Home Buying Tips

Steven Gillman asked: Here are three home buying tips you may not have heard before. 1. Home Buying Tip – A House Isn’t Always The Best Plan Real estate agents and others may say that buying a home is always a good idea for you. It’s good for them, as well as for title companies and finance companies. But it isn’t necessarily a good idea for you in every case. For example, there are towns where the home values haven’t gone up much in ten years. In the last year (this is being written in 2007) the prices in many areas have actually dropped in value. Obviously home values do not always go up in the short-term, so don’t buy a home as a get-rich-quick scheme. Even if you are certain that prices will rise where you are, a home isn’t necessarily a good investment, if rents are low. A good example is Tucson, Arizona, where a two-bedroom home might sell for $190,000, but you can rent one for just $750 per month. Spend $700 less each month versus buying, and bank that money, and you could be financially further ahead three years from now (especially now that the market has slowed there). How long will you be in the home? It’s an important question because buying and later selling your home can cost 10% of the home value. In other words, it will have to go up that much in value just to even break even when you sell. Move in the first couple years, and if prices have gone nowhere, you could end up losing thousands of dollars. 2. Home Buying Tip – Real Estate Agents Are Not Your Friends If your agent actually is your friend, she still may not look out for your best interest. She legally can’t, if she is working for the seller of a home. Generally, if she isn’t specifically working as a buyer’s agent, she must do her best for the seller – the one paying the commission. Suppose you say something like “I might go $6,000 higher.” She’s legally obligated to tell the seller about your comment. Do you have a buyers agent? Be careful anyhow, because even good agents talk. Avoid saying things you don’t want known by everyone. Remember too that agents make money only when there is a sale, and make more on higher-priced homes. What does this mean? It’s possible your agent will be less-than-objective when helping you choose a house. 3. Home Buying Tip – Try Low Offers Truly low offers are embarrassing for an agent to bring to a seller, and maybe even embarrassing for you to make. On the other hand, I have a friend who embarrassed himself into a lakefront home for 15% less than it’s true value. How would you like to immediately increase your net worth by $40,000 when buying a home? Low offers are rarely accepted, by the way. You’ll spend a lot of time making offers, you’ll annoy real estate agents, and you’ll let a nice home or two slip away. But if you don’t have time constraints, or the fantasy that there is one “perfect” house for you, making low offers can save you thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands of dollars. One last home buying tip: If you never even get a counter-offer, you may really be trying to go too low on your offers. Get Advise from a Scottsdale Realtor

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