Buying the home of your dreams should be a smooth process, with a minimum amount of stress and worry. However, it seldom is. Most of the time, there are complicated issues to address, or re-negotiations, which can sometimes leave a homebuyer pulling his/her hair out, and wondering why they ever wanted to move in the first place.
If you are trying to buy from a bank, trust, or holding company, things can get even worse, especially if it is a distressed property, or a bank repo.
So what can you do to help make the process as painless as possible? It starts with assembling a knowledgeable team. Let's explore what you need:
1. Your REALTOR is key! He/she should be knowledgeable in the type of property you are interested in, and have experience in that area. Realtors, like doctors, can have specialty areas, in which they are well versed, know the ins and outs, and can successfully guide you (the inexperienced home buyer) through the selection and purchase process. For instance, negotiating with a bank, or HUD is different from negotiating with a home owner, or a trust. If you know what you are looking for, look for the right realtor for the situation. Your realtor should not be just concerned with completing a sale and getting a commission check, but should be willing to work with you and counsel you, and work toward getting you the property you are looking for.
2. Your HOME INSPECTOR is also a key player. He/she can be a most valuable resource in giving you the facts about your purchase. Even if you are buying a repo, it is best to get a complete home inspection so that you can make an informed decision, and know exactly what you are getting into. Home inspectors come from all walks of life. Some have a lot more experience than others in fields related to a home and it systems. Home inspection schools are good, and do a great job, but they are no subtitute for experience. Don't be afraid to ask your home inspector what experience he has, and how long he has been in the business, and/or related fields. The best home inspectors have formal training, and related field experience as well. A good home inspector should be able to point out the positive and the negative aspects of the home you are buying, as well as direct you to any other professionals that might be needed.
3. Getting PRE-QUALIFIED through a qualified lender is also a key step in having a smooth sales transaction. If you know what you can afford, and approved for in advance, there won't be any disappointment, or misunderstanding.
4. Find out or estimate what your MOVING EXPENSES ar going to be. After purchasing a home, coming up with the down payment, paying for a home inspection, the added expense involved with moving can be a major stress. You should have a mover estimate what it will cost, (or the expense of a moving truck) including boxing up belongings. Other typical expenses are: extra people to help you, getting utilities turned on, and/or deposits if required, cleaning of the new property (carpets, walls, floors, windows, etc.), any deferred maintenance items the previous owner may have left for you, such as cleaning the furnace, painting the shed or the trim, etc., cleaning out gutters.
5. Call your City or County planning offices, and ask if there are any immediate or long range plans for the area your new home is in. Call the County tax office as well, (or look it up online if your county has that capability) and ask when the property was last assesed, and if there are any plans to change or raise the tax base. If your home is located on a state route (like mine is) then you should also make a call to the state highway division, and ask about their long range plans for the area ( I just found out they are going to be widening my road within the next 5 years, and they will be taking approximately 60 feet of my front yard....less to mow). The best surprise is no surprise.
Although this is not all that will be required in every instance, it is a good start to where you want to be: in your new home!