Smart buyer procedureBottom Highlights, Latest Issue, Real Estate Thursday, August 17th, 2017
We’re all so real estate savvy these days. Like so many things that have become easier with the advent of web marketing, buying a home is as easy as pie. We can shop to our heart’s content at two in the morning, and get all kinds of data on recent sales, the best neighborhoods, all the amenities in our preferred areas etc.
We all want to get the best house at the very best price in the best neighborhood. But we are competing against lots of other smart, informed prospective buyers. So having all our ducks in order and enlisting the aid of a top real estate agent can’t hurt, can it?
In the service of making you the smartest buyer, here are our best tips in getting ahead and making the best move.
1. Information is power so do your homework. Not only shop the real estate sites looking at houses currently on the market, but check the sold properties too. Most sites will tell you the days on market and this is super useful info. These properties that haven’t moved are probably getting ready for a price reduction and you might just be the one to cash in.
2. Now that you’ve seen all the pretty pictures, let’s not get too carried away. You’ve got to know your budget and you determine this by knowing first what you can comfortably afford as a down payment, and assume it will be 5 percent to 20 percent of what you can buy. Make an appointment with a mortgage broker or speak to one online. Lay out your cash position, your income and other assets and liabilities. You will find out what you qualify for and if you’re ready to do some serious house shopping, you can request and get a pre-qualification letter from a lender.
3. Funtime. Looking at some nice houses, hopefully on your budget. Get yourself a good real estate agent to help you in your search and contemplate the options. It’s wise to really narrow down the search and avoid wild goose chases – houses that are too expensive or not in your preferred zone. There’s no need to run your agent ragged, though being open minded about style is generally a good idea. You may fall in love with a place that’s not usually in your aesthetic framework. It’s fun to be genuinely surprised. Every house is really unique.
4. You’ve found one that appeals and feel ready to make an offer. Before you do, make another visit; it’s always good to get a second opinion. This time, look more closely. Open the windows and run the shower. Check the noise and possible annoyances on all four sides. Really give the place a good long look.
5. Your agent will advise you on the particular market conditions and recent sales of comparable properties. Follow his/her lead and make a reasonable offer. Unless there are conditions that warrant a big reduction in price, you’ll probably land somewhere between 95 percent and 100 percent of asking. In highly competitive markets, your agent might even suggest a price somewhat higher than asking. Be prudent, but realistic.
6. When your offer is accepted, it’s time for that home inspection and shopping for the best mortgage. Make sure your contract includes those important contingencies. The type of loan you select depends on your individual profile and how long you plan to own the property. There are lots of choices, even loans that will help you to renovate should that be necessary. Your home inspection may uncover significant issues that require you renegotiate your offer, but you are protected by your contingency.
7. If all goes as hoped, you will move gracefully to closing, usually within 30 to 45 days. The Truth in Lending Act/Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act assures that all buyers will be afforded a disclosure statement listing all the terms of their loans. This is good news for the consumer and an important protection.
So there you have it, a relatively simple procedure to make your home purchase smooth and rewarding. Happy hunting!
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