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15 Smart Ways to Save When You’re Buying a Home

Real estate is a huge investment, prepare yourself with some pointers before you purchase the house of your dreams.

Save on a home loan

1. Think ahead: If you’re planning on looking for a home in the next six months, fill out a pre-approval application with your chosen lender to uncover any credit issues that might impede your chances of getting the right-size loan.

2. Get a good broker: Brokers can help you find the best deals, and they’re usually paid by the bank -- not you -- so they’re especially helpful for first-time buyers who are finding their way.

3. Take advantage of a low interest rate: If you’re buying a home when the interest rate is “historically low,” opt for a fixed mortgage so you can lock in that rate.

4. Save for a down payment: Strive to put down at least 20 percent, even if that means you have to lower your standards a bit or wait a little longer to buy. You’ll feel the benefit each time you’re able to comfortably make your payment each month.

5. Be sharp on points: A “point” is 1 percent of the loan amount paid up front to the lender to “purchase” a lower interest rate. Unless you plan to own your new home for only a few years, paying points will help you save big bucks in the long run.

Consider these potential deal breakers carefully

1. Deal breaker #1: Bad plumbing. Ever see the damage a burst pipe can do? Ripping out pipes and replacing walls and flooring because of leaks can cost you tons. If you discover novice plumbing, keep house hunting.

2. Deal breaker #2: Bad wiring. Novice wiring presents a higher risk of shorts, which can lead to sparks and fires. Keep an eye out for exposed wiring in the basement; it’s a red flag.

3. Deal breaker #3: Asbestos. By now, everyone knows how devastating asbestos is.

4. Deal breaker #4: Buried oil tank.

5. Deal breaker #5: Bad school district.

Save on homeowners insurance

1. Shop around: Get quotes from at least three companies and compare them. Visit the website of the Insurance Information Institute (http://www.iii.org/) for info about companies and their policies so you can narrow down your choices.

2. Opt for a high deductible: The higher your deductible, the lower your premiums (the rate you pay each month).

3. Lump insurance policies: See if you can obtain a better rate by getting your home and auto insurance from the same company.

4. Improve your home security: Insurance companies offer discounts for security features like burglar alarms, smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors, and sprinkler systems. See which companies offer the best discounts and find out specifically which systems qualify before making the investment.

5. Get a loyalty discount: Many insurance companies offer lower premiums as a reward for your loyalty. Compare discounts for long-term policyholders before committing to one company.

-- The Nest Editors