What to Do Before You Buy a House

And What to Do After You Buy a House

04/06/2020

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It’s an exciting time guys! 

 

This May I finished my associates degree in business management after 10 years of going to school off and on, I applied to another school to pursue my bachelors degree in marketing, and The Craft Mills is starting to take off. 

 

But perhaps the most exciting (and nerve shattering) thing of all is that Kyle and I are in the process of buying a home.

 

We started looking at houses about three months ago to see what we liked and to see what was realistic in our area, and right away we got a slap in the face. Our realistic dream home would cost us more than $250,000! 

 

Since we most certainly do not have that kind of money we have had to change what our requirements are and now we are in a very competitive market. 

 

We have been seriously interested in four homes so far, and of these homes, two of them went into bidding wars with 3+ bidders on the first day before we could even see them so we canceled our showings. 

 

The third home was the first one we actually got to see and even though we opted not to put a bid in for just one reason, it had other offers that same day. 

 

The fourth home is currently not yet on the market but it ticked off everyone of our new requirements so our agent recommended we put an offer in (with some contingencies of course!) so that we could see it before anyone else. We were comfortable with the idea, and went in at list price without asking for closing costs since a home warranty was included. Our first offer was denied.

 

Our second offer was a couple thousand over list price, and the seller still turned it, and several other lower offers down because she wants to wait to accept an offer from the Open House this Saturday. Kyle and I now both have a bad taste in our mouths about the whole thing; but we are hoping the third offer's the charm. 🤞

 

But since we have been looking at more and more homes, I have been compiling a helpful list of all the things we want to keep in mind throughout the whole process and you can see this list below.

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What to Do Before Buying a House

Get pre-approved. 

You do not want to find your perfect house and put a bid in only to be turned away because you’re not pre-approved.And even worse, you do not want your offer to be accepted only to not be able to get financing for that amount of money.

And do not forget, you have 14 days from your first credit inquiry to shop around for better rates so do your due diligence.

 

Make sure you know your REAL budget. 

Just because you are pre-approved for a certain amount does not mean that it is what you can afford, nor does it mean you need to spend the amount you have been pre-approved for.

 

Check into:

  • Crime Rates

  • Whether the house comes with appliances

  • Whether the window treatments such as blinds are included

  • How old the heating and cooling systems are

  • Whether the house comes with a home warranty

  • How old the roof is

  • Whether there is sufficient parking

  • If there are significant cracks, particularly in the foundation

  • If there is evidence of water damage

  • If there are areas of weak support as you walk (creaking, recessions, etc.)

  • If the home is plaster or drywall, it makes a difference in fixing potential holes

  • Whether the house has a well or if it has city water

  • If there’s enough storage

 

Test the:

  • Water (is it drinkable or contaminated, hard or soft)

  • Outlets (do they all have power, are there enough of them, are they in good locations, etc.)

  • Water Pressure

 

Inspect for:

  • Radon

  • Termites

  • Carbon Monoxide

  • Leaks

  • Mold

*You can have actual inspectors inspect all of the above once your offer is accepted, but pay attention to leaks and mold during your walk through to get ahead of the matter.

What to Do After Buying a House

Cosmetic Fixes Before Move In

  • Get rid of popcorn ceilings - it’s easier to get rid of dust in an empty house than a full one

  • Refinish the hardwood floors

  • Steam clean the carpets

  • Paint the walls, it makes all the difference in making the home your own

  • Change out light fixtures and go LED if possible

  • Add ceiling fans if the house does not already have them

 

Thing to Do on Moving Day

  • Set up the bedroom and bathroom first - it makes the end of the day a whole lot nicer

  • Clean your fridge and turn it on so all your helpers can keep their drinks cold and it is ready for when you move any remaining food from your old place or you go to the grocery store

  • Designate a safe space for keys, phones, chargers, etc. that you need so you do not misplace them

  • Have a box of supplies you will need such as cleaning supplies, toilet paper,  chargers, extension cords, snacks for your helpers, camp chairs for breaks, etc.

 

Things to Clean

  • Replace your toilet seats

  • Replace the air filter

  • Get the HVAC and vents cleaned

  • Clean the roof

  • Clean the gutters

  • Clean the chimney (if applicable)

  • Clean the fridge (and coils), microwave, oven, and vent hood

  • Use expanding foam to seal nooks and crannies so critters and water do not get into places they are not supposed to

  • Touch up any grout or caulk that needs it to keep everything in tip-top shape

 

Important Reminders

Set up your utilities:

  • Water

  • Trash - make sure you know what days they collect

  • Cable/Internet

  • Gas - make sure you know where the meter is

  • Electric

  • Sewer

  • Security

Change your address with:

  • The postal service

  • Your bank(s)

  • Your employer

  • The IRS

  • Credit Card Companies

  • The aforementioned utility companies

  • Department of Motor Vehicles

  • Voter Registration

  • Health Providers

  • Insurance Providers

  • Government Agencies

  • Subscription Services

 

Protect Your Home

  • Replace all of your locks

  • Hide a spare key in an inconspicuous location but make sure to remember where you put it

  • Give a spare key to someone you trust for emergencies and in case the other spare does not get put back (it happens!)

  • Replace the short screws in door hinges with long ones to make it harder to break in

  • Reset any key-codes

  • Make sure you have motion sensor lights that work

  • Come up with an emergency plan and make sure everyone knows it

  • Invest in fire ladders if you have a two or more story home

  • Buy new fire extinguishers so you know they work

  • Clean the dryer vent (and lint trap if the appliance was included in the purchase) to prevent a potential fire

  • Install window pin locks

>>> Alarms

  • Make sure you have smoke alarms in the best places

  • Get a Carbon Monoxide alarm

  • Get a water leak alarm

  • Make sure you have a Radon detector

*If you have these alarms, make sure they work, and if I could make a recommendation, have backup batteries as the low battery chirping at 3:00 AM can be annoying

 

Other Helpful Tips

  • Adjust the temp on the hot water heater to fit your preferences

  • Invest in a programmable thermostat to conserve energy and save money

  • Line cabinets and drawers after vacuuming them out

  • Find where the water cut off valve is located

  • Find where the gas shut off valve is located

  • Find the electrical panel and label the circuits

  • Put a flashlight (with batteries) near the panel for emergencies

  • Once a year, drain the water heater and remove the sediment, or do it more often to keep it in even better shape

  • Make sure your sump pump works

  • Post emergency and utility accounts as well as their phone numbers somewhere that is easily accessible

  • Get a lawnmower as soon as possible, you don’t want to be ‘that guy’ who does not take care of their lawn and annoys their neighbors

  • Buy a hose and nozzle, it will be handy, I promise

  • Create a home maintenance checklist

  • Create a home binder with all important documents relating to the purchase, maintenance, appliances, and paint colors

What to Do After the Move

 

Have a house-warming party, and enjoy your new home with all your loved ones!

Since I know you probably have some awesome ideas to add to the list that I may have missed, please feel free to share them in the comments to help others looking for home buying tips and tricks. 

 

And if you want to share this list with others, don’t forget to Pin it!

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