- Identify your needs and wants. At first, you may have your heart set on an updated colonial Georgian mansion with a full porch, acres of land, a home theater and Jacuzzi out back. Yet, when you see the price-tag, you might think twice. Go over your priority list and determine where you may be willing to compromise and what items are truly essential to your family’s well-being.
- Devise a budget. You don’t want to wait until you’re sitting in the negotiation room to find out you’re buying more “house” than you can afford. Couples often disagree on what is feasible or not, so you want to have this settled before your emotions come into play. In his book, Total Money Makeover, finance expert Dave Ramsay recommends spending no more than 25-35% of your after-tax income on housing.
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will be your grand bargaining chip. Often, negotiations fall apart when buyers can’t obtain the loan they expected. You may be able to win a bidding war or haggle down the price a little if you can prove you are eligible for financing. Having that mortgage letter in your hand also ensures that you enter the buying process with realistic expectations as to what you can afford and do not waste any time.
- Pick an experienced, personable realtor. You want someone who is friendly, ethical, experienced and helpful. Working with the wrong representative can be a source of frustration and disappointment. Save yourself the hassle and contact someone at Prudential Beazley Real Estate.
- Learn about the local market. A good real estate expert can explain pricing trends and let you know which communities may have something that suits your needs within your budget. Sometimes you may need to raise your budget or lower your expectations. However, a truly skilled representative can reveal new options you weren’t aware of that fit the bill.
- Make a list. Narrow down your search to several different neighborhoods that appeal to you. Consider traffic, neighborhood amenities, local schools, demographics, crime statistics, and pricing. Let your agent know why these areas interest you.
- Take a look at available inventory. Have your real estate agent draw up a list of available homes. Look at the brochures, online listings, and drive through the neighborhoods. Attend open houses or arrange a private tour to have a closer look. At this point, you should be ready to purchase immediately if you find something you like.
- Have patience. Some people buy the first or second home they step into, while others may search for their dream home for months. Approach the process with patience and an optimistic attitude. You WILL find what you are looking for eventually. Delight in the search and enjoy this opportunity to imagine the possibilities for your life, going forward. When you walk into your future home, you will just know in your heart that it’s the right place for your family to grow and thrive.
FACT: Did you know you can get a BRAND NEW, never-lived-in home for $139,000 or less?