Home Buying Tips
Here are a few tips to help you on the path to success.
Have a Game Plan
Knowing what you want and how to get there are the keys to being successful at just about anything. Take the time to plan your work and work your plan. Think through the reasons for buying your home so that you are better able to make the right decision when the time comes. Identify your goals in your home purchase and your timeframe for the purchase. Chart a path for success.
Find and Hire a Buyer’s Agent
Although it is much easier to buy a home today, it is still very important to have a Real Estate professional guide you through the complex process of buying a house. A good buyer’s agent can help you find the right home and make sure that you are prepared to purchase it. In addition, they can help you determine the offering price and negotiate the contract so that you may obtain the property at the best possible price. They can assist and advise you through the entire process up through the Closing. Typically, in residential real estate transactions, the Seller’s side still pays the buyer agent’s commission. It only makes sense to have a Real Estate professional as your Buyer’s Agent. Someone who will act as your advocate and provide you with professional and knowledgeable advice as you navigate through one of the most important purchases of your life.
Before you start out on a search for a new home, it is an excellent idea to meet with a mortgage lender. A mortgage lender can prepare a “pre-approval” letter for your future purchase. This will accomplish two things. First, it will let you know how much you can afford. Second, when it comes time to make an offer on the home of your dreams, a pre-approval letter will generally be required by the Seller or their Agent to show proof of your ability to pay.
Determine what matters most
Once you know how much you want to spend on a home purchase, make a list of the most important features you must have. These can include location, number of bedrooms and baths, garage, basement, sunroom, etc. These features should be placed on a list in order of importance. Your buyer’s agent can set up an email update from the local Multiple Listing Service (“MLS”) that will send you the newest listings as they come on the market based on your criteria. By narrowing your search to the MOST important features, you’ll save yourself time and make the decision process easier.
Negotiate to win
As soon as you’ve decided on the home you want to purchase, you’ll need to determine what items, if any, you’ll want to negotiate. Knowing what is most important to you will lead to successful negotiations. Remember, price is not the only thing that can be negotiated. Some Sellers may be hard set on a price but willing to make concessions, such as paying for all or some of your closing costs, throwing in appliances, making allowances for carpeting or painting, etc. Make a list with your Buyer’s Agent of items you may want to negotiate in order of their importance. Generally, negotiations take place between the Buyer’s Agent and the Listing Agent, but are agreed upon by the Buyer and the Seller.
Get a Home Inspection
Your Offer to Purchase and Contract should include a contingency for a home inspection as well as other inspections such as termite, mold or pool. A home inspection is a critical piece of the home buying process. As your Buyer's Agent, I can recommend qualified home inspectors who will inspect your home to identify any problems or potential problems with the home. This is the time to discover any hidden defects in the property that could affect the value of the property. Your home inspector will prepare a detailed written report complete with photographs, summarizing all existing problems or potential problems. From this report, you can determine what repairs you will ask the Seller to make and these will be negotiated between Buyer and Seller.
Stay on Top of the Process
Once the Offer to Purchase and Contract has been signed and executed, there is much work to be done. In North Carolina, we have a Due Diligence period. During this time, the Buyer must do due diligence and evaluate the property so as to make the decision to go forward with the purchase or not. To assist in this process, I can recommend various professionals such as home inspectors, termite inspectors, contractors and other service providers who can shed light on the condition of the property and what it may take to repair it. While making sure all contingency deadlines are met and settlement occurs on the specified date are ultimately the Buyer's responsibility, I will assist you by educating you about the entire process and helping you make and meet a timeline for these deadlines.
As your Buyer’s Agent, I will make sure you have your moving plans in place as far in advance as possible. Depending upon the time of year, moving companies can be booked for weeks or months out. I will also help you coordinate with the Seller utility switchover dates so as to avoid reconnection fees. Basically, I will educate and alert you to everything that is involved in making your home purchase and move a successful one.