The process of buying a home can be a time consuming and emotional undertaking. With the variety of homes available in any given real estate market, it can be a difficult process to best gauge the home that is suited to your needs. In an attempt to simplify the process, here are some things to remember when considering the purchase of a new home.
One of the most important aspects of purchasing a home is ensuring that your finances are in order before the process begins. The first step is to research lenders that are operating in your area. Do your homework, find the lender that suits your lifestyle and with whom you trust. Giving this the proper attention can benefit you in the long run. It will also encourage you to shop around and compare the different mortgages that are available in your area. It is also a good idea to figure out how much you can afford on a monthly basis in terms of mortgage payments. Having a number in mind at the outset, and communicating this to the lender can assist in getting you the mortgage that you want. Finally, one of the most important steps in the financing process is to get your mortgage pre-approved. Having a full pre-approval, (not just a quick qualification) allows you the freedom to shop for a home, confident in the knowledge that when you find that perfect property, an offer can be made without complications. This also gives the buyer power in the negotiation process as it shows the seller that your offer is serious and has the financial backing necessary for a quick and hassle free closing. It will also help guide your Realtor to the homes you can afford.
Once the financing is in place, take some time to research the area where you want to live. This is a great time to consider schools, services, amenities and other necessities of life. Remember that the neighborhood where the home is located is an integral part of the home's value. This is also a good time to review the list of your wants in relation to the home that is ideal for you. Prioritize your needs and wants and know which ones you would be willing to sacrifice if the need arises.
If you are ready to make an offer on a home at this point, sit down with your Realtor and discuss your options. How much is a fair offer for the home in question? Look at the other recent sales (Comps) in the area. It is affordable to you, the buyer? Take into account the possibility that you may be outbid if the home is a desirable one. This is a great time to discuss your bidding strategy with your Realtor and set a "high point" for what you are willing to pay for the home. Hopefully your offer will be accepted and you will be spared the emotionally charged process of bidding against another prospective buyer.
If your offer is accepted, you will then need to have a proper home inspection performed. This is critical. It is a good idea to add a subject or two to the purchase contract, the most important being "Subject to the home passing an inspection." If a home is not inspected, the buyer could be in for real trouble. It is important to know as much as possible about the structural condition of the house before completing the purchase.
A good inspection will reveal imperfections in the house such as mold, water damage, improper building procedures and many other items. If possible, you should be there for the inspection and ask the inspector as many questions as you can. After all, this is going to be your home and you should know its condition prior to closing on the sale. What might need ongoing maintenance? What needs to be repaired or replaced prior to close of sale? What needs attention in the near future? Things like this can affect your offer price, and if there are things that require immediate replacement they can be utilized as bargaining points during negotiation. Consult with your Realtor in how to handle the negotiations as related to repairs.
Assuming that your offer has been accepted by the seller, your lender will likely require you to secure home insurance. This is another area where it is a good idea to shop around to see what you can find. With numerous companies and policies available, take your time and find the one that best suits your needs, wants, and financial ability. Now the final step of the buying process can occur - Closing. It is here where the final agreements are signed, and finalized. Then the actual property transfer takes place and all that remains is for you to enjoy your new home!
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