Welcome back to our series, “Guide to Buying Your Home”! In part 1, we covered the crucial step of preparing yourself financially. Now, it’s time to dive into the exciting part – finding that ideal property that perfectly fits your needs and preferences.
Finding a Realtor
You now have pre-approval for your new home and have a clearer picture as to how much house you can afford; the next step is finding a good real estate agent. Below are a few good things to look for in a real estate agent:
- Strong communication skills – the need to be accessible for questions and requests. You want an agent that is accessible and quick to respond.
- Hyperlocal expertise – they need to have a clear understanding of the market you are after and provide details as to what to expect.
- Experience – how long have they been doing this in the given market?
- Good listener – if they are not good listeners, you may have a problem. They need to have a clear picture as to what you are after.
Location, Location, Location
To make the most of your house-hunting journey, it’s crucial to be clear about your budget and communicate your property preferences to the realtor with clarity and confidence. That way, your agent can expertly curate property options that align with your family’s goals. Remember to share your desired location – this will help your agent narrow down the search. Below are things to consider when you are trying to find that area:
- Quality of the schools in the area
- Property tax expectations
- Safety of the neighborhood/city
- Approximate commute time to work
- Proximity to shopping, services, entertainment, parks, etc.
There are some websites that have done a lot of this research for you. Websites like Neighborhood Scout or Area Vibes are available with information detailing things like local schools, crime rate, cost of living and more.
Making An Offer
As you’re preparing to submit an offer on your dream home, your real estate agent becomes your greatest asset. It’s now their time to shine as they navigate the negotiation process on your behalf. First, they’ll contact the listing agent to determine if there are any competing offers on the property. Then, they’ll dig into the data and provide you with an understanding of the market in the area, using recent comparable sales to give you insight into fair prices. This will be an important component of making a reasonable offer.
One crucial aspect to think about is whether contingencies are necessary for your offer. For example, if you need to sell your current home to afford your dream house, including a contingency for the sale is crucial. The real estate agent can provide invaluable guidance on this subject.
Final Steps Before Purchasing
You now have your dream home under contract! The work is just beginning. You will have a close date and before that close date you will need to get an inspection on the property to see if any improvements or repairs need to be done prior to closing. Inspection is key. You do not want to move forward with a major home purchase without getting a clear idea of the state of your home. You will also be working with a title company and your mortgage company to go through the process of getting everything in place. You will need to make sure that you have a plan for providing the down payment at closing. You can do this typically by having a bank wire the money or by providing a cashier’s check.
Purchasing a home is a huge milestone and often the largest investment you’ll make in your life. You’ll want to make sure you have a reliable realtor and know the area you’re buying in. When it comes time to make an offer, be prepared for negotiations with the seller. Finally, be sure to get an inspection before closing and verify all the paperwork goes smoothly. Any homebuyer should feel confident in their purchase, so take the necessary steps along the way for that peace of mind. Being knowledgeable about these key aspects will put you on your way towards becoming successfully part of the home-buying adventure!
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.