Don’t Forget These Basics of Buying a House?
It is wise to work closely with your real estate agent, no matter what type of property you’re looking for. A knowledgeable real estate agent will make your house-hunting much easier. A good real estate agent is usually a good negotiator, and will be able to help you with the complicated paperwork involved in placing an offer on a house or in closing a deal.
It’s essential that you have a real estate agent working for you as the buyer, rather than relying on the seller’s agent for the house you want to buy. The latter can involve a conflict of interest, which usually works to your disadvantage.
Before embarking on your journey of house hunting, you must know what you really want to find. Sit down with pen and paper and list all the features you care most about, such as:
- Location (in a particular city, school district or neighborhood)
- Size (how many bedrooms and bathrooms)
- Parking (a one-car garage or two?)
- Style (two-story or ranch-style home?)
- Heating (central heating and/or air conditioning?)
Equally important, list all of the features you absolutely do not want in a house.
- High-traffic area
- High-noise area (airport, train station or highway in close proximity)
- Maintenance (major repairs needed)
As you look at houses, keep both lists in mind. Your lists may change over time as you do more house hunting. You’ll want to add or remove features, or perhaps you’ll become willing to make compromises. Realize that you most likely will not find the perfect home. Experienced homebuyers will tell you, perfect homes are not found, they are made perfect through hard work.
Prior to looking at properties with your real estate agent, you may want to get your finances in order. This is the time to review your credit report and clean it up, if need be, to maximize your credit score. Many people do not realize how important it is to check your credit report periodically to make sure it is accurate. You should pay off any past due amounts, or negotiate a settlement price to close the debt. Get such agreements in writing, before paying any settlement. Keep all receipts for any settled items from your credit report, since it may take months to get the debt actually removed.
You’re ready now to find a lender and get yourself pre-approved for the loan. Being pre-approved offers a number of advantages. It will clarify the price range you can afford. Also, once your agent has helped you find the home you want, you can place an immediate offer. If you have to wait for pre-approval, someone could buy the house out from under you.
These are just the basics of home buying. You will find many details you need to master as you move through the buying process, but having these basics under your belt will give you a head start.