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Tips for Buyers
Avoiding Common Errors | Needs and Wants | Find a location

A lot of thought goes into buying a home. And whether this is your first home or you are a home-buying veteran, there are things you should always keep in mind. Below is a list of helpful tips for conducting your search. If you have questions, or you'd like to discuss anything, don't hesitate to contact us!

Before you look for a new home, ask yourself a few basic questions. Why are you moving? Because you need to? Or because you want to? Do you want to find a nice family neighborhood? Or a house near the beach? Are you looking for your first home? An investment property? Or a place to retire? Assess your needs ahead of time, and you will have already done half the work.
Dream big, but don't get lost in them. Looking at homes well beyond your means is fun. But falling in love with one can spell trouble. Talk to a lender. Find out what you can afford. Then look at homes just below and just above your price range.
You never know.You might find a bargain fixer-upper. Or you could come across an expensive home with a motivated seller who's willing to work with you. Try never to get too excited, or too worried, and always be willing to walk away from a home that's not right.
Put your finances in order. Don't make big-ticket purchases, like buying a new car. Don't move money around from one bank account to another. That makes lenders suspicious. And finally, get pre-approved by a lender. They will order a credit report ahead of time and resolve any mistakes or blemishes You'll be a stronger buyer when the time comes to make an offer.
Get to know the market. Find out if you're in a hot market where homes get multiple offers. Or a cold market where properties remain on the market for months. The difference is night and day. Get in your car and drive around. Locate the neighborhoods that appeal to you. Take notice of the services and the sense of community each neighborhood has. Visiting open houses is another great way to get a feel for the market.
Your offer is more than a number. When you offer to by someone's house, don't just show them the money. Think of other ways to make your offer attractive. Agree to their escrow preferences. Suggest a lower selling price while offering to cover necessary repairs out of your own pocket. If the seller conducted their own inspections, consider waiving your inspection contingency. Offer to pay some of their closing costs. Money does talk, but it's not everything.
Inspect it now, or pay for it later. If you buy a home and find out termites are feasting on the floor boards, or that your pipes are about to burst, don't say we didn't warn you. There are just too many unknowns when buying a house. Always get property, pest and roof inspections, and read them carefully. Inspections not only protect you from buying a lemon, they can serve as a valuable negotiating tool.

Needs and wants
House Buying Needs and Wants

When looking for a new home you need to be careful to distinguish between your needs and simply what you want. Similar to the list you develop to purchase groceries, why not develop your own list of needs and wants in a new home?

This way, when your budget does not allow all of the "want" items on your list, you have a reminder of the most important features you must include in your decision.

A review of NEEDS versus WANTS:

• Adequate square footage for comfortable living.
• Sufficient bedrooms for your family
• Sufficient bathrooms
• Comfortable eat-in kitchen
• Garage or basement for storage needs
• Backyard for children's play area
• Easy access to school

• Specific carpeting, paint, exterior color
• Pool
• Jacuzzi
• Hardwood floors
• Bay windows
• Built-in entertainment center
• Brass lighting fixtures
• Skylights
• A pretty view

Try finding a happy medium of NEEDS and WANTS. That is, you'll want to look for a home that includes all of your needs, with as many wants as practical, while remaining within your budget.


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Avoiding Common
Home-buying Errors

Shopping for a new home is an exciting experience. It can also be a time-consuming process riddled with details. Some buyers, caught up in the emotions of buying a new home, tend to overlook some items that can turn that purchase into an expensive process. Their errors fall into three general areas:

• Paying too much
• Buying the wrong home
• Losing a dream home to another buyer

When you have a plan before you shop, you'll be sure to avoid these costly errors. Here are some tips on making the most of your home purchase:

Making an offer without enough information

What price do you offer a seller? Is the seller's asking price too high? Is it a deal? Without research on the market and comparable homes, you could lose thousands of dollars. Before you make that offer, be sure you have researched the market. A professional realtor can offer an unbiased opinion on the value of a home based on market conditions, condition of the home and neighborhood. Without knowledge of the market, your offer could be too much. Even worse, you could miss out on a great buying opportunity.

Buying the wrong home for your needs
What do you need and want in a home? Sounds simple. Yet, clearly identifying your needs and bringing an objective view to home shopping, leaves you in a better position. Sometimes, home buyers buy a home that is too large or too small. Perhaps they didn't consider the drive to work, the distance to school, or the many repair jobs waiting for completion. Plan ahead. Use your needs list as a guideline for every home you view.

Using an outdated survey
Before the purchase is completed, an updated survey is essential. This report will indicate boundaries and structural changes (additions to the house, a new swimming pool, neighbor's new fence which is extending a boundary line, etc.).

Unclear title
Before you sign any document, be sure the property you are considering is free of all encumbrances. As part of their services, a realtor can supply you with a copy of the title to ensure there are no liens, debts, undisclosed owners, leases or easements.

Shopping without pre-approval
It only takes a few days to get financing pre-approval. When you are shopping for a home, this gives you more power. A seller is more likely to consider an offer from a serious buyer.

Unexpected repairs
For $300 to $500 a professional inspector will conduct a thorough inspection of the home. This way, you'll have an idea of the cost of future repairs and won't get any expensive surprises. Make the final contract subject to a favorable report.

Remember additional costs
Besides the funds for the purchase of a home, you'll need funds for items such as loan fees, insurance, legal fees, surveys, inspections, etc.

Rushing the closing
Before you sign, ensure that all documentation clearly reflects your understanding and conditions of the transaction. Has anything been forgotten? Don't rush. You could lose money, financing or even the sale.

Working closely with a licensed realtor with expertise in such transactions can help you avoid some of these pitfalls. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

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