Buying Your First Home

Buying a home can be an overwhelming process and emotionally draining. Finding the right home is not always an easy task. I advise buyers to schedule a maximum of 7 homes at a time because any more than that will make a buyer’s head spin.

Most buyers conduct a lot of research online before ever stepping foot in a home. Buyers spend an average of 6 to 8 weeks, trying to figure out where they want to live. But once the neighborhood is selected, most buyers end up buying a home after 2 or 3 home tours.

Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

It’s not always necessary to have a mortgage broker or a bank in your back pocket before buying a home, but it’s smarter to get a mortgage pre-approval in advance. This way you know for certain how much home you can buy. Many sellers won’t look at an offer if the seller doesn’t have assurance that the buyer can get a mortgage.

You can check with your own bank or credit union or ask your agent for a referral to a mortgage broker. Compare the types of mortgages available to you and see what fits best for you.

Negotiate the Offer

Buyers sometimes make the mistake of comparing the sales prince of a home to other homes they have seen. It’s a mistake to compare sales prices among homes for sale.

That is because sellers can ask any price they want. It doesn’t mean the home will sell at that price.

An agent can provide comparable sales and examine the pending sales. Comparable sales are similar type homes in the same condition and location that have sold within the past 3 months. Pending sales will become the comparable sales by the time your home closes.

You may need to pay over list price in a seller’s market, especially if many buyers are vying for the same inventory.  Your agent can give you a reasonable price range and help to manage your expectations. Any good buyer’s agent knows there is always more to an offer that its price, but price is paramount.

Do a Home Inspection

Some times a home inspection is completed by the seller in advance of listing their home as a marketing strategy so potential buyers know about any potential issues in advance of making an offer. If a home inspection is not available by the seller, then you should have one completed before you are locked in to buying the home. A home inspection can be used as a contract contingency. If any minor or major issues are discovered by the home inspection you can use this information to negotiate the sale price or cancel the contract. You may not want  to be locked into buying a home that has a faulty foundation for example.

Sellers are generally not required to make repairs if problems are discovered during a home inspection. A home inspection is for the buyers edification. However sometimes when a buyer gives a request for repair to the seller, rather than blow the deal, the seller will often agree to make a repair.

Closing your Home

Transactions generally close within 30 to 60 days after your offer has been accepted. Remember to reserve movers or a moving truck early because many people move at the end of the month.  Shop for insurance rates carefully. Often the company that insures your automobiles may offer you the best policy rates.

On your closing day, make sure you do a final walk through before signing your mortgage papers. Doing a final walk through will let you confirm for yourself that anything you negotiated in your purchase agreement is in order.  Ensure all appliances and window dressings are still left in the home if you have negotiated those items in your purchase agreement.