Remember when I likened house hunting to driving very slowly towards the edge of a cliff. I was right. Nothing was happening for OVER two months, and then all of a sudden, EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING! And there’s no real way anybody can prepare for it. We’re about a week away from our Purchase and Sale, so there’s still a LONG way to go, but here are the tips I have so far.
- Throughout this process, people recommend everybody and their mother. If you get recommendations you trust (for lawyers, home inspectors, mortgage lenders, brokers, ANYONE), do two things: 1. Save their website and contact information all in one place. 2. Read their reviews on Redfin or Zillow or Yelp or Angie’s List – whatever customer review site you trust. Most of my recommendations came from coworkers, so they went to my work email which I then forwarded to my Future Husband (sometimes I forget what FH stands for…lol) and they never touched my gmail account making them impossibly to find by doing text searches for “lawyer” “coworker’s name” “work email” etc. in the gmail account.
- Know that you won’t always be able to use someone’s recommendation and you may have to go with a stranger. I know home inspection is really important. I’d also heard that you should use someone recommended by your agent because the inspection can lower the sale price or cause the sale not to happen at all, both of which jeopardize your agent’s commission. However, when you have a quick closing date and need an inspection within 3-5 days, you may need to. I called down my list of recommendations to no avail, and had to call one of my agent’s people. He did a very thorough job, and I trusted his inspection.
- Remember to ask how much things cost and when they need to be paid and what form of payment. By the 5th home inspector I called, I forgot to ask how much. Luckily it was only $450 and he took personal checks.
- Use Google Drive if you’re doing this with someone else. We had to send ~35 documents to our mortgage broker yesterday. I saved all mine to a Google Drive folder and shared it with FH. He saved all his and then gave the mortgage lender access to the whole folder. Easy peasy.
- Don’t be afraid to go with your gut, even if it’s not what you’re being advised. Case in point: adjustable rate mortgages. Everyone tells you not to go with them. They are risky. The rates….they ADJUST! Did you hear that?!?! Rates are at historic lows right now, so it makes sense to want to lock in a low rate for 30 years. Unless you’re not living somewhere for 30 years. Oh, this 780 square foot palace? Why, yes, I’m sure 30 years of stuff will fit in here. Fuck no. We’re probably going with a 7/1 ARM, which means that we lock in today’s rate for 7 years and pay lower rate and, therefore, lower monthly payments for the first 7 years. In the long run, it is more expensive, but we’ll be long gone by the time 7 years rolls around.
- Don’t get weirded out by the fact that everybody is talking about you behind your back. Our mortgage lender called our agent and the seller’s agent without us knowing. Our agent put our lawyer in touch with the seller’s lawyer without us knowing. They do this all the time. It’s their job. It’s not their first rodeo. Just sit back and let them do their thing. Answer questions promptly, but otherwise, it’s out of your hands.