Six Easy Steps to Buying a Home, State College, Bellefonte, Centre County, PA Real Estate
Lots of important and useful information all in one post written by my good friend Debbie Baldes.
Six Easy Steps to Buying a Home
Buying a home is easy but because it will probably be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, purchase you will ever make. You will need to plan your adventure, you need to research and make educated decisions.
These six easy steps to buying a home should help you out:
Step 1: Establish Your Needs and Wants
Each time a home-buyer comes to my initial consultation I give them a piece of paper. It says, “Ten Things I Can’t Live With” and “Ten Things I Can’t Live Without.” This helps them really think about what their home must and must not have. It is important that my buyers know a fireplace or a bath tub are must haves! They also must know that they don’t want to climb stairs so only a one story will do. Many first time home-buyers may not think about these things until it’s too late! It’s my job to make sure my home buyers are happy with the home they choose!
Step 2: Determine How Much Home You Can Afford
How much do you want to spend monthly on a house payment? You must also take into consideration: taxes, insurance, mortgage insurance, HOA’s, water, sewer, garbage, gas, electric, etc. You must also budget for maintenance and repairs. To help with the repairs and maintenance, talk to your agent about a home warranty. I think this is important for every homeowner to have. Most components in the home are covered and all you have to pay is the small deductible, around $50!
Step 3: Get Pre-Approved (Not Pre-Qualified) With A Lender
Most all homes on the market will want an approval letter with the offer. To get pre-qualified means that, based on what you have “told” the lender, you would qualify for the home. BUT, a pre-approval means you have actually provided documentation to the lender and the lender has verified the information and issued you an approval to move forward!
The very first question I ask someone who calls on one of my listings is, “Have you spoken with a lender and have you got pre-approved?” It is important to speak with a good lender and make sure that they have discussed payment options with you. Just because you qualify for a purchase of $300,000 doesn’t mean you want the payment that a $300,000 purchase brings!
Be sure you know where you stand BEFORE you start looking at homes.
Step 4: Find A Good REALTOR® to Help You
Please take the time to read another blog that I wrote about choosing someone to help you. Because the real estate market is undergoing so many changes, it’s important to choose someone who is a full time agent, been in the business at least 3 years, and is a REALTOR®.
You can visit my website and start searching for homes right now!
Step 5: Find A Home That Meets Your Needs
Five tips for successful house hunting:
- Keep an organized record of all your research. Write down comments about the homes you see. Keep track of your likes and dislikes. I give my buyers a binder of useful information and a place to put in all the listings that we view together. I think it is important to keep all their information in one place.
- Make sure your agent is aware of your time schedules and expectations. Do you have a certain time frame in which you need to move, do you have certain days and times that are better for looking a homes? Make sure you discuss this with your agent.
- Tell your agent about what homes you see that interest you and that you’d like to know more about. This includes, for sale by owners and homes you’ve seen online.
- If you like to spend time driving around ask your agent for a list of homes that you can drive by. This is a good idea because you will get a good feel for the different areas which will help you know where you want to be. When you see a home that you like and you want to go inside, let your agent know.
- Express your like and dislikes to you agent after you look at each home. Honest communication is essential. Remember, unless the agent lives in the home, it’s not theirs, they won’t take negative feedback personal!
Step 6: Make An Offer To Buy A Home
In today’s market, you may make several offers on homes! I tell all my buyers not to get frustrated in the offer process. You have to put offers on the homes that you like and what ever home is meant to be yours will be the one you get!
Your agent will help you write each offer. There are rarely two offers that look alike. How you write up your offer will depend on if the home is listed as an REO (bank owned), a short sale, or a owner occupied home.
With the six easy steps to buying a home, you should be ready to go! Good luck and best wishes in your home search!