Top Pa Home Buying Tips
Take a thorough inventory of your finances
Buying a home is a major undertaking requiring a certain amount of diligent preparation. Start by speaking with your lender and accountant to see how and what you can do to better qualify for the best mortgage. A professional lender will your run your credit bureaus and make suggestions as to what steps you might improve in the next 6 to 12 months to better qualify for the loan you make be taking out to purchase your new home.
Determine a budget to live within your means
There are a lot of decisions to be made at this point. Just because your lender says you can afford "x" amount per month doesn’t necessarily mean you should necessarily spend that much. This is where an honest assessment of how you want to live comes into play. Should you stretch for the house with the inground pool for the extra $50,000 or $400 a month, or will that leave you “house poor?” What other expenses can you foresee in the future? What kind of shape is your car in? Will you be replacing it soon? Again, a financial professional can help you examine these decisions and a number of others before you commit to sign on the dotted line.
Plan on keeping the home you are buying for at least a few years
Back when properties were “appreciating” at double digit rates, buying a house and selling up to trade up a couple of years later seems very easy. Now that the market has been declining the last few years, you may really take a financial hit if you are buying now and then want (or need) to sell in the first couple of years. If you’ve taken out a 30 year mortgage, chances are that not a lot of principal has come off the loan yet, and that, combined with fix up costs to sell, transfer taxes, seller paid commissions and concessions may leave you with much less than you thought.
Consider the school district where you are planning on buying
Schools are often a very top priority for buyers who have children and also younger couples who may be starting a family soon. Sometimes it may be worth buying in a better district and paying more. Do properties in the district you are looking tend to hold their value more? Are you planning on using public schools or will you be sending your children to a private school are just a couple of important buying decisions. Consider your options carefully.
Use the services of reputable professionals in your area
It’s fun to look at properties on the internet and it’s a great place to start. However when you begin to get serious about buying, seek out the services of a professional buyers agent. A professional buying (or buyers) agent knows their market and can save you tons of time. Their goal is to find you homes that fulfill your wants and needs and help you narrow it down to the best house. The buyers agent deals with real estate transactions, inspectors, lenders, and other agents all the time. They can help you structure the right offer, negotiate with the seller, set up inspections, tend to things when you are busy, help you avoid pitfalls and a host of others. Not to mention that it usually ends up costing you the buyer no extra to use one since usually the seller pays the commission.
Get an actual pre-approval from a lender
Having a lender issue you a preapproval letter will usually put you in a solid position when making an offer. Generally speaking, If you’ve gone through the process of obtaining a pre-approval, the seller has a pretty good idea that you are making a serious offer you intend to follow through on, and that you have the means to do so are and not just “kicking the tires. Lender pre approvals are based on your actual income, debt and credit history which is much different that a pre qualification which is just basically a simple review of your finances scored by some basic lending ratios.
Understand the marketplace you are shopping in
On our Pa Real Estate for sale website, you will find a plethora of searchable information that will help you better understand the market you wish to buy in. That information will be helpful in many of your decisions. Pay attention to the sales trends in your area. Look at the last 6 to 9 months sales. What percent below the asking price are homes selling for. Take that heavily into account in your bid to buy. Is the home you are looking at priced right already? Is the seller pricing it for less because the bathrooms need work? Ask questions, read the listing and compare the market. You want to buy your house at a good price, but not lose it to another more serious buyer. Be flexible and consider all the factors in your negotiations. This is one area where a professional agent can really help you make the best decisions.
Home inspectors are usually worth the money you spend
You are spending a lot of money to buy a home. Using the services of home inspector is a wise idea to find out the condition of the home you are planning to buy. A trained inspector will be able to spot defects and alert you to them. The report itself may help you in your negotiations. But additionally, you’ll have a written report as to the condition of most every item or system in your new home so you can plan a replacement schedule and adjust your budget accordingly. A home inspection can run anywhere between $375 to $650 depending upon size, area, and the scope of the inspection. Think of it as a cheap insurance policy.
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