Buying a Home
Buying a home is a big deal. The financial and emotional stakes are high – but the rewards can pay dividends for a lifetime. Plain and simple, owning a home can improve your quality of life, provide stability and give you a sense of control you just can't get from renting. You have a place to live when you rent, but buying is something much deeper and better.
The Importance of a Buyer's Agent
A real estate transaction is a complex process involving stacks of paperwork and a number of outside service providers and contractors. An experienced buyer's agent can guide you through the process, answering your questions and serving as your advocate. Your agent will help you find the property that fits your needs, submit offers and counteroffers, suggest a good property inspector and other professionals, and provide all sorts of relevant advice. With a buyer's agent, you'll have someone on your side, looking out for your interests every step of the way.
Steps to Buying a Home
Obtain a copy of your credit report and your FICO score and, if necessary, do what you need to do to improve it. The higher your FICO score, the better interest rate you can command. You can get this information online; your RE/MAX agent can also help you. Contact several lenders and determine which one will give you the best deal.
By now you should have a good idea of how much home you can afford. This helps you narrow down your home search. You should also begin researching the neighborhoods in which you might want to live. Your RE/MAX agent can help.
How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you want? Would you prefer a newer home or an older one with established landscaping? Are hardwood floors a must? Is an updated kitchen important to you? Walk-in closets? Which features would you be willing to give up if you find the otherwise-perfect home?
On remax.com you can find listings that meet your criteria as well as neighborhood data. Identify properties that seem to be fits for you, take an afternoon and go on a driving tour. See what's available in your price range and explore neighborhoods.
I will add to the list of homes you've already identified – including ones that have just come on the market. Look at homes with a critical eye – does the floor plan work for you, is the property in good condition, would it be right for your lifestyle? In short, can you imagine yourself and your family living there?
Take notes at each home you visit. What do you like and not like? Narrow down your choices; re-visit homes in which you're interested. See them at different times of the day.
When you've identified the home you want to buy, be prepared for a written offer quickly. I will be familiar with market values and will help you arrive at a price that gives your offer the best chance of being accepted.
At this stage, try not to become emotionally attached to a home. Your offer may not be accepted for any number of reasons. Have backup homes in mind. Be prepared to negotiate through your agent with the sellers.
Once Your Offer Is Accepted:
Enjoy your new home!