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The Best Tips For Buying A Home

Tip #1 Get Prequalified (Itís Free!)

This is a quick and easy step you should take before even starting to look for homes. It will help establish your price window and the mortgage amount you can afford. It also sets you up for when youíre ready to make an offer as many sellers require a prequalification letter with a bid.

Tip #2 Get Pre-approved

This takes prequalification another step further to get a more detailed account of your finances. Your chosen lender does a credit check and additional background investigation to determine your mortgage amount potential. A loan approval letter is then issued, to be used within a designated timeframe.

Tip #3 Always Get a Home Inspection

Whether it is a hundred-year-old house or a new construction condominium, it is important to have a home inspector check out the property. There may be unseen problems with the home that could end up costing you thousands to fix. If detected early, repairs can be negotiated into the contract. Or if the defect is considerable, you still have time to walk away from the deal.

Tip #4 Know the Market

Find out what other properties are selling for in the area youíre looking at. Comparative data can be very helpful when it comes to making an offer because you know what a similar home in the same location is worth. Use this information to back your bid and negotiate with the seller.

Tip #5 Research the Neighborhood

The Internet is an endless resource of information that can clue you in to an areaís current and historic events. Do web searches on the neighborhood youíre interested in and find out what news (if any) has occurred there in recent years. The city website is generally loaded with links to valuable facts and records on everything from parking zones to crime incidents.

Tip #6 An Accepted Offer is Unalterable

Once your offer on a home is accepted by the seller, it can no longer be modified and the price is set. The offer is now a legal and binding contract, so make sure the desired contingencies and concessions are written into your offer before you present it to the sellerís party.

Tip #7 Prepare for Closing Costs

Most cases require you to pay closing costs with cash, cashierís check or wire transfer at the time of closing. Find out beforehand exactly how much money you need to cover these expenses (typically 1% to 2% of the mortgage amount). If youíre not prepared with the correct checks or payments you risk delaying the purchase of your home.

Tip #8 Plan to Stay Put

Only buy a home if youíre planning to live in it for awhile. Thereís no definite cutoff of when a property purchase becomes profitable, but itís generally thought that spending at least 3 to 5 years in your home will allow enough time so that you donít lose money on the investment.

Tip #9 Donít Trust Your Memory

When you start visiting properties you should bring a notepad (and a digital camera if you have one) to record your thoughts and observations of the home. You may think you can remember everything about the places you see, but after several stops it gets difficult to keep the properties straight. And donít forget to label the photos and notes otherwise your efforts will be for naught!

Tip #10 Hire a Professional

Real estate agents are highly-trained experts, working to get you the best deal. Hiring an agent saves you time, headaches and yes, even money. Their fine-tuned negotiating skills and familiarity of the market is something a hundred home buying tips cannot come close to matching.

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