7 Steps to Buying the Perfect Home

by Guest Author on November 19, 2014

When it comes time to search for and buy your perfect home, there are a few things that you want to keep in mind to make sure your dream home doesn’t turn into a nightmare. While you can break this process down into any number of steps, seven is a number that will bring you luck during your search for the perfect home.

Seven Lucky Steps to Buying the Perfect Home

Here are the seven foolproof steps that you need to take in order to ensure that you get exactly what you want with no bad surprises:

1. Set a Realistic Budget and Stick to It

Take you credit rating, income, monthly expenses, bills, loans, the down payment, closing costs and interest rate into account. Crunch these numbers until you figure out how much you can realistically afford (or talk with a lender, housing counselor or financial consultant). Look for home buying programs in your state that help first time buyers get breaks on costs and taxes. You can also look into buying a fixer-upper or renting to own as well.

2. Do Your “Home”work

As a home buyer, you have a certain amount of rights that you should be aware of. Do your homework to learn about fair housing, RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act), Borrower’s Rights and how to avoid predatory lending. Look into Good Neighbor Next Door programs (this used to be called the Teacher, Officer, Firefighter Next Door program).

HUD housing is also a route that many choose to go. On the coastlines, look for the Hurricane Evacuees discount sales. Obscure programs such as Section 184 (The Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program) might also apply to you, as might home ownership programs for those in public housing. The more you know about the process and what is available to you, the better prepared you will be and the less likely it is that you will be taken advantage of.

3. Vet Your Lenders

Don’t just speak to one lender, talk with quite a few so that you can compare the deals you are getting. Lenders will offer different interest rates and costs, so knowing the market will help you negotiate better deals for yourself. This is called leverage and the only way that you can get this is by shopping around, comparing prices and possibly even getting pre-approved for a loan—the same goes with mortgages.

Look into FHA loans and interest-only loans as alternative choices to work within your budget and financial situation. Use everything you can to your advantage to get the lowest interest rates on your loan while keeping mortgages off of your property.

4. Start Looking at Homes

Now comes the fun part. After all of the pre-work is done, you should start looking around the areas you want to move to. Speaking with a real estate agent (or a number of real estate agents) is the easiest way to do this, especially if you have a fairly lengthy wishlist and checklist for needs. Of course, you can do this on your own by hitting the pavement, checking our sites like MLS, or even reviewing listings on Craigslist. Bottom line though, is that real estate agents in the area will be familiar with the houses that are available and also be able to match you up with what you are looking for.

Look at HUD homes, fixer-uppers and other types of homes, even if you aren’t truly considering them is also an option. You never know what you are going to fall in love with and exploring all of your options—not just the options you think you know about—gives you the best chance at landing that dream home. Working with a real estate agent can also help.  They are excellent resources for contractors and other parties you might need to engage, just in case you end up in a house that needs a bit of work.

5. Learn about the Neighborhoods

So much is put on finding the perfect house that it’s easy to overlook the fact that the house might not be in the best area. Look at the schools in the area if you have a family or are planning to start one. If there is a Home Owner’s Association (HOA), ask for a copy of the rules so you know what you are getting into. Is the crime in the area low? Is there enough funding for fire and police? How are the shops and restaurants? Is there a nightlife if you want one? What’s the cost of living in the area? Are the taxes high or low? How about nuclear powerplants in the area? Parks? Trails? There are tons of things to consider, be sure you cover them all and tell your real estate agent what you are looking for, so that they can make recommendations based on your criteria.

6. Making an Offer They Can’t Refuse

When you find the house of your dreams in an area that is right for you and your loved ones, it’s time to make an offer. Your real estate agent will discuss this in-depth with you, but typically you will offer lower than the seller is asking (especially if you are paying in cash). Then, the seller will likely counter the offer and this is where having a great real estate agent—and leverage—really comes in handy.

Eventually, through negotiations, you will either come to a price point that is agreeable to both parties or you will walk. Keep in mind that you might not be the only person making an offer on the house—don’t be afraid to walk away but don’t be too close-minded to spending a little more than you open with. Just be sure to stick to your budget.

7. Get a Home Inspection

And lastly after you agree on the offer, get a home inspection performed and begin preparations to move into your own home sweet home; without the surprises that you may encounter if you don’t have a home inspection.

Author Bio – This article is written by James Andrews from www.lbirealty.com.

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