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Things to Avoid When Buying a House

When you first start looking at houses that are for sale, you can immediately start to feel overwhelmed. There are so many choices, and so many steps! The last thing you want to do is start off on the wrong foot, making the process more complicated. There are a few things you should avoid when you're starting your search for a house.

The first thing you will want to do is avoid taking any dings to your credit just before you apply for a mortgage. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate will be. Don't open new credit cards, apply for a car loan, or take on any other forms of new debt. Don't let any bills fall behind for any reason. Keeping your credit score in good shape before you buy a house will save you money in the long run.

Another thing to avoid is changing your job when you want to buy a house. Lenders look at your job history as a sign of your financial stability- if you've only been at your job for a few weeks, some lenders won't even consider that money as income when calculating how much they're willing to lend you. Stay at your job until the papers are signed and you have moved in and are settled.

Avoid becoming emotional during the process. For example, you might have just found your dream house. You've started picking out furnishings and then your inspector comes back and tells you the house has structural problems. You're crushed. Avoid big disappointments and purchasing mistakes by avoiding emotional investment until the papers are signed.

Emotional attachment to a house can also cause you to make a purchase without thinking about how appropriate the neighborhood is for your needs. Is the house on a busy street with lots of traffic that will wake you up before you want to, or that is too dangerous for your small children? Or is the neighborhood mostly young families with little kids- something you'd rather avoid since you're in your retirement years? Always consider the neighborhood, even if the house fits your needs.

Don't assume you're going to be in the house forever- think about the resale value of the property before you buy it. Houses in good school districts have a higher resale value than those in bad school districts. Even if you don't have kids, it's something you should keep in mind.

Finally, avoid taking any shortcuts. Don't skip a good house inspection. Don't skip hiring a good, trustworthy realtor because you don't want to pay the fees. Read everything before you sign it. Add appropriate contingencies to your offer (contingencies like approval of your financing or passing an inspection). These steps might slow down the process, but they'll save you time and money in the long run.