A home is the biggest purchase in most people’s lives and it can be difficult to know where to start and what questions to ask. Here are some simple steps that you can follow in your quest for a new pad:
1) Decide how much house you can afford
Figuring out what you can pay each month will help narrow down the homes for sale listings. A good way of doing this is using calculators such as this one from Mortgage Marvel (here). Make sure you put down an amount that is less than your monthly income, because if something goes wrong with your employment or personal life, there should be money left over to cover other expenses. If you have no idea about the mortgage rates near you, check with a real estate agent and they should be able to give you some idea.
2) Get pre-approved for financing
Obtaining a home loan, with the lowest interest rates along with competitive repayment terms is one of the most important things when buying your new home. It will not only allow you to negotiate better with the seller but also boost your confidence in such a big purchase. You can easily get an online quote from any reliable bank or mortgage broker in town if you have all your documents ready. Make sure that this initial quotation is more than what you actually want to spend on a home before negotiations start, because there are always hidden costs involved when buying a house and it’s a good idea not to make a low ball offer straight from the start.
3) Work out your budget
Like mentioned before, it’s best to know how much you can afford in terms of monthly repayments. This will help you narrow down your home search (if you want to keep things simple). You don’t necessarily have to stick with the maximum amount that your bank quoted earlier, but make sure that there’s room for savings and emergencies because unexpected expenses are very common when owning a house. Also, do take into account other living costs like utilities (electricity or gas), council rates etc. You can check out some mortgages that offer free quotes here http://www.mortgagesavvy.com/cheap-home-loan/ . They also have many tips available on their site for cheap home loans.
4) Research on the neighborhood’s schools, local amenities, transportation options and crime rates
Schools are important because it determines if your kids can go to them or not. Crime rates might directly affect your family safety while some neighborhoods have better public transport than others which may impact on your daily commute into work. Look up some reviews online about these things before finalizing a particular area that you want to buy in. This is also where hiring an agent comes in handy because s/he will most likely know more about any issues with the house itself (if you decide to hire one).
5) Visiting open houses
Open houses are great ways of viewing different homes around town without having to deal with realtors. It will allow you to get a feel of what each neighborhood has to offer and potentially meet the neighbors in your area. However, it’s important that you don’t overwhelm yourself with too many open houses because then you might miss out on some great homes that are worth looking at more closely.
6) Meet up with real estate agents
Your agent is there for one reason only – to help you find the best possible house for sale within your budget range before time runs out! They can also do all things related to paperwork, negotiations with the seller etc so it’s good idea not to overload them all at once before actually seeing any homes. You should be able to narrow down on a handful of listings that meet your criteria by this point.
7) Looking at a few homes more closely
Now you can look at some of the homes that your realtor has put together on a shortlist, but it’s vital to narrow this down to one or two before visiting them. It helps if you have been somewhat busy with other things up until now because then your agent should be able to show you some great properties that meet all criteria as well as give you some good advice on what’s hot and not in the market these days. You are also advised to make notes about different listings when viewing them so you don’t forget anything important when moving forward.
8) Negotiating the home price
If any negotiations happen after viewing open houses, they will often involve your agent who can later pass on to you any counter offers by the seller. If you are comfortable doing all of the negotiations yourself, it might be a good idea to tell your agent so they can step aside and let you take over. After the initial offer is made, there should be some time for everyone to think about things before another round begin. The first one who makes an offer first will gain the upper hand, but if that person fails to act then the next person has their chance. Lastly, don’t forget that buying a house is not just about paying money but also includes maintaining this property in its current condition as well as future upkeeps which could cost more than what you paid for it!