Be Prepared- get pre-approved for a loan before actively looking at homes.
Practice Frugality- create a budget and stay on top of it. There will be out of pocket expenses that you will have to pay for outside of your loan. For example, home inspection, survey, and the appraisal. Essentially, you just need to be financially prepared.
Work with a REALTOR- protect your interest in the transaction. Work with a REALTOR; not all agents are REALTORS. Schedule a consultation to discuss what you’re looking for in a home, preferred location, needs vs wants and when you want to move etc.
Be Considerate- during your consultation you will be asked a series of questions. One in particular will be if you’re currently working with another agent. Please don’t take this question lightly and by all means answer honestly.
If you are working with another professional, and they’re out of town or not available for some reason kindly disclose this information. It will save everyone involved a lot of time and confusion. Besides, if you’re not transparent and are working with multiple agents you could end up having to pay one of the agents commission.
Begin House Hunting- while looking at homes try to focus on the actual space itself, as well as the features. Take your list of needs vs wants with you to each house and make notes. This will keep you focused, provide clarity and help you pinpoint the actual house that is right for you.
Have an Open Mind- if your dream home is out of your price range be open to considering other options. More than likely this will not be the last home you buy. If it is; then consider neighboring cities that provide a similar lifestyle and amenities that are important to you.
Keep Emotions in check- easier said than done; ‘I know- I’ve been there’. Most contracts don’t get accepted on the first offer and it’s not uncommon to receive a ‘counter-offer’ from the seller depending on current market conditions. Don’t let this alarm you, work with your REALTOR to determine the best course of action. Be okay with moving on and considering other options.
Quiet the chatter- if you decide to bring friends and/or family with you while house hunting, there will naturally be comments and advice thrown in your direction. Everyone will have an opinion…..it’s human nature, take it with ‘a grain of salt’. At the end of the day you are the one buying the home, and you are the one that will live there, and be responsible for the mortgage. If a home speaks to you, it speaks to you, there is always regret when we are not true to ourselves.
Pull the trigger- if you come across a home that meets the majority of your needs and some of your wants GO FOR IT! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say; ‘I really should’ve bought that home’. There are many stories of ‘the one that got away’, don’t add to the statistic. There is NO perfect home. So if you ever find yourself in this situation, and the home speaks to you don’t be afraid to make a decision. You can always adjust the layout of a home, paint walls and rip up the carpet; however the location is permanent.
READ!- know what you’re signing. Real Estate Contracts can and usually change every year. Your first course of action should be to work with a REALTOR that is knowledgeable and keeps up with continuing education, constant changes of contracts, real estate laws and rules, along with the overall dynamics of the industry as a whole. A good REALTOR will offer you a blank contract to read early on in the process to ensure that you fully understand what you’re signing and provide an opportunity to answer any questions you may have.
STOP looking at homes!- once you’re ‘under contract’ STOP looking at homes online. You will only create confusion and doubt in your mind. Buying a home is like dating……there will always be somebody else that is cuter, skinnier, more buff or richer than your beloved, and the grass is hardly ever greener.
Have FUN!- although buying a home is a serious venture; the experience can still be enjoyable. Enjoy the journey…….. you are participating in a very important chapter of your life.