Tips for Buying a Home in Pennsylvania

Are you planning to buy a home in Pennsylvania? Regardless of your location, the home buying process can be challenging to navigate. We have put together a home buying guide with some simple tips to guide you through the process.

Buying a new home is such an exciting life event. But, it only takes a few glitches to squelch that excitement. Diligent planning and preparation are crucial for a smooth and stress-free home buying experience.

Avoid being caught off guard with the unexpected by following our list of tips for buying a home in Pennsylvania.

Have a clear understanding of your finances
It is essential to have a clear understanding of your finances before you begin the home buying process.

It would be such a let down to find your dream home, and then later discover it is more than you can afford.

The process of understanding your finances should include the following:
• Determine your financial situation
• Create a budget
• Examine your credit score

Keep in mind that a down payment of 20 % of the total cost is typically required, in addition to other closing costs. Also, as you evaluate your financial situation, don’t forget to consider other monthly expenses of owning a home: mortgage insurance, utilities, home maintenance, property taxes, etc.

Find a Good Real Estate Agent You Can Trust
There is so much to learn about a home and its surrounding area before deciding to buy. A trusted Real Estate agent could help you understand the process, as well as the things you should consider in your home search.

A Real Estate Agent can assist you in the following ways:
• Help you compare pricing with their familiarity of the community and the market’s condition
• Help you find a home that meets your budget and needs
Contact professionals you need during your house search and before closing (home inspectors, mortgage brokers, etc.)
• Prepare your offer and handle all of the paperwork
• Play a significant role in the negotiations of your final deal

Fortunately, working with a real estate agent won’t cost you anything, as the seller typically pays the real estate commission.

When choosing an agent to work with, be sure to select one who is familiar with the area in which you are looking. It is equally important that the agent has plenty of experience and good reviews. Personal referrals from other home buyers are usually the best way to select an agent.

Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Once you have a clear understanding of your finances, it is time to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

You will need to provide the following information to your lender:
• Your income
• Your debt
• A list of all assets in your name
• Credit check

After a qualified lending professional has verified your information, your pre-approval will be confirmed.

The lender will work with you to put together the best loan for your situation.

Be Familiar with the Seller Disclosure Statement Requirements

Pennsylvania state law requires that the seller provide a declaration of the property’s physical condition.

Specific material defects covered under this form include:
• Property contents (i.e., appliances, etc.) needing repairs or replacements
• Inclusion of working smoke detectors
• Defects in any system (i.e., plumbing, electric, etc.)
• Deed restrictions
• Homeowner’s association fees
• Miscellaneous property details (i.e., structural additions, roof maintenance, type of sewage system, etc.)

As a buyer, seller disclosures are critical. Merely looking at a property isn’t enough to uncover every potential problem or issue.

However, you should not consider the seller disclosure to be a complete guide of the property’s condition, either.

In addition to providing a disclosure statement, the seller must comply with federal Title X disclosures regarding lead-based paint and hazards if the home was built before 1978.