Buying a home can be a very challenging, heartbreaking and tense event in anyone's life! Doing your homework before you start to look is very important. Finding the area you want to live is also important. If you are relocating you need to speak to someone familiar with the area, like a realtor in that community or town. You want to also make sure you can commute to the area. Worse thing would be to buy a home and then after moving in discover that your commute is a nightmare.
A first time home buyer will sometimes look at 50 homes because they are not sure of what they want or are afraid to make that commitment. They will not admit their fears most of the time and will wind up quitting soon after the process starts. A good realtor will help you to get through the fears and anxiety of purchasing the most expensive item you might ever buy. The realtor will walk you through the process and make it an easy process or at least a process that will work and not make you confused. A good realtor will understand that you do not have experience with purchasing a home and will sit and explain the process in easy language.
So, first and most importantly you should find a realtor that will sit with you and discuss what you want in a home, where you want to live and the most important thing is how much you can afford. Getting a pre-approval should be on the top of your list. Anyone planning on buying a home should do this first or at least talk to a realtor and they can help you start the process. You do not want to wind up house poor, struggling with your bills or not being able to fix something if it breaks in your home. A mortgage professional will help to evaluate your income and you will see how this fits into your budget. If you do not know of a mortgage lender talk to your realtor and ask him/her for a referral. Most likely they will refer you to someone who is easy to work with and can give a pre-approval during your first conversation.
Secondly you need to have some money to put down on a house. I cannot believe how many people do not have any money for closing. An FHA loan requires 3.5% down plus you need a deposit. Closing costs can add up to thousands of dollars. A conventional loan requires more of a down payment. There are other options and a good mortgage person can assist you in making the right choice.
Once you have all this in place you can concentrate on the house itself. You need to stay in your price range. Look at homes online and then if you see some that you like schedule an appointment with your realtor. You also do not want to see too many homes. I generally recommend 6-8 homes.
When you go on the appointment the Realtor should have a printout of the property specs. Be prepared to write notes on the back of the spec sheet. Forgetting details when viewing homes is very common. This happens to professionals so it will happen to you. Write down what you love and what you do not on each listing.
When you finish for the day try to go over each home while still fresh in your memory. Remove the homes you do not like and look at the homes you do like and discuss the pros and cons. This will eliminate the homes that will not work for your family. Now you have a smaller amount of homes and you can concentrate on the details.
Lastly, pick homes from your list and go back and take a second view. Do not buy any home until you see it for a second time. You need to be sure. When you choose the homes you like the second visit will help you to make a final decision.
NOW making an offer....Have your realtor send you comparable SOLD homes in the area. Look them over and see how much they sold for and make an informed offer.
Low offers usually do not get looked at, the owners usually comeback with a small counter or do not make a counter at all. Be a serious buyer with the knowledge to make an offer that will fit the property. Work close with the realtor if you are not sure or need help. There are never stupid questions. Ask any questions, they should be able to answer your questions or at least get an answer for you!
Best of luck!
Roxanne Ryan, Realtor
Weichert Realtors Paupack Group
2415 Route 6
Hawley, PA 18428
917-202-1117 or 570-226-8240