Looking to buy a home? Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.
Get your finances in order.
Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house.
Find a house you can afford.
As with engagement rings, there’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to buying a home: two-and-a-half times your annual salary. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Don’t forget, too, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc.
Hire a professional.
While the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise you can’t pick up from surfing the web. That’s why you’re better off using a professional agent than going it alone. Professional representation by a Buyer Agent is the best bargain in town! You do not pay for their services but have an expert to lead you to properties that suit your requirements and to be at your side throughout the entire transaction…showings, inspections, appraisal, title and walk-through.
Do your homework.
Before making an offer, do some research to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? Next, look at sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at prices for the last few months. Come up with an asking price that’s competitive, but also realistic. Otherwise, you may end up ticking off your seller.
Think long term.
Keep your exit strategy in mind as you look for a home. Is the property likely to sell for a profit when you are ready to sell? What are the factors that most buyers in that market value and how does this property measure up to them? When it comes to the house itself, you should hire your own home inspector, who can point out potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future. A Home Warranty is an excellent tool to consider and you may be able to get the Seller to provide one for the first year.