3 Things to Know About Buying a Home

Buying a home can be a daunting endeavor – the process may begin with some casual visits to open houses in a few target neighborhoods to get a sense of the market, and choosing whether to work with a real estate agent is often the next step.  But by keeping a few key points in mind, it is possible to keep it (relatively) simple:

●     Determine your priorities. Outline your needs before you begin house hunting in earnest. Do you need a short commute? A walkable neighborhood? Easy access to public transit? Great public schools? Buying a home is a big commitment, so make sure you know what you really want and need before diving in. Touring open houses and speaking with a real estate agent (or four) can give you a good sense of what’s available, but making a list of ‘must-haves’ and ‘would-like-to-haves’ beforehand will help you focus on likely areas.

●     Find partners. Even in a slower market, there can be high demand for homes in a given price range or area, and being prepared can help ensure that you don’t miss out on your ideal home. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage and then finding a lawyer and home inspector can be time-consuming. A real estate agent can help guide you through the process (both in advance and in ‘real time’). Ask friends and family for real estate agent recommendations – a happy customer is a good sign.

●     Stick to your budget. It may seem that buying a home should be not involve much more than negotiating the listing price, but it’s rarely so simple – there are a number of other factors to consider.  Real estate taxes, mortgage terms, closing costs, potential remodeling and fees are all part of the package. It’s vital to remember them when considering (and sticking to!) your overall budget.
Buying a home may never be the simple choice it seems to be on television, but it need not be a fearsome one – a little preparation goes a long way.  Knowing exactly what you want, who can help you and what you can spend will keep things moving along nicely. Remember, the home of your dreams is worth all of the effort.