Nov
07

Home Buyer’s Checklist – Steps to Success in Any Market!

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Ron Olive asked: Find the best homes and land in North Idaho! So you want to buy a home but don’t know where to start? Here is a simple checklist that will take you from dreaming about your new home to owning your new home! Step One: Get an idea of what you want by asking yourself why you want to move. Perhaps you are upsizing to a larger home or downsizing to a smaller one. Perhaps you got married or you changed jobs or you want a similar home in a different neighborhood. By asking yourself why you want to move you will be helping yourself answer these questions as well: Pinebluff by Hallmark The Pinebluff by Hallmark Homes How many square feet should be in my new home? How many beds and baths? What areas am I willing to consider for my new home? Do I have any special needs for my home? Step Two: If you already know how much home you can afford – Congratulations! This will be important information to give to your Realtor to find the right home! If, however, you are like most people you may not be able to put a dollar figure on the total amount that you can borrow just off the top of your head. But you probably know how much you currently pay in rent or mortgage payments. Even knowing a monthly payment amount (and whether you wish to stretch or shrink that amount with a new home) can be a tremendous help to a licensed Realtor. If you don’t already keep a budget then start keeping a very basic pen and paper budget so you can identify your discretionary spending – money that you spend each month but don’t have to spend – so that you can determine how much of that to invest in your new home. Step Three: Contact a Realtor by phone or online and let him know what type of house you are looking for, the general area or areas you will consider, and either the total amount of the house you can afford or the rough amount that you would consider paying each month as your mortgage payment. Armed with this information the Realtor can provide you will several options by emailing you houses that fit your criteria. If you see one that you like the Realtor can set up an appointment to view the home. If you do not see a home that you like then re-contact the Realtor and tell him why the options you were given didn’t work. Are you looking for a newer home but the first set of homes emailed were all older homes? Were you looking for a home on land but only homes on small lots were provided? Did you want a home with a finished basement but only ones with unfinished basements were sent? You may also use an online request form to get your home search information by email! Most people look at 7-15 homes before they zero in on the one they want. Coupled with the fact that many people don’t know what they want “until they see it” and it is no wonder that the first few homes people look at aren’t anything like the home that you imagined! But as you continue to work with your Realtor, in person and by email and phone, you will both zero in on the type of home that you want. Step Four: Get pre-qualified. It can take as little as five minutes over the phone to determine how much home you can afford. If you are selling your existing home the Realtor can help you find out how much equity you have in your home that you can use to invest in a down payment on a new home. Getting pre-qualified is actually one of the easiest steps of the process – and one of the most important! Without pre-qualification you will just be a “tire kicker” and won’t be able to zero in on a viable home to purchase. But once this step is completed you may find that your new home has suddenly jumped within striking distance! Get excited! That new home is quickly becoming a reality after completion of this step! And just to make it easier we now have online pre-qualification contact forms. Enter some basic information and a mortgage lending representative will contact you shortly. These trained representatives may be aware of several programs that you have not heard about – programs that may open up new possibilities for you! Step Five: Have the mortgage lender fax a pre-qualification letter to your Realtor so he can help you zero in on the one home that will work best for you! Step Six: Sign an exclusive buyer’s representation agreement so the Realtor can conduct a CMA. If you are buying a new home the Realtor should conduct a Competitive Market Analysis on the home you wish to purchase. In addition to the CMA the Realtor can provide you with additional information like the number of days on market, if the price has been reduced previously, provide you with a property report and other information that can assist you in making an informed offer on the home. In addition if you are selling your home you will want to see a CMA so you can effectively price your home. One fact has remained consistent throughout the years in the Real Estate market: Properly priced homes sell. Improperly priced homes remain stagnant and generate frustration for buyers, sellers and agents! Make certain your home is properly priced! Step Seven: Work with your Realtor to make the most efficient offer possible, incorporating the necessary safeguards into the offer. If you must sell your home before taking possession of a new home, any offer on the new home should be contingent upon the sale of your existing home. If you are not in a hurry to move you may be able to offer less than asking price, particularly in a declining market. If you need to move quickly or you know that you are in a period where prices are increasing rapidly then you may need to be much more aggressive with any offer presented. While it is the Realtor’s job to represent your best interests, the less you communicate with your Realtor the harder it will be for the Realtor to address your needs. As you communicate with the Realtor you will find that his understanding of your needs will help him translate those needs into an effective Real Estate Solution. Step Eight: Talk with your Realtor about the offer that you wish to make. Your Realtor’s advice can prove to be invaluable, but remember that it is ultimately your decision as to the offer that will be made. Once you understand the “whys” and “why nots” of your Realtor’s suggestions make the offer that is most reasonable to you. Step Nine: Regardless of whether the offer is accepted, rejected or countered, follow your agent’s lead from this point forward. Individual States, laws, procedures and methods vary. By now you should have created a solid bond with your Realtor and this trained agent will be invaluable in walking through the maze of paperwork and procedures that now need to be accomplished before you take ownership of your new home! CONGRATULATIONS! Contact an agent now! Get pre-qualified! When only the best will do the answer is clear – Sotheby’s International Realty Website content

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