1. Buying a Home Is One Of The Best Investments You Can Make! Home equity remains the largest single savings vehicle for most Americans. In addition to the tax incentives of home ownership, and the ability to tap into your home equity if the need arises, buying a home is a wise and prudent investment for most people.
2. It Is Very Important To Buy A Home That Will, Most Likely, Go Up In Value. Slow, steady home appreciation has been the rule over most of the nation’s history, and many real estate investors became quite wealthy in that environment. They did so by very carefully analyzing the appreciation potential of their investment, and they invested for the long term. You should too. Even if you plan on living in your home just a few years, you will want it to have gone up in value when you put it back on the market.
3. Use A Buyers Agent. If you’re going to work with a real estate agent, commit to using a buyer’s agent rather than searching, negotiating and managing the transaction on your own. A buyer’s agent has a duty to represent your interests, while the listing agent represents the seller’s interests. Typically, your best financial interest is better served if you are working with a buyer’s agent who represents you in all aspects of the purchasing process.
4. Choose Your Agent Wisely. When deciding on a real estate agent look for one with experience in working with buyers, with knowledge of the neighborhood(s) you are considering, and who does not have a reputation for being ‘pushy’. An initial consultation will allow you to get to know the agent to see if there is a rapport with the agent then you can decide if working together is mutually beneficial. The purchase of a home is a serious long-term commitment on your part and a good agent will recognize that buyers need time and patience so they can satisfactorily sort out the myriad of factors involved in a purchase decision.
5. Current Home Prices Are A Less Important Consideration Than Interest Rates, try to buy and/or sell when interest rates are low. The amount of mortgage you can afford (and thus the price of the home you will consider) will change as the interest rates increase or decrease. A certain asking price may sound expensive to you, but at a lower interest rate you might be able to afford it. You may own several homes over your lifetime, and the factors that will limit or increase the value of the home you will be selling will similarly affect the price of its replacement. Since those factors largely wash each other out, interest rates remain the most important factor.
6. Always Have A Home Inspection Contingency in your offer and always hire a professional home inspector to provide you a written report, along with “ball park” estimates or ranges of repair costs. If the inspection turns up problems that weren’t readily noticeable, you can use it and the ball park estimates for negotiating leverage to get the seller to make the repairs or provide you a commensurate price reduction.
7. Learn As Much As Possible about The Seller’s Circumstances. There may be mutually beneficial opportunities. For example if you might face difficulty qualifying for a big enough mortgage, and the seller is worried about college costs for his or her sixth grader, then maybe the seller might consider lowering the price.
8. Research Your Mortgage Options Well Before You Make An Offer. You must have a contingent letter of approval for a loan, or an actual loan commitment prior to making an offer. The former is not actually a loan commitment, but rather a contingent approval for a loan up to a certain amount. While it has relatively little enforceable value, the seller nevertheless will require it.
9. Learn How To Negotiate Like A Pro. There’s more money involved in this negotiation than just about any other area you’ll encounter. Even if you’re using a buyer’s agent, you’re part of the team, and you’ll have to make the ultimate decisions about how much to offer and how much to compromise on a counter offer.
10. STUDY! The tips on this site are only the beginning. Working with an experienced Realtor will lead you to getting the best possible deal. Read as much as you can on home buying, negotiating, and neighborhoods in your area that might fit your needs, and on factors that impact long-term appreciation like schools, infrastructure, major new business expansions or closing etc. Keep copies of everything you send the lender and everything the lender sends you. Ask us anytime what we can do to help support you on the road to finding, negotiating and securing your next home.