10 Commandments for Home Buyers
Follow these commandments and you'll find buying a home to be much easier with few speedbumps, wrong turns and money pits.
I. I am your agent and thou shalt not worship other agents. Do not work with multiple agents at the same time. We don't get paid unless you close on a home and we don't like working and having someone else get paid. As soon as you start viewing homes, you should commit to one true agent. Before you start viewing homes.....
II. Thou shalt get preapproved for a loan. This is your shopping pass and means that you are ready to buy a home. Without a preapproval you are probably wasting your time, your agent's time and the seller's time if you're scheduling showings. Nobody likes to waste time. Most lenders will be able to provide a preapproval within 24 hours.
III. Thou shalt not ruin your credit. Between the time you get preapproved and the time you close, DO NOT open or try to open new lines of credit. As few as 1 inquiry can lower your score and cause you lose your ability to buy a home. Opening up a department store credit card to buy a pack of gum is not worth it.
IV. Thou shalt do your research. Nearly 90% of buyers start their searches on the internet. This is a great start but you should also make sure that any homes you're interested in are in the right neighborhood, school district, etc. Again, nobody wants to waste time driving around town on a Saturday afternoon when they could be at home with their family because nobody bothered to find out that all 5 homes you want to see are in the "bad school district". Become an expert at home buying. Together, you and your agent will do great things.
V. Thou shalt act decisively. Do not find the perfect house and hope to wait until the seller decides to lower the price into your comfort zone. Go make an offer instead and persuade the seller that your offer is good. Waiting only encourages other people to buy your house. If you find the perfect house at the perfect price, make an offer now. Other people are looking for it, too, and it won't take them long to find it. Multiple offers only benefit the seller. See Commandment 6.
VI. Respect your agent's advice. Your agent is on your side and is drawing from past experiences in providing you advice on how to help you accomplish your goal of buying a home. Please listen to your agent's recommendations. Most sellers will not (happily) drop 30% off their asking price. They probably priced it where they did for a reason. Go back to Commandment 4 for more explanation.
VII. Honor your mother and father. Let them have their say, but take their advice (and anybody else who won't be living in the house with you) with a grain of salt. While their intentions are good, outside influences are more likely to cause you to second guess your choices. They also haven't done the research you have (see #4) and will lead you astray. See # 6 for what to do next.
VIII. Don't believe everything you hear from your brother-in-law (or whoever). Contrary to popular belief, cash is not king. A home is not an investment that will make you rich. There are no perfect homes at perfect prices (they'd already be sold before they hit the MLS). Fill in the blank on whatever so and so told you. There is a lot of misinformation out there. Rely on your lender and agent to provide you with advice. Read as much as you can about the home buying process. The same as #7, don't let people who have little or no experience buying and selling homes to be the expert.
IV. Thou shalt not bear false witness against your agent nor lender nor attorney. The truth is required for all of us working for you to give you the best service. Do not lie about how much you're able to put down as a down payment, how much money you make or anything else.
X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house. Do not keep looking for a house after you've entered into a contract to buy. You are committed to your house now and looking at other homes is cheating. Don't even think about asking your agent to schedule a showing for you.
Observe the 10 Commandments of Home Buying and you'll be going from homeless to homeowner with no trouble at all.
Renter's Bible - 8 Commandments for Renters. A follow up to the Buyer's Bible.