Everybody loves a bargain. You are ready to buy a house, but you want to feel you got the best deal for your money. You want people to admire your business acumen.
Pre-qualify for your purchase
As you begin your search, put yourself in a position to act quickly and decisively by getting pre-qualified for a loan. Agents and sellers will see you as a strong potential buyer if they know that you have been able to get a loan. Sometimes they will offer you a better deal since they know that you have the money to complete the transaction.
Things to do to get more house for the money
Consider a fixer-upper. If the house needs updating or repairs, the seller is usually more motivated to sell. Have the home evaluated by a professional inspector to make sure the cost of fixing up will not be more than you want to handle. Armed with the inspector's report, you have the leverage to make an even better deal. Don't buy the house that looks like it should be on the cover of a magazine.
Often, an average looking home that has all the features that you want inside can be made to look like the prettier house with a few cosmetic enhancements. Check out houses currently on the market and recent sales in the area to determine what your offer should be.
Real estate agents use the terminology of top price, target price, and dream price to indicate what a buyer might pay for a house. In your own mind, determine what is the top price you would pay for the house, what is the target price you would pay, which is a realistic price to pay for the house, and what is your dream price, a price so low it would move you to buy the house immediately.
Check out the details on the inside
Once you choose a house, look at the details inside the house. Do you see any evidence of quality workmanship or inferior workmanship? Do the doors close smoothly? Do the toilets flush properly? Is any water damage visible? Do windows close easily? Of course, there is no substitute for a professional inspection, but your own hands-on preliminary inspection will give you an idea if there are problems.
Buyer beware of the deal that really is not a deal
A few cautionary words. Don't assume that all bank foreclosures are a good deal. Sometimes these houses have been vacant for a long time and have not been properly maintained. This leads you to spend money for many unforeseen expenses in order to repair existing systems within the house.
Do not assume all builders are cutting prices. It may depend on whether they have another job to move on to. Be aware that the dream house you may buy could have very high maintenance costs. Be smart, be patient and you will make the deal of a lifetime.