Basic guidelines that even the most experienced Buyer can appreciate!
1. Research before you look. Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you’d be willing to spend each month for housing. Ask a REALTOR® about the most recent sold statistics on recent sales, the percentage from listing price to selling price, and neighborhood trends. You may also consider a short sale or bank owned property, but be prepared for a longer than usual escrow period.
4. Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own. Work with your REALTOR® in your decision making process.
5. Decide your moving timeline. When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? Are you able to negotiate a early move out with your landlord? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move.
6. Think long term. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you. Think re-sale factors for your area, too. Single level vs. two story can be a factor in many areas.
7. Insist on a home inspection. Get referrals for home inspectors from your REALTOR® and friends who have purchased recently. If possible, get a home warranty from the seller in your purchase contract to cover defects for one year.
8. Get help from a REALTOR®. Hire a real estate professional who specializes in buyer representation. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer’s representative is working only for you. Buyer’s reps are usually paid out of the seller’s commission payment.
Source: with permission from National Association of REALTORS®, Laurie Barrera, ABR, GREEN