INFORMATION FOR BUYER
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Buying a home can be one of your most significant investments in life. Not only are you choosing your dwelling place, and the place in which you will bring up your family, you are most likely investing a large portion of your assets into this venture. The more prepared you are at the outset, the less overwhelming and chaotic the buying process will be. The goal of this page is to provide you with detailed information to assist you in making an intelligent and informed decision. Remember, if you have any questions about the process, we are only a phone call or email away!
Common Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make
Buying a residence can be a hair raising experience. You will experience a roller coaster of emotions while finding the right place, securing the loan and finally moving in. For most of us, the first time home purchase is the largest investment we�ve ever considered. The emotions of purchasing something so expensive and personal can often cloud our business judgment.
Most home purchasers do little or no research before they invest their nest egg. Doesn�t it make sense to become as completely informed as possible before you buy your first home? This special report is designed to help you avoid 10 common and crucial mistakes. The right real estate professional can help you make good sound business decisions based on your personal situation.
Inspect, Inspect and Inspect - Go over the inspection report with a fine tooth comb. Make sure the report was done by a professional organization. For condo purchases go over the CC&R�s, By-Laws, and Association Fees. Don�t take anything for granted... inspect everything!
Imagine the Property Vacant - Your furnishings and decorations will be the ones filling this new residence. Don�t be swayed by beautiful furniture; it leaves with the owner.
Income + Lifestyle = Mortgage Payment - Sit down with your professional real estate agent and honestly discuss your income level and living expenses. Take into account future considerations, children, add-ons, amenities, and fix-ups. Your dream home is certainly worth a sacrifice but don�t mortgage your entire future.
View Several Homes - See at least few properties. Don�t move too slow but don�t move on the first property you see. With your agent�s help you should be able to view enough properties to get a good overall perspective of the home market. When you find the right property all the leg work will be worth it.
Utilize Your Team - By aligning yourself with the right real estate professional you will have an entire team at your disposal. Utilize your lender, title rep and agent. Each of them should work hand in hand for your benefit. Explore all the options before you sign.
Be Det. - Check out all costs and expenses before you sign. Utilities, taxes, insurance, maintenance and home owner dues if applicable. Make sure all utilities (gas, electricity, and water) are on during tour walk-through so you can inspect everything in working order. Ask lots of questions and be very detail conscious.
Do a Final Walk-Through - Visit the property after all furnishings have been moved out to be sure there are no surprises. Be absolutely positive the property was left exactly as you had agreed upon in the contract. Things that could have been spotted in a final walk-through are often unintentionally overlooked.
Plan For Flexibility - Closing dates are not written in stone. Allow for contingencies and have a back-up plan. If you or the sellers need a little more time to conclude the final arrangements, don�t let these delays upset or frustrate you. These types of circumstances are not uncommon in a real estate transaction.
If It�s Not In Writing, It Doesn�t Exist - All promises and discussions should be in writing. Don�t make any assumptions or believe any assurances. Even the best intentions can be misinterpreted. Have your professional keep an ongoing log in writing of all discussions and get the seller�s written approval on all agreements.
Loyalty Breeds Loyalty - Be open, honest and up front with your team. Hard feelings and disloyalty will cause head aches, delays or may even keep you from getting into the home you worked so hard to locate. Take the time to select the right team in the beginning and your first home purchase will be a pleasing and memorable experience.
POWERFUL BUYING STRATEGIES CURRENT MORTGAGE RATE Back to Top ▲
In a perfect world, it would be easy to always be objective and make rational decisions based on sound information. In reality, emotions and timing often have a big effect. Sometimes the best you can do is try to set the stage so that you minimize the subjective influences.
Give yourself power and control. Don't find yourself in the position of "having" to buy and doing so in haste.
1 - Work out the finances first. Paying cash? Getting a mortgage? Find out what you can afford and check out all your various options.
Meet with whatever experts you need to in order to have all your facts - a lender, your tax advisor, etc. Knowing exactly what you want to spend and can spend will eliminate time spent looking at properties you can't have.
Not only that, when you find the right property you can make a "clean" offer without a financing contingency. Sellers are more likely to respond favorably to clean offers.
2 - Unless you really want to own two properties, sell first. Then buy. First of all, the property you want will probably not take a contingency offer. So unless you are prepared to own both (and you have to plan for a worst case scenario) you are wasting your time with the offer.
Second, if you are emotionally attached to what you want to buy you won't be as objective on selling your home. You may take less than it's worth so that you don't lose the other home. There's nothing wrong with that as long as you understand the financial implications.
3 - Use a realtor who knows the market. That may sound too simple in this age of the internet, when buyers have access to the same data the agent has. The difference is the ability to interpret that data.
Full-time realtors do more than show homes and write contracts. They study market trends and observe area fluctuations. You are thinking about your needs now. But your agent is thinking about both now and in the future when you are ready to sell again and looking for your future resale opportunities.
In addition, the internet is an increasingly non-objective source of information. Many websites do not display all the properties that are for sale in a given area because of contractual conflicts. And most new communities are not listed at all in any search vehicle. A professional realtor should be able to show you all the homes that fit your needs.
That doesn't mean look at 200 homes before you make a decision. Sometimes it's the first home you see. But don't let an agent, a seller, or a spouse, push you into something you don't feel good about.
5 - You can't have it all. Decide what is most important in your next home and put it into perspective. If it's location, or price, or view, or square footage, or school districts, or amenities, or whatever.
Remember that some things can be changed. Floors, kitchens, landscaping, etc. are all changeable. So if they are not perfect, they can be. But location, view, amenities, etc. are there forever.
No matter what your budget, the good fairy of real estate did not go - poof! There it is. It simply doesn't happen. Everyone has to make compromises. So decide what truly matters to you and put that at the top of your list. Give in on what doesn't matter as much.
If you Follow these guidelines and you'll get the home you desire.
Buying the Best House for Your Money CURRENT MORTGAGE RATE Back to Top ▲
1. Get "Pre-Approved" - Not "Pre-Qualified!"
Do you want to get the best property you can for the least amount of money? Then make sure you are in the strongest negotiating position possible. Price is only one element in the negotiations, and not necessarily the most important one. Often other terms, such as the strength of the buyer or the length of escrow, are critical to a seller.
In years past, I always recommended that buyers get "pre-qualified" by a lender. This means that you spend a few minutes on the phone with a lender who asks you a few questions. Based on the answers, the lender pronounces you "pre-qualified" and issues a certificate that you can show to a seller. Sellers are aware that such certificates are WORTHLESS, and here's why! None of the information has been verified!
Many times unknown problems can come to the surface! Some of the problems I've seen include recorded judgments, alimony payments due, glitches on the credit report due to any number of reasons both accurately and inaccurately, down payments that have not been in the clients' bank account long enough, etc.
So the way to make the strongest offer today is to get "pre-approved". This happens AFTER all information has been checked and verified. You are actually APPROVED for the loan and the only loose end is the appraisal on the property. This process takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on your situation. It's VERY POWERFUL and a weapon I recommend all my clients have in their negotiating arsenal.
2. Sell Your Property First, Then Buy the House
If you have a house to sell, sell it before selecting a house to buy! Contingency sales aren't nearly as strong as one that comes in with a ready, willing and able buyer. Consider this scenario: You've found the perfect house - now you have to go make an offer to the seller. You want the seller to reduce the price and wait until you sell your house. The seller figures that this is a risky deal, since he might pass up a buyer who DOESN'T have to sell a house while he's waiting for you. So he says OK, he'll do the contingency but it has to be a full price offer! You have now paid more for the house than you could have because of the contingency, and you have to sell your existing house in a hurry! Otherwise you lose the house! So to sell quickly you might take an offer that's lower than if you had more time. The bottom line is that buying before selling might cost you THOUSANDS of dollars.
If you're concerned that there is not a house on the market for you, then go on a window-shopping trip. You can identify possible houses and locations without falling in love with a specific house. If you feel confident after that then put your house on the market.
Another tactic is to make the sale ''subject to seller finding suitable housing''. Adding this phrase to the listing means that WHEN YOU DO FIND A BUYER, you will have some time to find the new place. If you don't find anything to your liking, you don't have to sell your present home.
3. Play the Game of Nines
Before house hunting, make a list of things you want in the new place. Then make a list of the things you don't want. You can use this list as a guide to rate each property that you see. The one with the biggest score wins! This helps avoid confusion and keeps things in perspective when you're comparing dozens of homes.
When house hunting, keep in mind the difference between ''STYLE AND SUBSTANCE''. The SUBSTANCE are things that cannot be changed such as the location, view, size of lot, noise in the area, school district, and floor plan. The STYLE represents easily changed surface finishes like carpet, wallpaper, color, and window coverings. Buy the house with good SUBSTANCE, because the STYLE can always be changed to match your tastes. I always recommend that you imagine each house as if it were vacant.
Consider each house on its underlying merits, not the seller's decorating skills.
4. Don't Be Pushed Into Any House
Your agent should show you everything available that meets your requirements. Don't make a decision on a house until you feel that you've seen enough to pick the best one.
A decade ago, homes were selling quickly, usually a few days after listing. In that kind of market, agents advised their clients to make an offer ON THE SPOT if they liked the house. That was good advice at the time. Today there isn't always this urgency, unless a home is drastically under priced, and you'll know if it is.
Don't forget to check into the SCHOOL DISTRICTS of the area you're considering. Information is available on every school; such as class sizes, % of students that go on to college, SAT scores, etc. You can get this information from this web site.
5. Stop Calling Ads!
Please note - ads are sometimes created to make the phone ring! Many of the homes have some drawback that's not mentioned in the ad, such as traffic noise, power lines, or litigation in the community. What's not mentioned in the ad is usually more important than what is.
For this reason, I want you to be very careful when reading ads. Remember that the person writing the ad is representing the seller and not you! The most important thing you can do is have someone on your side looking out for your best interests. Your own agent will critique the property with an eye towards how well it meets your needs and will point out any drawbacks you should know about. So whether you decide to work with me or not, pick an agent you feel comfortable with and enlist the services of that agent as a buyer's broker. Then you become a client with all the rights, benefits, and privileges created by this agency relationship, and you're no longer just a shopper. Did you know that many homes are sold WITHOUT A SIGN ever going up or an AD EVER BEING PUT IN THE PAPER? These "great deals" go to those people who are committed to working with one agent. When an agent hears of a great buy, who do you think he's going to call? His client, who he has a legal obligation to work hard for you, or someone who just called on the phone and said "keep your eyes open"? So to get the best buy on a property, I always recommend that you hire your own agent and stick with him or her.
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RAJEEV R. SHARMA ( RAJ)
Licensed Real Estate Broker
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