The home buying process can be confusing and a little scary for first time home buyers. They generally seem to have a lot of questions but are a little hesitant to ask. It is my hope that this article will help answer some of those questions and make the home buying process less stressful.
•· Get pre-approved - The first thing you need to know is your price range. I'm not talking about how much you are approved for, I'm talking about how much of a house payment you want to be making. Don't forget to include taxes and utilities. Remember to plan in the rest of you're monthly living expenses. Most all mortgage people will run your numbers for free.
•· Find a real estate agent - A real estate agent is a real gem for a buyer. Your agent's commission is paid by the seller! It is a free service for you to have a buyer's agent help you find a home and then negotiate on your behalf. A good agent will preview homes for you, constantly keeping aware of the new listings. They can set you up with a personal home search and forward on matches. This saves you time and money driving around looking for homes on your own. Find someone you're comfortable with. Some agents will ask you to sign a buyer's agreement. This is a contract stating you will work exclusively with that agent as a buyer. The length of time for the contract may vary.
•· Use the internet - Today's buyers are the most educated ever due to the internet. Go to your library if you don't have internet at home. There is a wealth of information on various websites. Research shows that almost 80% of home buyers utilize the internet in their search for a home. You can search thousands of listings across the country, view online open houses, pictures, and get all the specifics on homes.
•· Realistic expectations - Narrow your search. Decide on your top two must haves for your home search. If you are not flexible about certain features, make that known to your real estate agent. A good agent will listen to you and not waste your time showing you homes that do not fit your criteria. But keep you're expectations realistic. The perfect home may be one that just needs a minor adjustment.
•· The home search - You now have an idea of a price range, a real estate agent you are comfortable with and an idea of what kind of home you'd like to purchase. Now the home search begins. Your agent will set up a home search tailored to your specifications and notify you when they have homes they'd like you to view. Likewise you should let your agent know when you find a home you'd like to see. An agent is putting in the time to preview homes for their buyers, making the appointments to show them homes, and following up with the listing agents. Loyalty to a good agent whether through a contract or not is all an agent asks for.
•· How many homes - It doesn't matter if you see one home or twenty homes. You'll know when it's the right home for you. Don't be afraid to make an offer on a home because you've only seen two homes. The home of your dreams might not be there tomorrow. When viewing homes take notes and rate the home. This will help you remember the homes you've viewed later in the day. The number of homes you see in a day will depend on their distance. Usually about a half hour is set aside to view a home, with travel time added on.
•· When can I move in - The time is takes to close on a home is usually about 30-45 days. Once you choose a home there will be inspections, surveys, and more. Your real estate agent and mortgage lender will guide you through the home buying process. They will help negotiate on your behalf and give you the information you need to make informed choices. Good people on your side will make your experience an enjoyable one.