Technology has changed the face of the buying process. We have a list of nine steps you need to take when buying a house, much of the same can be said for buying commercial property or vacant land. We will divide the list into two blog posts. This post will cover steps one through five.
1. Know Your Limits. Be able to say why you wish to purchase and when you want to have the keys to the property. If you are getting a loan, talk to a mortgage lender first. Ask the lender exactly how much house you can afford and what the estimated monthly payments should be. Know your credit score and how much down payment you will make. Make the application. A letter stating you are pre-approved or pre-qualified will give you more credibility when you eventually make an offer to purchase a home. Let us know if you would like recommendations of a few good lenders.
2. Research the Market. Know what areas will be convenient to where you work or destinations that will be important to you. Search the internet or drive areas so you can know the prices of homes in different locations.
3. Bring in the Professional. Find a honest Realtor who knows both the area and the process very well. He or she should be dilligent and successful, as well as a good fit for your personality. If you acquire this person through the internet, be sure and ask him or her a few questions before getting started, such as, "How long have you been an agent? Are you full time? What is important in your service to me?" It's ok to work with a friend or relative, just make sure that they are trustworthy and everything is understood in writing ahead of time. Working with a friend or relative that you know to be trustworthy agent can often be the most enjoyable experience.
4. See the Inventory. If you have specific properties you have found which are very interesting to you, tell your agent about them then. They will make an appointment for you to see those properties and possibly a few others they recommend. It's Ok if you have none in mind; the agent can have several properties for you to see if they have listed to you and understand your needs well. (See the blog regarding the differences of Foreclosures, Short Sales, and normal properties for sale. It is important to know these differences before you step foot in a house!) Your agent can show you houses listed by almost any agency... expect to see 7 or less properties per day. It is entirely possible you may see the house which best fits your needs on the first day.
5. Make the offer. If you see a house that does a great job of meeting your criteria, or if inventory is limited and you see a house that comes close to meeting your criteria, don't be afraid to make the offer right then. Don't go home to sleep on it. If you like the home, chances are good that someone else has seen homes that you also saw on the market and came to the same conclusion that this one is the best value. Sometimes buyers choose to stall in making the offer, not because they need to wait for more information to make an informed decision, but to delay a decision which seems a bit scary to them. To get a house you like, you will have to at some point take the risk and sign your name to the paperwork. Knowing this doesn't make this any easier... it can be intimidating to commit to an large purchase. Your agent will have the paperwork and can help you decide what a good offer for you will be. (See the blog for good negotiation tips.) Your agent can also recommend a good amount of Earnest Money Deposit and review for you all of the terms in the paperwork.
Stay tuned for steps six through nine on our next blog post in the blog series of "Nine Steps to Buying Property."
Written By Rob Brooks