This page contains some information on getting the most out of the home buying process. Here you will find tips on finding the right home, what to consider when looking, and how I or any other Licensed Realtor can help you.
While I can offer you professional assistance every step of the way, only you can determine what is important to you when looking for your new home. Here are some tips to keep in mind as we begin your search:
Do you prefer a certain type of design, such as contemporary or southwestern? What are your bathroom, bedroom, and garage space needs? Is a pool a priority?
Most buyers’ main consideration is price. Make sure that you can comfortably manage the monthly payments. Set aside cash for moving expenses and post-buying costs.
The size and age of your family, your income, your commute (if applicable), and your personal preferences should all come together when we’re looking for the right neighborhood. How accessible are major roads? What kind of route would you need to take to work? If you have children in school, is there a good bus route? Does the municipality provide public services, such as street cleaning and trash collection, for free? How do the taxes compare to other areas?
While a thorough home inspection will reveal the home’s condition, considerations such as a new roof, electrical and plumbing upgrades, and efficiency of heating and cooling should be given a lot of weight.
If technology and entertainment are important to you, you will want to make sure that the home contains a few features, or that adding these features in the future won’t be a hassle. Are there enough jacks in every room for cable TV, internet hookups, and telephones? Does the home have wiring in place for DSL or cable internet, home theater, multiroom audio or video, or multiroom lighting controls? Does it have a programmable thermostat?
Walk around the neighborhoods that you’re looking at. Are the homes tidy and well-maintained? Are the streets quiet? What is the percentage of homes to apartments? Strike up a conversation about the neighborhood with people working or playing outdoors.
This is certainly important if you have children that will be in school, but it also affects the resale value. The department of education of the town can probably provide information on the schools, such as test scores and college attendance percentage. If you have children that are of school age, personally visit the schools for the neighborhoods you’re considering. Also, check out SchoolMatters.com.
Since most first-time homebuyers expect to purchase a bigger and better home someday, resale value should be an important factor in the decision-making process. Consider the following:
Buying a home can be one of the most confusing and stressful times of your life, but it doesn’t have to be. In addition to letting your Realtor take care of the stressful, tedious, or technical parts, here are some tips to help you get the most out of buying a home and be happy throughout the whole process.
Find a real estate agent that you can connect with. Buying a home is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s important that the Realtor you choose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality.
There is no “right” time to buy, just as there is no perfect time to sell. If you find a home you love now, don’t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer – you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. The housing market usually doesn’t change fast enough to make that much of a difference in price over a reasonable time frame, and a good home won’t be on the market for very long.
Accept that no house is perfect. If it’s in the right location, the kitchen might not be what you had hoped. The yard might be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Only you can decide what your priorities are when it comes to buying a home, and you should strive to strike the best balance that you can.
Get to know a bit of the lingo. Look over the real estate glossary on this site. You don’t have to feel like you’re in over your head because people are using terms that you’re not familiar with.
Don’t try to be an unmovable negotiator. While negotiation is an integral part of the home buying process, trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or refusing to budge on your offer might cost you the home you love. Negotiation is both give and take. Remember the balance from above.
Plan ahead. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a moving schedule. Presenting an offer that is dependent on a lot of unresolved factors will make your bid less attractive to a seller.
Factor in the costs that come after buying the home. There will always be costs after the initial purchase of the house, such as upgrades and repairs. Even if the home you buy is brand new, maintenance must still be taken into account. Planning ahead for this will benefit you greatly.
Accept buyer’s remorse as inevitable. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment, but it also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the home you bought.
With multiple offers being commonplace, it is of great importance that you have the best chance of getting yours accepted. You can take the following steps to give yourself the best chance possible. Your Realtor will be able to help you do these quickly and easily, and he or she will help you make some of the decisions that are needed.
Get pre-qualified for your purchase. This takes very little time and is based on unverified information. This identifies the price range for which you qualify and which fits your lifestyle.
Get pre-approved for the purchase. This takes a bit more time but is of much greater value. This is based on verified information and credit approval.
Submit a competitive offer. Decide your offer as though there are many other people vying for the property you want. Chances are, there will be.
Include substantial earnest money deposit. Acceptance of an offer is sometimes determined by the amount of the deposit. A larger amount will probably signify a bigger commitment in the eyes of the seller.
Minimize or eliminate contingencies. The fewer contingencies, the stronger the offer.
Make a buyer profile available. Include time on the job, flexibility, reason for purchasing the seller’s home, etc.
Be prepared to preview a new property quickly. Homes can sometimes sell in hours. Be prepared to make decisions quickly and be able to change the terms instantly.
Not all real estate practitioners are Realtors. The term is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional that has taken steps to become a member of the National Association of Realtors. It also signifies that the agent subscribes to the strict code of ethics of the Association. A Realtor can do a lot:
You’ll have an expert to guide you through the buying process. Buying or selling a home requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, settlement statements, and a myriad of other paperwork and requirements. A knowledgeable expert will handle these, prepare you for the best deal, and avoid costly delays and mistakes. A Realtor is already familiar with the current real estate values, taxes, costs, and municipal services that apply to your situation. In addition, a Realtor can even help you through the process of applying for a loan.
You’ll get objective information and opinions. A Realtor can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more, as well as objective information about each property you look at. A Realtor will be able to help you answer both whether the property will provide the environment you want for a home or investment, and whether the property will have the resale value you want when you’re ready to sell.
Find the best property you can. Not all properties are actively advertised on the market. You Realtor can find all available properties so you can really pick the one that’s best for you. Your Realtor will show you only the properties best suited to your needs, taking into account such things as size, style, features, location, schools, transportation, shopping, and whatever else you might specify.
We have negotiating experience, and that’s a great benefit to have on your side. The number of negotiating factors is large, including (but certainly not limited to) price, financing, terms, dates, repairs, furnishings, and equipment. In addition, the purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete inspections and investigations of the property. Your Realtor can advise you about which inspections and investigations are recommended and required.
Real estate means referrals. Many homes do not sell due to just advertising alone. A large share of real estate sales come as a result of an agent’s contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, and family. Having a Realtor means instantly expanding your network.
Real estate has its own language. While I do provide a handy glossary of real estate terms, the language goes much deeper. If you don’t know a CMA from a PUD, you can understand why it is important to work with a professional who is immersed in the field every day.
Realtors have done it before. Most people buy and sell only a few homes in a lifetime, with quite a few years in between each purchase. And even if you’ve done it before, laws and regulations change. That’s why I make a constant effort to continue my real estate education whenever possible. A Realtor will handle hundreds of real estate transactions over their career. Having an expert on your side is critical.
Buying and selling homes is emotional. A home is not just walls, appliances, and a roof – a home symbolizes family, rest, comfort, memories, and security. Because of this, buying or selling a home can be a very emotional process. Since it’s usually the biggest purchase that most people ever make, it’s important to have an objective third party that is looking out for you. A Realtor will do all the busy work so you can stay focused on the issues important to you.
Ethics. Every member of the National Association of Realtors makes a commitment to adhere to a strict code of ethics, based on professionalism and protection of the public. Every Realtor is required to know and act upon this code, and it’s mandatory for us to complete a refresher course every four years. With a Realtor, you can expect nothing but honest and ethical treatment in all aspects of the process – not only to yourself, but to every party involved in the transaction.