Many people who don’t live in Fountain Hills think of our little piece of paradise as mainly a mecca for affluent retirees. The reality is that Fountain Hills attracts a diverse population, from the aforementioned retirees, to young families looking for quality schools and amenities, to first-time home buyers.
If you fall into that latter category – first-time buyers – the prospect of making that commitment can be daunting. The professionals you choose to help you navigate the process will shoulder most of the burden, but, as in everything in life, it’s important to “expect the unexpected”.
Here are just a few things to anticipate, so that you aren’t blindsided when the unexpected happens!
Expect Unexpected Expenses
Most first-time home buyers already have savings set aside for a down payment and closing costs, since these expenses can be anticipated in advance. What many first-timers often overlook are the things that may nickel-and-dime you throughout the closing process and even after you move in:
- Initial homeowners insurance payments
- Homeowners association dues
- Deposits on utilities
- Repairs that need to be made after moving in
It’s a good idea to have a slush fund set aside for these expenses, should they arise.
Don’t Skimp on the Down Payment
Your home is an investment, and your down payment gives you instant equity in that investment. The hunt for bargains is a national past-time, but this isn’t a Black Friday shopping excursion. You may see a no- or low-down payment loan option and do a happy dance thinking of all the money you’ll save, but you’ll pay in the long run.
Lower down payments mean your monthly payment will be higher monthly payments over the long haul. It also means you are paying interest on a higher balance, which means you will pay much more in interest over the life of the loan.
It can be challenging, and even frustrating, to wait until you have a bigger down payment (10-20%). But the boost you will give to your future financial security and wealth will be worth it.
Don’t Assume the Home Inspection Will Find Every Flaw
Most lenders require a home inspection, which helps ensure that the home is worth the money they are lending you to purchase it. But even if your lender does not require an inspection, it’s always best to get one anyway.
However, while an inspection is usually extremely thorough, it’s impossible for an inspector to uncover all potential problems. For instance, a separate radon test may be required to uncover the presence of this harmful gas. You may also need a separate termite inspection.
It’s a great idea to attend the inspection as ask questions, so that you have a full understanding of what the inspector has evaluated, and any areas that he/she was not able to access.
Even if you already made an offer on the home that has been accepted by the seller, this is not necessarily the end of negotiations. The importance of the home inspection really comes to light during this phase of the purchase process. If any mechanical or structural issues are brought to light during the inspection, then you do have the option to request that the seller either repair the issues, or lower the price accordingly. This is especially true if the issues impact your ability to inhabit the home immediately.
Your Realtor® should be an expert in handling situations such as this, so don’t feel like you alone on some strange planet. Your Realtor® can read the situation and advise you on the best course of action, and maybe even save you some money in the long run.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the situations you should be prepared to encounter when purchasing a home. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – if your Realtor® doesn’t welcome your questions, then you need a different Realtor®. It’s much better to ask questions, than to find yourself financially tied to a home that turns out to be a lemon.
Whether you are buying or selling in Fountain Hills, Susan Pellegrini and Karen DeGeorge are ready to put their care and expertise to work for you. Buying or selling, our first-class service comes with a wealth of experience and eye for detail, ready to focus on you. Visit our website to learn more and contact us or give us a call at (480)- 315-1575, we’re here for you.