Seven Tips For A Successful Buying Experience

With Spring officially here, the real estate market is in full swing. The process can seem overwhelming, and assumptions can be expensive. So take the time to understand everything, and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions!  Work with a Realtor and a mortgage lender that will help you achieve your goals.  If you are planning to make a purchase this season, follow these seven simple steps, and you will be firmly on the path headed towards the house of your dreams!

1.  Get preapproved, not disappointed:

Before you even start looking at homes, it is paramount that you speak with a lender and get preapproved.  Sellers want to see a preapproval letter when you make an offer, so you will need it anyway.  Why scramble around at the last minute to get a lender letter after an open house on Sunday?  Trust me, that’s not always easy to do!  Plus, it is better to know exactly what you can afford from the get go.  Why waste time looking at houses that are way out of your price range?  Nothing will measure up after you have fallen in love with a house that’s over your budget.  Furthermore, some buyers will find incorrectly reported credit issues that need resolution, and that takes time.  If you get a head start on the loan process, you will save yourself unnecessary disappointment and be ahead of the competition!

2.  Understand the home loan process:

Don’t change or quit your job.  Yes, buyers have actually done this before and not understood why this would adversely affect a loan.  Don’t make large purchases either.  Buy the new car you’ve been eyeing after settlement!  And don’t apply for a whole bunch of new credit during the loan process thereby racking up credit inquiries.  Lenders perform a soft pull just before closing, and if there are any significant changes in your credit report from the time you submitted your formal loan application, your loan may not go through.  It is not a done deal until it closes!

3.  Make a wish list:

This is the fun part!  I usually tell my buyers that we will focus on their top three wishes.  Wish lists aren’t set in stone, but they can be extremely helpful in setting priorities. We always have to make compromises, so it is useful to know ahead of time where you are willing to make them.  Equally important is to know what your deal breakers are.  Think about why you are moving and what you truly want in your next home.

4.  Don’t lack vision and certainly don’t buy into a manufactured one:

Look beyond wallpaper, ugly carpets and dirty dishes in the sink. These are all cosmetic and easily changed.  If you are open to renovating, you may even score a great value on a property others have overlooked. Buying a diamond in the rough may be the only option to securing a deal in a Seller’s market.

Everyone wants the perfectly renovated and staged home.  Staging adds the “wow factor,” and for that, you will pay a premium.  And none of the furniture and art will convey!  Look beyond sexy staging to the bones of the home.

5.  Read and understand HOA and/or Condo Docs:

These are a week’s worth of boring reading for people who mostly aren’t prepared or qualified to read the legal jargon.  It’s all too easy to skim the docs or worse yet, give up all together.  What’s in these documents is information that is both vital to your budget and your comfort in your new home.

If you are not prepared to read the documents, hire an attorney to read everything and explain the pertinent information in plain English.  Also, don’t forget to request a copy of the last year’s minutes as they may include information regarding upcoming expenses that have not yet been approved and thus, will not yet be found in the budget.

6.  Make your offer in accordance with current market conditions:

Don’t lowball in a hot market.  Forget about asking for too much in concessions and be willing to give a little bit.  Otherwise, you will not secure a new house very easily.

On the flip side, don’t be scared to negotiate in a Buyer’s market, no matter how badly you want the house.  There’s no need to give away money you don’t need to.

7.  The inspection report may not be as bad as it looks:

How about those humongous home inspection photos that make even the tiniest problem look massive? They’re enough to disturb even the most level-headed buyer.  The inspector is being paid to be nit-picky and, thus, the report may be quite lengthy and the photos may be frightening and misleading.  There is no need to freak out over a plate-less electrical outlet, and many larger problems can be dealt with through further negotiations with the Seller.

Take the time to understand the process and you will pave your way to a smoother transaction and hopefully, many happy years in your new home.  Remember to have fun.  Good luck!!

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