Jumpstarting Your New Home Search

By: Robert Lipply

Has your quest to buy a new home been staled by a recent downturn in the market? Do you find yourself wondering if the so-called bubble burst has ruined your chances to own a home? If you have postponed your search during the last year for these reasons or because you found yourself unable to buy in recent years due to such fierce competition from other homebuyers, now could just be your window of opportunity. Prices in most areas have either come down slightly and significantly, or have remained steady. Interest rates are still relatively low and there are many programs available to suit your needs. Best of all, inventory is generally high for homes available in most areas which puts you as the homebuyer in a good place for selection as well as negotiation.

Even in a buyer's market there are some really important tasks you need to get out of the way before you start making offers on homes though. The very first step is to get pre-qualified or even pre-approved for a mortgage. Let's face it, there's no point looking at single family homes when your budget says "condominium" or vice versa too. Why buy a condo for a growing family when you can definitely get that 2 story home you desperately need? Once the mortgage broker is done asking you all the questions, turn the interview back around to him or her. Ask them to explain the pros and cons of all the different plans and options available. Some of them are confusing and even risky. Make sure you find a mortgage broker with the patience and ability to make sure you understand what you are applying for, so that you can make the right decision.

The very next step is to find yourself the best real estate agent you can. One that lives and works near the area of town you want to live in is a plus. One that also listens and understands your needs is essential. Driving around and looking at neighborhoods is a good use of your time, so is searching the internet for listings. But nothing compares to the real estate agent's experience and guidance. A good one will treat you like a family member, in that, he or she will not let you make a real estate mistake. Make sure you genuinely like the person also, as you will be spending a lot of time with them and putting a fair amount of trust in their advice and abilities.

Spending some time making a wish list will definitely streamline the process. Some buyers have a very hard time articulating what they want to their real estate agent. Be diligent in getting your message across so that you don't waste time and energy needlessly. Home buying can be fun but it can also be draining. Good luck in getting it off the ground this time. There's no reason to not buy a home today, so get the wheels in motion and enjoy the ride!

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