Research: The research involved isn't limited to understanding the buying process or projected purchase area. You also want to know as much as you can about the communities that you are interested in as well as specific properties that have caught your attention.
Agents Save: I cannot stress enough how difficult and stressful it can be to navigate your way through a real estate transaction without a professional. It can also end up being a financial burden. Yes, an agent will get a commission on your sale but the commission is probably significantly less that the money you could potentially lose because of inexperience and trying to negotiate on your own. An agent, such as myself, will be there to help you through the paperwork, offers, negotiations and closing costs.
Loan Pre-Approval: This is key. If you aren't pre-approved, you run the risk of finding your dream home but not being able to move forward because your approval comes too late. This also helps you set a realistic price range for your search.
Budget: Pre-approval will give you a clear idea of what your price range is and its important to stick to that. You need to consider the price of a home (obviously) but also things like HOA fees, closing costs, insurance costs and what the cost of your move looks like. This is a purchase that you will be reminded of on a daily basis. You want it to be a happy reminder, not something filled with angst and what ifs.
REALISTIC Wish List: Once you’ve got your budget situated, it is a lot easier to create your realistic wish list. Include your wants, needs, as well as a good picture of the home you are searching for. Its good to have “non-negotiables” on your list like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the style of home, garage size or pool.
Home Inspector: Home inspectors are as crucial to your home buying process as your real estate agent. Having a good home inspector can help avoid any expensive mishaps such as leaks or electrical malfunctions because it is their job to inspect your home and deem that it is in fact safe and sound. Your home inspector, whomever you choose, should be not only certified but also associated with a professional home inspector organization. Chances are that your real estate agent will have someone to direct you to for home inspections.
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