7 Things Nobody Tells You About Buying a Home
Adulting. So. Hard.
If buying a home were an emoji, it would be the one with gritted teeth and surprised eyes. We wish it were all paint chips and Pinterest searches. But it’s really more like mortgage lenders and bidding wars with a side of closing costs. Wise up with the below tips so you can stop stressing and start decorating stat.
The Deal Could Fall Through Up Until the Moment of Closing
The seller accepted your offer! You passed the board interview with flying colors (good call getting your husband to wear the pale blue button-down)! Mazels. Now the roller coaster ride begins. You must next contend with bank appraisals, engineering inspections, your lawyer, their lawyer, both brokers and the closing, which could be months away. Only when the deed is transferred to your name is the property officially yours. And either side can walk way—for pretty much any reason—in the interim.
You Need to Get Your Financial House in Order ASAP
Your finances will be scrutinized down to the decimal point. Some co-op/condo boards frown upon buyers with anything less than 30 percent of the total home cost in liquid assets. You should get pre-approval from your mortgage lender before making any offers. Credit card debt? Pay it off. Several years of tax returns? Prepare them. Oh and you’ll need more reference letters—personal and professional—than you did when applying to college. Welcome to the land of paperwork and awkward favor requests.
Closing Costs Could Be Up to 5 Percent Of the Purchase Price
Got just enough money to buy that stunner? Good for you! But you’re going to need to have another good chunk (anywhere from 2 to 5 percent of purchase price, depending on your market) on hand to put down at closing. (Remember what we said about that gritted teeth emoji?)
You Need to Initiate—and Pay For—Inspections and Environmental Testing
Want water with lead levels below the EPA standard? Is that beautiful, freshly renovated deck secretly a structural nightmare? When it comes to architectural soundness and environmental standards, it’s buyer-beware—meaning it’s your responsibility to hire professionals to assess these issues, and not the seller’s to disclose them.
Your Vocabulary Will Change Dramatically
HVAC system? Forced air heating? Lawn aeration? Your brain will need to dump all that high school French and Rosetta Stone Mandarin to make room for your new foreign language: homeowner-ese.
Your Handyman and Plumber Will Become Your BFFs
Tip them generously. You will be calling them constantly. Does your stove run on gas or electricity? How about your washer dryer? Do you need a new toilet flange? They know. And they can fix.
You Need to Be On Good Terms With Your Sellers
The bidding war may have gotten contentious. Your brokers may loathe each other. The tension at the closing could have been cut with one of the Wusthof knives you bought for your new dream kitchen. But guess who you’re going to need to call when the stone wall starts crumbling, the lawn sprinkler malfunctions or the garage clicker gets lost?Their Rolodex of home-care pros could be yours; the asking price? A little kindness.