Real Estate Ideas for Buying a Home

By: Andrew Stratton

Think you are ready to buy a new home? It's not as easy as visiting a few open houses and rifling through pictures online. Before you take the plunge, consider some of the following questions to help guide you through the complex process of buying a home. Home buying is a big financial investment. There are a number of things you can do to make the buying process enjoyable and successful.

1. Is this the right time for me to buy?

Besides taking the current real estate market into account, give some intense thought to your own situation and lifestyle. Buying a house is one of the biggest financial investments you will make. Not only that, but it's a time investment as well. If you're unhappy at your current job or in your current city of residence, buying a house might not be a wise option. You should feel fairly confident that you will be comfortable staying there for at least five years, especially if you're a first-time home-buyer. Research is very important to know what you want and what is available. It is very crucial to consult with your family and friends.

2. Can I afford it?

It's true that paying a mortgage is often times more economical than paying month-to-month rent, but there are many hidden costs. Initially, you may have to cough up some cash for a down payment, home inspection, insurance, and other fees. You may also have the burden of paying for the moving expenses, paint, and furniture. Turning your new house into a home might eat up some of your weekends. If you don't have any extra funds squirreled away to handle the surprises of home ownership, you may want to build up your savings account first.

3. Do I need a realtor?

Probably. Unless you are a realtor yourself, you will need someone to represent you and assist you with the process. You don't have to open the phonebook and pick the most convenient agent. You're hiring them; therefore, you must interview. It's important to find an agent that you communicate well with and who is experienced with your particular needs. Some agents specialize in condos, others might only do mansions. Agents will help you with budgets, loans, and market trends. They also know about properties before they are listed, potentially lessening the buyer competition. By having a real estate agent, you will see more properties and it will increase your chances of negotiating a good deal.

4. When should I get a loan and where?

Money will constantly be a factor in your house hunt. Rather than becoming frustrated by all of the dollar bill signs, it is recommended that you get pre-approval for a home loan before beginning your search. This will help you outline your initial budget and you will avoid potential disappointment, if you can't get a high enough loan for that dream house you saw. You can get as many pre-approval loans as you would like, but each will appear on your credit score so don't shop around if you don't have to. The pre-approval loan is also the gateway into better negotiations. Some sellers will balk at signing over the deed if they don't have some sort of proof that you have the finances.

You can find a lender with a mortgage company, online, or through suggestions by your realtor.

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