A Checklist for All First Time Home Buyers
Published: August 2019
Author: Bank of England Mortgage Staff
Congratulations! You are looking to buy your first home and want to be prepared to do so. Here is a list of what you should do before you start your home search.
1. Get Pre-Approved
Getting pre-approved can mean getting a step ahead of others when home buying. Being “pre-approved” means that you will meet with a mortgage lender and they will determine if you are eligible for a home loan and the amount you are eligible for. The lender will check your credit score, employment, and income to determine the pre-approval. Another bonus tip is that if you know you are going to apply to get pre-approved in the next few months, you will not want to do anything that will lower your credit score. Things that can affect your score are large purchases, applying for a new credit card or moving jobs. So, don’t make any significant changes until after you get approved.
2. See What You Can Afford
When getting pre-approved, your loan officer will have told you the size of the loan you can afford. But remember, a house is not only the mortgage but also utilities and other unexpected expenses. Once you move in, things will inevitably start to need maintenance. Don’t be blindsided by these unexpected costs, budget for them! The rule of thumb is to save 1% of what the house is worth for the first year of maintenance cost.
3. Appliances Are Not Always Included
You might be hyped about the beautiful stainless-steel kitchen appliances or gorgeous ceiling fans in your newly purchased home, but the seller may be planning to take them when moving out. Avoid this major bummer and clearly ask what is staying and what is going. If they are taking them, buying new appliances is a big purchase and you will want budget those into move in cost. Also, you will need to buy them far enough in advance to be delivered close to your move-in date. That way you can jump in and start using every part of your new home.
4. Final Walk-Through
You did it! You bought your house and you are taking the final walkthrough before you commit on paper. In the walkthrough, there are a few things that you should check and make sure you know. First, if you had any previous agreements for the seller to make any changes to the house, check to make sure those are completed. Second, check for any leaks or red flags that something needs to be repaired. This can save you the cost of paying for something that broke on their watch, not yours. Thirdly, make sure you know where the water shut off valve is and the breaker box. You don’t want to go on a scavenger hunt for these things when the power goes out, or you have a leak.
5. Turn on the Utilities
Another thing that could be a potential pain in the neck is not having your utilities like water, power or gas on when you move in. The previous owners will more than likely discontinue their utility payments for the house leaving you without. You can avoid this issue if you set up your payment plan for the utilities before the move-in day.
6. Changing the locks
Something else that might slip your mind is changing all the locks. You don’t know who all has the keys to your new home from the previous owners. The cost always depends on the individual company, but it could cost you anywhere from $5 to $25 per lock with a minimum fee of $40 to $100.
In this tech-infused world that we live in WIFI is a must when moving into any home. You will more than likely have to go through your cable company to get this set up and if you do not plan accordingly, you could go weeks without WIFI in your home. This can also hinder other installations in a home. The majority of alarm systems and other security items like the Smart doorbells will all require Internet connection. It will also put a damper on the move if you are having to use your phone data and get an extra charge if you go over.
8. Moving Day
Finally, you have made it to move-in day! You have scheduled and budgeted accordingly. Some final things that need tending to are where your furry family members are going during the move. The hustle and bustle of a move can make our pets nervous, especially if they are in the new place. If you can, have them stay at a family members house or a doggy daycare for the day. If those are not an option, maybe put them in a room that is farther from the action with few things that have the smell of the old house. Once you get them settled, make sure you get yourself settled that night. Find all the parts for your bed before the movers leave. You don’t want to be searching for a bag of screws, when all you want to do is go to bed after your big move-in day. Getting a good night sleep is essential for all the unpacking you will have to do the next day.
Happy House Hunting!