As every Realtor knows, each transaction is different. However, there are basics of buying that every buyer should know, regardless of whether it is a buyer’s market or a seller’s market. Choose a competent Realtor with whom you get along well. You will be spending a lot of time and energy together and it is important that you be compatible and trust each other. A Realtor will walk you through the home buying process and protect your interests. To understand more about why you should choose us, and our company check out the buying drop down menu that says “Why Choose Us?” .
Get your home loan started right away. Picture this scenario, you make an offer and you are pre-approved, but you get into a competing offer situation and another buyer really wants the house too…they even offer a higher price. Guess what, you were preapproved and they were only prequalified. The seller is much more confident that you can follow through on the purchase and accepts YOUR offer! This happens more than you realize. Do not miss the perfect house because of bad planning.
Keep in excellent contact with your lender and make sure you get the required documents to them as quickly as possible. Lenders will need all your financial information before they submit your package to underwriting for approval. Documents include a current credit report from all 3 credit reporting agencies, pay stubs, 2 years of tax returns, bank statements, proof of down payment, verifications of employment and anything else the lender deems necessary (this can be a large and varied amount of stuff, so the sooner you start the better).
Think about RESALE! There are basic features that effect resale. Location, floor plan, proximity to key features such as schools, businesses and industry, airports, and shopping as well as much, much more are factors that affect resale. Keep in mind, your agent ethically cannot comment on how great the schools are or how bad the neighborhood is. Do they want to? Absolutely! Agents care about these items themselves and want the very best for their client, but our Realtor boards and associations dictate what we can and cannot say. It is not because they are mean and nasty; it’s to protect the public. What if you were trying to sell your home and informed or uninformed agents kept saying the schools there are bad, or the crime is high and you couldn’t sell your home, or it drove your price down? Everyone has an opinion, but what you want are the FACTS. A good agent knows you care about these things and will be able to provide you with the resources to get the unbiased information and facts you need (local crime statistics, school rankings, etc).
A buyer can typically get either “price” or “terms” but not usually both. This means if a buyer wants to get a particular house for a rock bottom price, he should offer the seller whatever terms the seller is asking for. Such terms may include buying the property “as-is”, offering a very short inspection contingency period, coming in with a large down payment, not asking for seller financing, closing costs, or other terms.
If the buyer wants terms that are more advantageous to him, he should offer a higher price in return for concessions such as seller-paid points, closing costs/prepaids, repairs, or a quick closing. (Keep in mind that the importance of these variables may change depending on the type of real estate market you are experiencing.
Unless you are 1) very handy 2) can afford the cost of major repairs or 3) are getting the house at a very attractive price, you should think carefully about buying a house that needs expensive upgrades/repairs such as windows, new plumbing, new roof, new electrical, or major kitchen or bath remodels. These things can cost you tens of thousands of dollars. However, cosmetic upgrades like paint, carpet, and wallpaper are easily and inexpensively done and can contribute nicely to your “sweat equity.”
If the seller has not already done so, always get home inspections after making your offer. If the seller has inspection reports but you or your Realtor are not comfortable with the seller’s inspection then by all means, get your own home inspections. Sometimes you may wish to get your own inspections because the inspection company may not be reputable or their reports are suspicious. The few hundred dollars it will cost can save you many thousands down the road.