Buying a Home? Protect Yourself with These Tips
Buying a home can be a pretty nerve-wracking experience. Many first-timers will assume that this is because of the high amount of money you’re putting down for something. And it’s true that it will probably be the most expensive purchase of your life thus far. It will probably be your biggest financial asset for the foreseeable future. But the nervousness also has a lot to do with everything around that monetary cost. There are legal complications to consider. There are trust issues to overcome – after all, you need to be able to trust the person who’s selling you the house not to rip you off, right?
So it can be a pretty intense and trying time. How can you make sure the whole process goes as smoothly as possible? And with the maximum amount of protection available to you and your finances? Read ahead.
Get professional help
The process of purchasing a house is a lengthy one. As you’re probably well aware by now, it’s not as easy as your average convenience store purchase! You can’t just put your money in the seller’s hand, grab the key and live happily ever after. The process involves a tremendous amount of legal paperwork. There will also be multiple monetary transactions, not just one big one.
If you don’t have an infinite amount of free time and don’t have expertise in this field, you may want to hire home help. For financial transaction help, you may want an escrow officer. For legal protection, you may want a lawyer specialising in real estate. For quality assurance, you’ll probably want a home inspector. There’s too much to do to handle everything alone. Choose your battles wisely!
Don’t trust the Internet (not completely, anyway)
Yes, I know you’re reading this article from the Internet, so you could construe that as don’t trust this article. But what I’m referring to specifically are the property sale websites that most of you use to search for homes. Most people these days go online first when they’re looking for a new home. It’s a strong option, given the sheer amount of choice and the convenience of looking online.
But keep in mind that advertising real estate on the Internet isn’t regulated in the same way as on other market platforms. And even with the regulations that may appear on any given website, there’s no guarantee that the seller is following them. So try to take all the information you receive with a pinch of salt. Don’t trust photos, pricing or any utility information without verifying it offline first.
Make sure you’re in the know about everything
With such a busy and time-consuming process, it’s tempting to sit back and let others do some of the work. Hey, it’s even a smart idea most of the time. (Which is why I suggested it earlier!) But it’s also tempting to keep those areas of the process out of your mind completely. This is a mistake.
You need to be kept informed and up-to-date about everything during this process. Don’t just assume a given task is better left “exclusively to the lawyers” or “exclusively with the inspectors”. Make sure everyone keeps you – the actual buyer – informed of everything. If it’s a complex issue, have them tell you anyway. If it’s bad news, have them tell you anyway. Make sure you’ve also got copies of every single document that is signed in the process, including the ones you’ve read and signed yourself. If there’s anything you don’t understand, ask someone who does understand to explain it to you.