Whether you're buying your first home or your fifth, the process of is a detailed, time-consuming venture. At the same time, it’s an emotional period laden with difficult choices. You want to ensure that the home you purchase meets your family’s needs now and in the future. When you consider all that money represents, you’ll want to ensure that you don’t pay too much.
#1 Before you shop, develop a needs vs. wants list
Everyone has a picture of an ideal home. This includes all the features you not only need, but have long desired. However, when it comes time to buying a home, the desires cost more. That’s why it’s a good idea to develop a needs and wants lists. With this list, begin with items you really need like adequate space, garage and number of bedrooms. For most people, basic needs should be considered first. After that, you could consider additional desires, if you can manage these benefits financially.
With such a list in your hands, you’re less likely to be caught up in the excitement of the pursuit. You’ll have a good idea of what you want, within you price range, and if you can afford those additional items.
#2 Get pre-approved prior to shopping
Visit your financial or lending institution prior to home buying. Quickly, you’ll know the amount of mortgage you’ll receive. Be sure to get a mortgage commitment in writing. Most importantly, you’ll tell sellers that you are a serious prospect. Depending upon market conditions, a seller may lean towards an unconditional offer. You’ll have less negotiating power if you have to wait for mortgage approval. Banks and financial institutions have developed many programs especially for home buyers, be that first-time buyers or those with equity in their homes. When you review your needs and objectives with a lending officer, you’ll be one step closer to purchasing your home.
#3 Choose your winning team
Buying a home is a complicated process, with many people involved. From choosing the right mortgage, to finding a home inspector, to viewing available properties, there are many steps involved for even the hardiest person. With a professional realtor on your side, you’ll have access to these services, already in place, and highly recommended. A good agent has the knowledge and experience developed from many years of helping both buyers and sellers. During this time they have developed a network of people, from lenders, lawyers, home inspectors and movers, to assist both home buyers and sellers.
#4 Communicate clearly with your Realtor
Spending time with your Realtor will reap huge dividends. When you have a clear picture of the type of home you’re looking for, your Realtor can come closer to finding the home you want. You won’t waste time looking at homes that don’t match your needs.
#5 It’s still true – location, location, location
You’ve heard it so many times that it’s probably starting to sound like a broken record. That’s because it’s true! A home is not a stand alone item. Rather the value of a home is greatly affected by the surrounding homes. Don’t let your emotions determine your purchase. Think resale. The desirability and resale value of your home depends largely on location more than any other factor. People want a desirable community that includes character, quality of schools, access to work, major transportation arteries, recreational facilities, etc.
Be objective. Don’t rely too heavily on your emotions. Be sure you are completely satisfied with the neighborhood. If you choose a neighborhood with problems, you likely won’t get as much as you hoped with it comes time to sell.
#6 Use your Realtors’ knowledge of the community
Your real estate consultants at Spokane's Best are trained in all aspects of real estate, including understanding supply and demand, economics and the neighborhoods of the city in which they practice. As we regularly view homes as they are placed on the market, we are at the heartbeat of knowledge and information about housing trends and prices. We can save you time and money, by narrowing your prospects to only those that meet your requirements.
#7 Check your emotions, and shop with your head
When people purchase a home on emotion, without an objective view of the property, problems may develop later. Shopping for a home is an emotional process. It could be costly. Using your head and asking for an objective opinion could help you avoid costly errors.
#8 Pay attention to “red flags”
When evaluating a home, be sure you know the difference between acceptable and unacceptable problems. Cosmetic items like peeling paint, worn carpeting, unattractive wallpaper can be easily remedied. You could use these as negotiating items, as there will be costs involved in updating the home.
Major problems, however, are clearly “red flags.” Look for items such as major foundation cracks, water damage, outdated electrical systems, and inadequate plumbing. These items could cost you dearly in the future.
#9 Hiring a home inspector is a wise investment
A home inspection is an inexpensive way to gain peace of mind, and guard your pocket book. A proper inspection will cover all areas of the house including foundation, electrical, heating, plumbing, floors, walls, ceilings, attic, roof, siding and trim, porches, patios, decks, garage and drainage. A professional inspector can give you an objective view of the property, with a written report, indicating the present condition and items that will need repair.
#10 Be cautious with fixer uppers
Some people may be inclined towards purchasing a home that needs some work. This could be a challenge and an opportunity.