A bit of time spent in advance of shopping for a new home
can help a buyer avoid some common buying errors such as
buying the wrong home, overpaying, and losing the dream
home to another bidder.
Here are some tips to help you get prepared to buy
(1) Decide where you would like to live.
Before you start looking at homes, drive around the different neighborhoods and identify the ones you like best. Ask friends and co workers about those neighborhoods to get a feel for the personality of that particular area. Stop by and have dinner at a local restaurant, and walk through the grocery store. Deciding in advance which areas you would like to focus on will really help your home search.
(2) Identify what you need, what you want, and what you can do
What do you need and want in a home? There are a number of things that should be considered. The obvious ones are the size of the home, number of bedrooms and bathrooms. But you also need to consider the condition of a home. Are you willing to do repairs? Will you consider doing cosmetic updates, such as painting, new carpet, etc? How about the street?is it too busy for you? Also, you should consider the distance to the schools, and to work. Do you need public transportation? All of these play a part in identifying and buying the right home.
(3) Get pre-approved
In today's market, being pre-approved by a lender is an important step. The advantage is two-fold. First, you will know exactly what your buying range is, saving you time and potential emotional distress from finding a home that you cannot purchase. Secondly, a pre-approval gives a buyer a significant advantage when making an offer on a home. One of the big concerns that a seller has is whether the buyer will be able to get a mortgage. Alleviating that concern will help make your offer more attractive, and can speed the process to closing.
(4) Find an agent with whom you are comfortable working.
Finding and selecting a real estate agent is an important part of the home buying process. You will be spending quite a bit of time with this person, and will be relying on market knowledge and recommendations made by her on your behalf. You should be comfortable talking to your agent, and feel that they have grasped what it is you are looking for. Most importantly, the lines of communication must be open and easy to use.
(5) Become familiar with the price of homes in your desired areas.
It is often the case that a home that has just come on the market will sell within a very short time period. This is an indication that the home was priced properly, and that the buyers had done enough homework in advance to recognize this. The best way for a buyer to do this advance homework is to go out with their agent and see the homes that are currently on the market in the appropriate price range. Seeing the homes, combined with input from the agent about the positives and negatives of each, will help to give the buyer a sense of what they can expect to find in their particular price range.
(5) Be ready to buy.
The hope is that your hard work will lead you to find a home that you'd like to buy, maybe even your dream home! If you have prepared yourself properly before finding this home, you will stand a better chance of not loosing it to another buyer. By preparing, I mean doing enough homework to recognize the "value" of the property, and having your pre-approval already completed. Also, preparing to buy means being ready to act quickly once you've identified the home. In many cases, hesitation on a buyer's part will result in a sale of the home to someone else.