Whether you are buying your first home, or your fifth, the process of buying a home is a detailed, time-consuming venture. At the same time, it’s an emotional period laden with difficult choices. You want to ensure that the home you purchase meets your family’s needs now, and in the future.
Each of these decisions often involves money. When you consider all that money represents, you’ll want to ensure that you don’t pay too much. This article helps you become a savvy buyer, by pointing out some of the pitfalls inherent in the home-buying process. These include such things as knowing what you want before you begin shopping, taking your time to shop, choosing the right realtor, and remaining objective while viewing potential homes. With this information, you’ll be closer to finding your ideal home.
1. Before you shop, develop a needs vs. wants list
Everyone has a picture of an ideal home. This would include all the features you not only need, but have long desired. However, when it comes time to buying a home, the desires cost more. While it’s nice to think about having a beautifully landscaped backyard, or a solarium, perhaps even some built-in appliances, these are usually considered luxury items, which can add considerably to the price of your home.
That’s why it’s a good idea to develop a needs and wants lists. With this list, begin with items you really need like adequate space, garage and number of bedrooms. For most people, basic needs should be considered first. After that, you could consider additional desires, if you can manage these benefits financially.
With such a list in your hands, you’re less likely to be caught up in the excitement of the pursuit. You’ll have a good idea of what you want, within you price range, and if you can afford those additional items.
2. Get pre-approved prior to shopping
Visit your financial or lending institution prior to home buying. Quickly, you’ll know the amount of mortgage you’ll receive. Be sure to get a mortgage commitment in writing. Most importantly, you’ll tell sellers that you are a serious prospect. Depending upon market conditions, a seller may lean towards an unconditional offer. You’ll have less negotiating power if you have to wait for mortgage approval.
Banks and financial institutions have developed many programs especially for home buyers, be that first-time buyers or those with equity in their homes. When you review your needs and objectives with a lending officer, you’ll be one step closer to purchasing your home.
#3 Choose your winning team
Buying a home is a complicated process, with many people involved. From choosing the right mortgage, to finding a home inspector, to viewing available properties, there are many steps involved for even the hardiest person. With a professional realtor on your side, you’ll have access to these services, already in place, and highly recommended. A good agent has the knowledge and experience developed from many years of helping both buyers and sellers. During this time they have developed a network of people, from lenders, lawyers, home inspectors and movers, to assist both home buyers and sellers.
#4 Communicate clearly with your Realtor
Spending time with your Realtor will reap huge dividends. When you have a clear picture of the type of home you’re looking for, your Realtor can come closer to finding the home you want. You won’t waste time looking at homes that don’t match your needs.
#5 It’s still true – location, location, location
You’ve heard it so many times, that it’s probably starting to sound like a broken record. That’s because it’s true! A home is not a stand alone item. Rather the value of a home is greatly affected by the surrounding homes. Don’t let your emotions determine your purchase. Think resale. The desirability and resale value of your home depends largely on location more than any other factor. People want a desirable community that includes character, quality of schools, access to work, major transportation arteries, recreational facilities, etc.
On your viewing trips, take a careful look and ask the following questions: How does this home compare to others in the neighborhood? Are yards fenced? Are there many children playing in the streets? Are front and backyards and the exterior of the homes properly maintained?
Walk around the neighborhood and get a feel for the people living in the area. You may want to speak with a few neighbors to get their comments. If you like the community, carefully examine the home you like. Generally speaking, extremely large homes surrounded by smaller homes tend to appreciate less than a large home among other large homes. Alternatively, the smallest home in the neighborhood tends to stand out by the other homes on the block. Sometimes, it could take a bit longer to sell a smaller home, as some people are reluctant to pay extra for the neighborhood.
Additional factors that affect the property value of a home include traffic, sounds, smells, zoning bylaws. Be objective. Don’t rely too heavily on your emotions. Be sure you are completely satisfied with the neighborhood. If you choose a neighborhood with problems, you likely won’t get as much as you hoped when it comes time to sell.
More tips to come…