Be a Smart Buyer- Hints for MOVERS and Shakers

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams

You've heard everybody saying that it's a great time to buy, right?
It is certainly a buyer's market currently, but you can still make some costly mistakes, if you don't know what you're doing.
Here are a few buyer basics to keep in mind while you're out looking for your dream home.

1) Don't move money around when you're in the process of buying a home. Banks want to see a very stable financial picture, and they need to track where your money has been the past few months. Don't take money out of your 401K and put it into your savings account. It's like fooling yourself into thinking you have more available funds than you really do.

2) Get a pre-approval letter from your lender, not just a pre-qualification. When you have been pre-approved for a certain amount of money, it's like shopping with cash. It puts you in the best possible negotiating position, especially if you are in a bidding war. Sellers want buyers who are ready to close.

3) Keep your credit impeccable. This seems like a no-brainer, but don't charge anything more on your credit card. Lenders will be checking your credit score right up to closing day, and in the long term, you just don't want to start off with too much debt!

4) Watch out for arbitrary fees in your mortgage documents, such as document processing, courier fees, postage, etc. Don't be afraid to check with your realtor and lender about anything you don't understand.

5) Avoid boundary disputes- get a survey. I always advise my clients to buy that extra piece of mind that a survey provides. Just because someone said the property line is "just behind those trees", doesn't make it so. A survey is very good preventive medicine!

6) Don't try to time the market. Nobody knows when the market is at its lowest point. We can only determine the bottom after things start moving upward, and then we're not at the bottom anymore! The best time for you to buy is when you find your perfect home at a price you can afford. Sometimes we make money going IN to a house, and sometimes we make money going OUT. Rarely are we lucky enough to catch both sides of that equation.

I could go on and on with things to keep in mind when you're buying a home, but here is a really good tip.....When you are about to move into a new area, spend some time stalking the neighborhood! No, not illegal stalking, but rather, walking around, checking things out at different times of the day and evening, so you can get a better feel for things.

Can you think of any other good tips? Something that helped you during the buying process?
Please comment! We'd love to hear from you!

Rates are great, so don't be late!


Comments (2)

Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT


This is excellent advice.  I'm going to add the boundary survey to my Buyer's checklist and ask every Seller whether they have one.  The plot plans that I get from the city records are not a substitute. 

I also recommend to my clients that they check the area around the house at different times of day and night as well as weekdays and weekends.

I encourage my buyers to get a pre-approval letter from a lender or mortgage broker who will be flexible enough to rewrite the letter to the amount of our written offer.  I don't want to show our bottom line to the seller.

Apr 12, 2009 11:48 PM
Linda Schulte
Keller Williams - Alpharetta, GA

Hi Gail,

Thanks!  Good tip about the approval letter re-write, too!

Have a great week!


Apr 13, 2009 01:35 AM