Here are some helpful and realistic tips to buying a home.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage
Getting a mortgage pre-approval will save yourself the grief of looking at homes you can’t afford and put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right one. Don’t just get pre-qualified for a mortgage, which is based on a quick review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history.
Make sure you are working with a good lender
Getting a mortgage is a very important part of the equation. Make sure you are working with someone reputable, preferably in the area that you are buying. When I deal with buyers who are using out of town banks there are typically more snags in the transacation.
Learn the market
Do your homework on where you plan to buy. Visit Realtor websites and search through the properties for sale. Most Realtor websites offer free access to the MLS. Use it and see what is out there. Become educated on the market. Here in Sarasota, Florida I get many requests from people who want to buy a beachfront condo overlooking the water for about half of what they cost. It does not exist. Be realistic about what you can get in your price range. Realtors are not magicians. We just show you what is for sale and do not dictate market prices.
Be realistic about home prices
Since you learned the market you should know not to look for the property that does not exist. I am not saying just accept a sellers price. Once you learn the market you can determine which properties are overpriced, underpriced or priced just right.
Hire a professional Realtor
Your time is very valuable. Hiring a real estate agent will save you time a money. Driving around aimlessly on weekends and scanning the weekend newspaper is time consuming. Find, preferably through referral, a professional, full time Realtor that knows the market and you will save yourself tons of time and energy.
With a hot real estate market comes a rise in the number of Realtors. Many of them are part time. Make sure you hire someone who can adequately handle your transaction.
Don’t try to find the deal of the century
I see too many people try to find homes undervalued or a “steal”. They have waited on the sidelines for a long time looking for that deal of the century. In the mean time home prices have been going up. These people would have made out better if they just picked out the best home in their price range that suited their needs.
Hire a home inspector
This is typically the largest purchase you ever going to make. Spend a few extra bucks and get a home inspection. It could save you alot of money in the long run.
Don’t Let Your Emotions Take Over
Keep a cool head during the entire home buying process, especially during and after a home inspection. Be realistic. No home is perfect, especially older homes. It’s not unusual for new owners to take care of some repairs themselves. Don’t let the seller’s refusal to do a small repair kill the deal on a home you truly love.
On the other hand, don’t fall so much in love with the house that you’ll buy it no matter what needs to be done–unless you’re sure you can handle it emotionally and financially. Decide what type of repairs you can realistically tackle, then stick with the decision.
Work with a good attorney or title company
There are alot of people that go into handling the purchase and sale of a home. Any one of these parties can foul up the transacation. Get referrals to find good people to work with.
About the author: Marc Rasmussen, Realtor in Sarasota, Florida and deals with home buyers frequently.