What should you know when buying a home? 9 articles that will help!

Reblogger Stacia McCallum
Real Estate Agent with Illustrated Properties

These are great steps to follow when buying a home... Great blog, please enjoy the very useful information!

Also, please read the blog I wrote entitled: Before You Buy Checklist



Original content by Susan Neal

What should you know when buying a home?  9 articles that will help!

Today I received an email from a first time buyer prospect who asked me if I would send her links to any articles on line that would educate her a bit on buying a home.  She prefers reading advice rather than hearing it, so she can read it slowly to make sure she understands and refer back to it when she has questions. 

She said there were lots of things on line, but she didn’t know which ones were accurate and which ones I would recommend.Not sure how best to buy a house?

Well, it just so happens that I have written dozens of articles with tips and advice for home buyers, and many of them can be found right here on my Active Rain blog!

Instead of making her search through my blog, I started reviewing my tags to find posts I wrote especially for buyers, and I am sending her links to those posts I think she will find most helpful for her situation.  Then we can discuss her questions when we meet and if she wants, I will email some more information to her (which will likely end up as a future blog post here).

If you are thinking of buying a home, here are links to some of my articles you may find helpful.  If you have questions not addressed here, let me know and I’ll be happy to answer them.


1.    Often buyers will ask me what is the best way to get a bargain when they are buying a home?  They may have read that the only bargains are bank-owned homes or short sales.  That is not necessarily true.  Most homes are priced similarly to comparable homes in the same area, no matter who is selling them. Also, and perhaps more importantly, what is your definition of a bargain?  This post will give you some things to think about to help you decide what your own definition of a bargain will be.  Buying a home?  10 tips for spotting a bargain.

2.    Most first time homebuyers are currently renting, and although they would like to own their own home, they fear that it will be too expensive.  I have in many cases sat with renters and gone over the cost of renting versus the cost of buying, and when tax considerationsFinding THE right home for you and other issues are factored in, there is no savings by renting in many cases.  The situation is even more in favor of buying now, since so many homes have gone into foreclosure.  Those homeowners are now I the rental market because it will be a few years before they can qualify for another home loan.  Rents have gone up as there are more people looking for rentals than there are homes to rent, and more competition for the units that are available.  This has been borne out by nationwide studies.  See:  First time buyers: cheaper to buy a home than to rent!

3.     Another issue faced by current renters is that more and more of them are finding themselves victims of foreclosures and short sales YOUR home is there - and you can find itby their landlords.  If you are renting a home and faithfully paying your rent but your landlord is unable to make the mortgage payments because he has lost his job for example, he may have to sell the property or undergo foreclosure.  In either instance, the new buyer of the property might want to move into it herself and you could be evicted.  Depending on the terms of your rental agreement, it could be with relatively short notice.  Maybe this would be another reason why you would rather be a homeowner instead of a renter.  You might find the discussion of interest in this article.  One idea to help innocent renters of foreclosed properties – what do you think?

4.     Some renters may simply be afraid that they themselves will fall victim to a foreclosure since so many have lost their homes in the last few years.  That need not be the case as long as you prepare properly and buy only what you can afford.  And You can move from renting to buyingalthough it may be tempting to spend just a little more or at the top of what you can qualify to buy, it may be a wiser decision to find a home priced at just a bit less and spend to improve or upgrade it over time when you are certain you can manage the expense.  For tips on avoiding the errors made by many of those who have lost their homes, check out this post.  You CAN surf the real estate market – if you’re prepared.

5.     When you are looking at homes for sale, you will find some that have aging inefficient heating and/or air conditioning or other energy-wasters like single pane windows.  Before you decide to pass on those homes, think about an energy efficient mortgage (eem), which stacks on your regular purchase A grant for upgrades is a free gift!loan for the purpose of making energy-efficient upgrades.  If you will save more in energy bills than you will pay on the eem loan, you may be able to get this loan.  You don’t have to separately qualify for it, as long as the home qualifies.  And if that isn’t enough, on some older homes, Sacramento Association of Realtors will give you a $2,000 grant (FREE money!) if you use a Realtor and get an eem loan.  See:   Sacramento Association of Realtors giving $2000 GRANTS to home buyers!

6.     Buying a home can be an emotional experience, and you definitely hope to find a home to which you will respond emotionally.  But be careful not to simply “fall in love” with a cute kitchen and neglect to check on some other things that may have you regretting your purchase after you have moved in.  For a few things to look for in your home search, check out this article.  Before you buy that house, check out a few things!

7.     Now that you have found the house you want to buy, how do you decide how much to offer?  You have seen the listing price, but is it You can be given the keys to your new home!alright to offer less than the amount the seller is asking?  This is a case-by-case question, and your Realtor can help you with this.  It is usually not a good idea to offer substantially less, and in many situations you may want to offer full price or even more, but read this article about making lowball offers.  Is it okay for buyers to make lowball offers?

8.     Confused about closing costs?  Are you wondering if you have to pay your Realtor a commission?  First of all, don’t feel lost – many buyers are unclear about their closing costs – what are they and what do they include?  Also, as a buyer you will not generally have to pay any of your Realtor’s commission.  Those are paid by the seller.  A good explanation of what you should do and how you can determine what your costs will be is found in this article.  What are buyers’ closing costs and what are they for? Commissions?

9.     Many of the homes currently on the market are short sales.  These are sales where the seller is trying to sell the home for less than what they owe their lender.  In other words they are hoping to short pay their loan in The new happy homeownersescrow.  You will make an offer, the seller accepts it, and then the deal is not done until the lender agrees to take the reduced payoff.  This may take a few weeks or it may take several months.  The lender may counter, demanding on different terms or a higher price.  The seller’s Realtor will negotiate with the lender to get the written approval, and while you, the buyer, are waiting you may get worried that nothing is happening.  If you plan to make an offer on a short sale, read this article.   Are you a buyer concerned with the slowness of your short sale purchase?


Susan Neal
Broker / Realtor
Century 21 Noel David Realty
Fair Oaks, California

Full time real estate services in Fair Oaks CA,
with friendly professionalism, 30+ years experience.
I work hard to give my buyer or seller a low-stress


"Happy clients make me happy."

For all your real estate needs or questions, call me at (916)705-8951or visit my website at www.SusanNealFineProperties.com.

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