Buying a house is a whirlwind of emotions. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and overwhelmed with the scale of the purchase all at the same time. Stay focused to prevent making mistakes when buying a house in California. It will save you a lot of emotional energy and ensure you don’t kill the deal to your dream home.
Don’t Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Buying a House in California
1. Not Knowing Credit Issues
Before you start the home shopping process, speak with a lender and take a real look at your credit report. The credit report is more than just a FICO score. While the FICO needs to be good, lenders are looking at the history of debt, how much in credit cards you have and are you current with student and car loans.
As you prepare to buy, reduce revolving credit accounts, canceling newer accounts to reduce overall outstanding credit. Reduce balances so less than 30 percent is used on all credit cards. Make sure all student loans and car payments are up to date and current.
2. Getting Pre-qualified Rather Than Pre-approved
Don’t be the buyer who goes around thinking he knows his exact buyers position because he has a pre qualification letter. A prequalification letter isn’t approval or even pre approval. All a pre-qualification letter tells a seller is that you gave a lender a pretty good idea of your financial history.
Pre-approval means you applied for a loan, credit reports were pulled and you’ve provided all preliminary documentation for a lender to feel confident that you meet the requirements of a loan. The pre-approval letter gives you a dollar amount you can borrow as well as the understanding of what type of loan program you can apply for.
This means you know your down payment needs. An FHA loan might only need 3.5 percent while a conventional loan might need 20 percent or more.
3. Not Spending Money on Inspections
We get it, inspections are out of pocket costs that add up fast. With appraisals costing anywhere from $100 to $450 dollars and a standard home inspection costing some $150 to $300 dollars, you see yourself making much better use of the money buying that new sofa.
Here’s the thing: the appraisal is required to fund the loan. You can’t get away from it. And while you think you know everything you need to know about the house, a general home buyers inspection tells you what the sellers are hiding. Yep, that bathroom pipe that exploded that now has dry rot under the house will be revealed.
While you’re at it, spend a couple hundred on a sewer video inspection checking on the health of those pipes. You don’t want a backup during that first Thanksgiving in the house, do you?
4. Expecting Too Much for Budget
Everyone has grand dreams of the perfect home when they start shopping. If you’ve done your homework, you know what you can afford thanks to your preapproval letter. If this is your first home, understand that you may have to sacrifice some of your dream requirements.
I know asking you to scrap the spa tub bathroom is a lot. But consider that over time the home will hopefully appreciate and you’ll be paying down principal too. This means you get equity, which puts you in a position to cash out the equity to add that dream en suite or step up into a home closer to your dreams.
Sometimes dreams take time. Don’t sit on the sidelines waiting for perfection to come right away.
5. Buying Furniture Before the Closing
Of course, you need furniture. But since you wisely popped for those inspections recommended by your realtor, you are sitting on the new leather sofa staring at the invoice for the living and dining room set. The sales person politely asks, “Would you like to complete the application to finance this at zero interest?” Don’t fall into the alligator’s jaws.
Lenders have denied more than one loan after pre approval because the borrower started financing things at the end of escrow. Order the furniture when the deal is done and you have the keys. Trust me, the alligator will still be there smiling.
Are you looking for an affordable home in California? We likely have one that will fit your needs.