Get Pre-Approved for a loan.
This can often be the most over-looked, but most important step to buying a home. The bottom line is, unless you have cash to buy your dream home with, your dream home may not be in line with what a lender says you can afford. Getting pre-approved will allow you to determine where to start looking for a home, and what kind of negotiating power that you have.
FACT: Many home owners and real estate agents who are selling a home, will not even consider an offer on a home unless it is accompanied by a pre-approval letter from a lender or bank.
Thankfully, there are many resources and types of financing programs that home buyers have access to these days. Buyers can enlist the help of a licensed real estate agent, who will know several loan officers and mortgage brokers they can get you started with. What is great about using a licensed real estate agent to help you with the buying process, is that it will not cost you, the buyer, anything at all to tap into an agent's valuable expertise, knowledge and experience, due to the fact that the seller pays your agents commission.
Now that you have an idea of what you can afford in a house, you will want to establish exactly what it is that you want in a house. It might be a good idea right now, to write down a list of must have's and would be nice's. For instance consider the following:
FACT: Buyers can score real big gains here again by using a real estate agent. If you make up this list, and then have an agent look it over, they in turn can access the MLS (multiple listing service) searching only for what you want. Just like a search engine, where you can type in search words to narrow down the results to those web pages that are relevant to what you are looking for, the MLS allows a licensed real estate agent to find instantly only the homes that meet your exact specifications. Imagine being able to search through the entire city's homes for sale in just a few seconds, rather than spending weeks and weeks searching, only to be disappointed time and time again when you don't find what you want. And we can not reiterate this enough, because a seller pays the commissions of your agent, as a buyer it costs you nothing to take advantage of this valuable service, that only a licensed real estate agent can provide.
You have now been pre-approved for your loan, and you have set your priorities for what you must have in a home as well as what would be nice to have. Now it comes down to the knitty-gritty of actually looking at houses. Hopefully by now you have enlisted the help of an agent and your agent has a list of potential homes that meet your needs. If not, hopefully you have done some searching yourself, either by driving through several neighborhoods or scowering the newspaper and real estate circular ads.
Ideally, you will go to look at your first house, you will fall in love with it, and the seller will accept your first offer. Unfortunately, that probably only happens about .001% of the time. But keep an open mind when you see certain things that do not appeal to you. It is possible that underneath that peeling paint or yellow grass is in fact, your perfect home.
Try to keep in mind the difference between style and substance. In other words if the house meets your substance needs like the location, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, big or small yard, two car garage, country kitchen etc., then even if the style elements do not meet your needs (flooring, paint color, window treatments, landscaping etc.) these can always be changed later to satisfy your preferences in taste.
Keep in mind that if you enlisted a real estate agents help, they will be looking for your best interests, that is their job. They will be able to point out potential problems and things to beware of. (For instance, is the asking price on the home your are interested in reasonably priced, comparable to the current sales of similar homes in the neighborhood?)This holds true even on new housing tracks. An agent will be able to see any difficulties with home owners associations, possible litigations against the builder, or other matters not commonly known, and best of all, a builder will pay your agents commission without raising the price of the new home.
Congratulations! Now that you have found your ideal home, if you are using a licensed real estate agent, there may be little left for you to worry about at this point. Having an agent in your corner is the most powerful tool to have in the home buying experience. No wonder that well over 70% of buyers at any given time work with an agent.
if you would like a qualified agent to get started
looking for your dream home right away!
Remember the seller pays the commissions, as a buyer, a real estate agent's expertise costs YOU nothing!
We have by no means covered the entire scope of what is involved with buying real estate. However, this should have got you thinking along the right direction. If you need a more in-depth discussion feel free to contact us. You may either call or e-mail the sponsors of this page to receive free consultation or if we can answer any of your questions.