Are you ready to be a homeowner?

One of the exciting milestones of adulthood is buying your own home in Winter Springs. It is proof of your independence and financial stability. Your would-be house is or may be the biggest financial asset you’ll have in your life. As such, time and preparation are essential.

If you plan to buy a property in Winter Springs this year, here are ten things you should know before signing a contract.

1. Be well acquainted with the neighborhood

Before you buy a house, get to know the neighborhood well.

Visit the neighborhood at different times of the day, checking if you’re comfortable with what you see each time. Drive by in the early morning hours, during late afternoons, lunchtime and in the evenings. Commute from the house to your work to know if it is something you can deal with on a daily basis.

Determine how close you are to the nearest grocery store, hospital, and other services if those things are important to you. Check if they are within reasonable driving distance.

Check the schools in the neighborhood. Know their ratings. If you are at a stage in your life where children are not in the picture, the schools will still be important for future home values. You may have to sell your house down the road. Many buyers are willing to pay more if the house is in a good school district.

2. Make the right offer

Your offer should be based on two things. One, what you prequalify for. Two, what you think the property is worth.

Find out the real estate values in the area with the help of your agent. If it’s a seller’s market, you would have to match the listing price or go higher. If it’s a buyer’s market, you can offer below the listing price, but still at a price reasonable to the seller.

Check the comparables. Find out how much similar homes in the area have sold for. That should give you a good basis for your offer.

Get advice from your real estate agent. I would be more than happy to help you with ascertaining the best scenario for your offer.

3. Require a home inspection.

Know what you’re buying.

Hire a home inspector so you can make an informed decision. That $200 you spend will save you thousands if you buy a house properly inspected by a competent and professional inspector.

The result of that inspection can be used as a bargaining tool should there be any physical defects found in the house.

Remember, this is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make.

4. Be practical

Don’t buy a house because you love the brick fireplace or the spacious kitchen. Buying a home based only on certain features could potentially lead to a pretty bad financial decision.

Evaluate the flaws and strengths of the home. If you think the flaws are minimal and you can live with it, that’s when you decide to buy.

5. Take account of sleeper costs

If this is your first time to buy a Winter Springs house, get your facts ahead of time and check for sleeper costs.

These things will break your bank if you are not prepared. New paint, HOA, utility connections, landscaping, tax increases, and utility bills are among the most common sleeper costs.

Budget for your sleeper costs. That way, you don’t have to worry about going into foreclosure before you even start enjoying the house.

6. Choose a home size fit for your needs and your neighborhood

Who doesn’t want to own the biggest and most beautiful house on the block?

But if you consider the possible re-sell potential, the best home will only appeal to a small number of buyers, therefore limiting its chance of selling.

The home’s value is affected by the value of the other homes in the neighborhood, so it’s not a good idea to buy a $500,000 home when the rest of the homes are selling for $300,000.

7. Timing the real estate market is impossible.

Don’t try to buy by timing the housing market. It is constantly fluctuating and changing. You’ll be making a lot of mistakes when you base your house buying decision on the market’s situation.

Buy when you are ready, when you have the means to do it, and you’ve found the perfect house.

8. Find out where your property lines are

Get a property survey done so you know your property’s border. This will not only save you from any potential neighbor disputes, but it is also the basis of your property taxes. Definitely a must-know.

9. Get a pre-approval

If your eyes are set on a Winter Springs property for sale, get a pre-approval before you even make an offer. Shop around for the best mortgages and interest rates.

Sellers tend to take your offer more seriously when they know you’ve been pre-approved.

10. Don’t move your money three to six months before you purchase.

Lenders will check your credit score, your credentials, your money trail; everything financially related, so don’t make any huge purchases in the six months before buying your house.

You have to make the lenders see that you are financially credible and reliable.

Several loans and major purchases do not inspire the lender’s confidence.

Preparation is the key to a successful home journey.

Are you buying your first home in Winter Springs? Call me, Allison Day, at (407) 617-2881. Let’s make sure you are well prepared to embark on one of the biggest financial journeys of your life.