13 Tips Every New Maricopa Home Buyer Needs to Know
If you are looking to purchase a Maricopa home, there are some things you will want to know beforehand. Whether your timeline is 6 months or a year to move to Maricopa or even to another Maricopa subdivision, you will want to keep these in mind.
Our goal is to help you with the process. Let’s dive in, so in no particular order,
Tip # 1 – Use a Local Maricopa Realtor
Every city or town has their unique qualities. Maricopa is no different. Even though we are a small community we do have difference from subdivision to subdivision. We also have differences within subdivisions. For example, in Rancho el Dorado alone you could have the same house in different areas and get 3 different prices. You need an agent that understands this and helps you not over pay for a home.
Local agents are great as well since they are more accessible when you would like to view a home. Let’s say a home pops up and you want to see it asap. What do you think the odds are of you getting that agent who is an hour away to meet you there quickly to see it?
Plus, local agents can leverage their relationships with other local agents to sometimes get more “inside scoop” on some houses that can help you when negotiating.
I actually go into more detail on this in this article: Why Use a Maricopa Agent
Tip # 2 – Get Qualified First
I know buying a new home is very exciting. The minute you make up your mind to purchase, you want to get out there right away. You start to look at homes that you think you can buy. You even fall in love with 2-3 that you start to dreaming about. You can see yourself living there.
The problem is, until you get qualified you might be looking at the wrong homes. Unfortunately, even good credit isn’t enough to get you into your dream home. There are other factors that play into how much a lender will loan you. Including your income and debt. So before you fall in love with that $180,000 home, get qualified to make sure that the lender isn’t going to cap you out at $150,000.
As a side note, there are a quite a few agents that will not show you homes unless you are qualified already. However, there are other’s like myself and my team that will meet with you prior and start to identify some potential homes for you.
Just keep in mind, you cannot make an offer without being qualified so you will want to do this very early on in the process.
Don’t Buy More House than You Can Afford. This is mistake I see a lot of first time homeowners make. The lender comes back and tells you that you can purchase a home up to $200,000. You get excited and start looking. It isn’t until later that you realize that the payment for that new home is around $1,300 (with HOA) vs the $1,000 that you had hoped to be paying.
By then, you have fallen in love and buy more home then you should. You struggle for a year or two and eventually your dream home has become a home you hate on the 1st of each month. So please stick close to your payment. Don’t grow to hate your new home. Work from your desired payment not your max the lender gives you.
Tip # 4 – Drive the Subdivisions Day, Night & on Weekends
Subdivisions have a personality. Some are quieter than others, some have a lot of hustle and bustle and some have more amenities than others. So when you are in the beginning stages, drive around at all times. What is the commute like in the morning, at night? Is the street full of cars on the weekend? Barking dogs? Loud music on Friday night?
Whatever your deal breakers would be, do some homework in the beginning. You will be glad you did.
Here is a link to get more information on our subdivisions – Maricopa Subdivisions
Tip # 5 – Make Up Your Own Mind on Location vs Rumors
Everyone has an opinion and Maricopa folks are no different. One of our biggest debates is south of the tracks vs north of the tracks. Another popular one is how east do you want to go. For every person that says they hate south of the tracks I can find you someone that lives down there that says it isn’t as bad as people make it.
Normally those that don’t or haven’t lived there are the biggest ones saying this. So trust your own judgement or those that have actually lived it. People that live there, love the prices of the homes on that side, love that all the entertainment that is down that way as well as the Copper Sky facility.
So before you rule out any areas of Maricopa, do your own research and make sure you don’t miss out on any great opportunities due to rumors.
Tip # 6 – Know Your Out of Pocket Costs
Lot of first time home buyers are not aware that they will need money prior to closing on their new home. You will have some out of pocket costs due in the first week or so of your new home purchase. While some are applied at closing, some are not.
I tell most folks to set aside $2,000 for those early weeks. You will need a $1,000 earnest deposit. The good news is; this is applied at closing.
You will also need to set aside $350 – $500 for inspections and another $400- $500 for an appraisal. The earnest money is due at the time of offer acceptance; the inspections are done within the first week usually (you have 10 days). The appraisal is done right after the inspections.
While your additional funds aren’t due until closing, make sure before you write that offer, you are prepared for these out of pocket costs.
If you have been renting, this is one of the biggest shocks for new homeowners in the first year of home ownership. While mentally they are prepared, nothing can truly prepare you for when the fridge dies, the AC goes out, and the toilet starts to over flow. You get hit with the reality that you will be needing a few hundred dollars at that moment to fix it.
The key is to set aside an emergency fund. It isn’t a matter of if, but rather when. The good news is, there are some things to help with this coming up shortly.
Tip # 8 – Keep You Future Resale in Mind
When purchasing a home, you want to always keep in mind that someday you will sell that home. You don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot before you even move in.
Ask your agent if this home will be a good investment down the line. While no one can predict the future, your agent can still give you some good advice. For example, a 3-bedroom home with only 1 bathroom will not be a smart investment. If the home backs to a busy street, odds are that street will still be busy in the future. While you might be able to tune out the noise, others will not be as open minded when the time comes for you to sell.
Tip # 9 – Layout & Location Over Cosmetic Issues
When looking at homes you will probably get hung up on items that aren’t as big of a deal breaker as you might think. Plus, you might just over pay for a home due to a perception that might not be true.
For example, two identical models are for sale. House A is immaculate and house B needs painting and some repair work. The two are $20,000 apart. By going with house B you might have $5,000 in work and save yourself $15,000 by seeing what others don’t.
Too often people rule out homes that have the perfect layout, location and size due to some work needing done. Remember, it is always easy to fix or clean, it isn’t easy to move a home or change the layout. Focus on what matters most to you and don’t let the condition automatically rule it out. Separate the issues into fixable and not fixable and then decide if it is perfect for you or not.
Tip # 10 – Don’t Get Analysis Paralysis
The Perfect Homes Doesn’t Exist. Well, in your mind it does, but in reality it doesn’t. There will always be something that isn’t right. The more homes you look at, the more this becomes an issue. You start to see things you really love and then begin to look for the house that has it all. I’ve had folks look at 50 homes only to end up buying the first one they fell in love with. Or worse, they see the one they really wanted, get sold while they were looking for the “perfect” one.
Another good piece of advice, Don’t place furniture in homes you don’t’ plan to buy. Sounds funny I know, but I can’t tell you how many people hate a home, they can’t see their family in it, yet they still will spend 10-15 minutes placing their furniture into this home they have Zero chance of purchasing. If it isn’t “feeling” right and you now it isn’t the “one” just move on. The right one is waiting for you.
Tip # 11 – Get an Inspection & a Home Warranty
Earlier we discussed the hidden home owner costs that spring up. The one thing you don’t want, is to discover right after you move in that your air conditioner doesn’t work the minute it hits 100 degrees outside. These puppies can become very costly to fix. (trust me, I’ve been there – done that).
So your best defense is a good offense. There are two things every home buyer should do. First, make sure you get that inspection we discussed earlier. The inspector will test all your plumbing, electrical, air conditioner, roof, etc and let you know of any potential issues.
So make sure you get a home warranty. Home warranties help pay for anything that mechanically goes wrong in that first year for a low trip charge. Ask your agent about requesting this as part of your negotiations. However, even if a seller will not pay for one, then you should pay for it. Remember, a $2,500 AC bill will a lot easier to manage when it only costs you $100 for a trip charge.
Your agent should be able to provide you some plans to review. Most can be purchased for $400 – $500 and are well worth it.
When the time comes to negotiate on the home you pick. Have your agent share with you the similar homes that have sold in the past 3-4 months. The appraiser will use the SOLD homes to determine the home’s value. They will not look at any active homes.
If you agree to a price higher than similar homes, please know that your lender will only do a loan tied to the appraised price. If you still want the home, you may need to make up the difference of whatever you can’t re-negotiate.
For example, if you agree to $160,000 and the appraisal is for only $150,000, you and owner will need to figure out the $10,000 difference. If you can’t, and you have no extra funds, you will have to walk away from not only the house, but also any other money you spent on inspections and the appraisal. You will however typically be able to get your earnest money as long as you had an appraisal contingency in the contract which most due when there is a loan involved. (but check yours to be safe).
Tip # 13 – Don’t Spend Your Funds or Buy Anything!
The hardest part will be the time between making an offer and closing. These 45 days will feel like a hurry, wait, hurry roller coaster. Life will continue on. Meanwhile you have $5,000 – $10,000 sitting in your bank account just screaming to be spent.
Maybe you will need a new washer / dryer or fridge. Home Depot has them on sale and you are wanting to purchase them now. You can’t! Every money transaction you do will impact your loan. Usually not in the good way either.
So please speak to your lender prior to spending a dime during your home buying process. Some will have a 10 commandments of a loan. Here is an example for you: 10 Commandments of Buying a Home with a Loan
Bonus Tip # – Enjoy your New Home!
Probably the best tip I can give you is to Enjoy Your New Home! You have worked hard to get to this point. You have achieved the dream we all have of home ownership!
If you have done everything right, then you are set up to build a life for you and your family. You bought a house, but now you are building a HOME.
Love What We Do
If you are looking for a Maricopa Agent to help you with your home purchase or to even sit down and put together a gameplan to help get you on track, then either myself or anyone on my team would love to help out. We will take the time to walk through your situation and the type of home you are interested in.
We can set you up with a personal link to search for homes and even have some favorites drop in your email each day.
If you ever would like to take a look at your situation we are only a phone call or email away.
Good luck and feel free to reach out with any questions!