1. Get preapproved or be disappointed…Knowing how much they can spend is paramount, both in avoiding wasting your time and your brokers. The sellers want to see a preapproval letter. The one thing many agents don’t warn their clients about, however, is the danger of disappointment should the unapproved shop for homes, clueless about how much they can afford to spend or even if they can get a loan.
You may fall in love with a house you found at an open on a Sunday afternoon only to learn later that it was way out of your price range. Nothing you see after that will stack up.
2. Understand the home loan process…It is very important that you get the lender everything they request in a timely manor. You will slow the whole process up if you do not stay on top of this. Remember it’s not a done deal until it closes. Changing jobs, making large purchases on credit and allowing credit inquiries after loan approval have all proven detrimental to many buyers. The lender’s soft pull on your credit prior to closing to confirm nothing has changed in your financial circumstances.
3. Make a list of wants and needs…Remember these are two different things. Wants are things you would like to see in a house but may not keep you from writing an offer if they are in the home. (They are a bonus) However needs are a must. These are things you will not compromise with on your purchase. Once you have made a list of both. When touring homes if you find a house that has all of your needs and most of your wants then realize this is the house for you and write an offer. There are no perfect homes just ones that meet your needs list and some of your wants.
4. Don’t lack vision when looking at a house…You need to be able to look past things like ugly wallpaper, paint colors you don’t like, bad carpet, or a messy house. These are all things that can and will be changed easily once you purchase a house. You want to look at the bones of the house, is it built well? Will it meet your criteria? All the other items are just items that can be handles later.
5. Read your HOA documents if the property has them…It is important that if you are buying in an area where the home owners associations requirements are being enforced then you need to understand them and be willing to live by their requirements. Many areas have home owners associations that are no longer active and the rules are no longer being enforced. Please make sure you find out what the neighborhood you are purchasing if they are active.
6. Write an offer that makes sense in the market you are purchasing in…Understand the current market conditions, are you buying in a sellers market or a buyers market? It is extremely important to know the difference. In other words, do not to lowball in a hot seller’s market, forget asking for too much in concessions and be willing to give a little bit. You will not get the house because other buyers are understanding the market and will go in with a better offer. Put your best offer up front in a sellers market. However, on the flip side in a buyers market no matter how bad they want the house, slow down and avoid giving money away.
7. The inspection report will always look read worse than it is…For this reason you should always be present at a home inspection so you are able to hear what the inspector is saying instead of just reading a report later. The inspector will be explaining to you what the issues are and how to fix the problems. Many times it is an easy fix that you may decide to do later instead of asking the seller to do the work.