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Buyers

Buying your new home is a serious venture. It can be an absolute pleasure or a massive headache. Your house is not just your home, it is a serious investment in the dwelling, the area and your future.

When buying a home - you're bound to have many questions. For example, "In what area can I find a home that suits my needs?", "How much money will I need to afford the monthly payments?" and "How long will the home buying process take?"

Below are some articles that you might find useful in the home buying process. Please feel free to click on one of the links below to read more.

Buyer Articles


Advice for First-Time Buyers

  • Pre-Qualification: Meet with a mortgage broker and find out how much you can afford to pay for a home.
       
  • Pre-Approval: While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You'll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you're interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close your loan.
       
  • List of Needs & Wants: Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list is your wishes, things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.
       
  • Representation by a Professional: Consider hiring your own real estate agent, one who is working for you, the buyer, not the seller.
       
  • Focus & Organization: In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may include:         
    1. One or more detailed maps with your areas of interest highlighted.         
    2. A file of the properties that your agent has shown to you, along with ads you have cut out from the newspaper.              
    3. Paper and pen, for taking notes as you search.              
    4. Instant or video camera to help refresh your memory on individual properties, especially if you are attending a series of showings.              
    5. Location: Look at a potential property as if you are the seller. Would a prospective buyer find it attractive based on school district, crime rate, proximity to positive (shopping, parks, freeway access) and negative (abandoned properties, garbage dump, source of noise) features of the area?
             
  • Visualize the house empty & with your decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light?
       
  • Be Objective: Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There are many houses on the market, so don't make a hurried decision that you may regret later.
           
  • Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Don't forget such essentials as:         
    1. Include inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written offer.     
    2. Have the property inspected by a professional inspector.              
    3. Request a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours of closing.
    4. You want to check to see that no changes have been made that were not agreed on (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).
       
  • All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please email me or call me directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail.

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How to Negotiate with Sellers

Buying a home is one of the most important purchases most people will make. In order to make the right decision the first time, potential buyers need to be prepared. Consider the following before starting negotiations:

As the potential buyer, you want the advantage. While you want answers to all your questions to the seller, reveal very little about your circumstances. Do not give the seller personal information such as your income, the maximum you are able to pay for a down payment or the home, or when you want to move. Make sure that your agent knows not to reveal any such information to the seller or his/her agent.

Also, do not let the seller see how much you want the property. If you appear desperate or overly enthusiastic, the seller then has the stronger bargaining position. When meeting with the seller or listing agent, keep your emotions in check.

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Types of Mortgages

Fortunately for buyers, there are a variety of mortgages to choose from. It is in your best interest to investigate each of them to determine which is the best for your situation. You probably won't qualify for all of them. In fact, you may only qualify for one. But if you do qualify for more than one, you may save yourself money (and worry) in the long run if you do your homework before signing on the dotted line.

Fixed Rate Mortgages

Consider a fixed rate mortgage if either of the following describes you:

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