the details to all 3 and pick your best option based off of your budget. Do not make this decision based solely on price. Having a great insurance provider when repairs are needed will be extremely valuable down the line.
3. Have an emergency budget. I think $1000 set aside is reasonable and hopefully, you don’t need it at all. But for those of us purchasing an older home, you can almost be sure that there will be some repairs that you’ll want to do prior to closing on the house. There could also be unexpected emergencies (I closed on my home and 3 weeks later the Winter Storm of 2021 hit Houston) and so on. Having a safety net set aside expressly for home repairs will be a much welcome source of relief.
4. Get your current home as organized as you can. In retrospect, I should’ve left my “do everything myself” mentality aside on this one. I could’ve saved so much time and energy if I had just hired some help. Offering everything from Office, Home, and Apartment moving, as well as Packing and Unpacking Services – the professionals at Gameday Moving Services Houston are the perfect solution to one of the biggest home-buying headaches, and I wish I had known about these long-distance movers in Houston, Texas sooner!
- Inspect the home yourself. You’d be surprised, but the best person to inspect every nook and cranny of the house is you! Go real old school and grab a pen and paper, make sure your phone is charged, and check every little thing in the home. Turn on faucets on both cold and hot water. Take as much of a ‘walk’ as possible through the attic and check your AC. What kind of freon does it need? Make sure it’s the kind that’s still avaliable (yeepp lol that’s a thing). Check the insulation; is it super worn out and will you likely want to get another layer added or is it at the point of no return and you’ll want to clean it all out and start fresh? See if there are signs of water damage under the water lines running through the attic and inside of any kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Check the corners of your home and all walls; see any funny cracks anywhere? Same with the brick on the outside of the house. Open and close all your windows and doors and make sure these move with ease.
You can never be too prepared to buy your first home. Hopefully, these tips help any of you that are on this journey so you feel even more prepared to cross the finish line of closing on your property! And no matter what, remember that although stressful, this is a blessing! What an incredible time for yourself and your family! Enjoy the process as much as possible and rest assured that things will turn out great in the end.