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Home Buying Tips PDF Print E-mail

Finding the property that 'speaks to you' can be nerve racking to put it mildly. There are so many choices,and it can be frustrating when you finally find the right house but the price is not what you can work with or the right spice but the house is all wrong. There are a few basics to keep in mind when you want to buy a house:

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  1. Get an agent: This is sound advice, unless you are well experienced in buying and selling. 80 percent of the property goes through agents and if you do not have an agent you you could be missing out. What you will see is only about 20% of the properties being sold by the owners.
  2. Choose an agent wisely: it is one thing to decide to get an agent; and another thing to get a good one. You will know that your agent is a good one when:
    1. He/she provides you with sufficient background information. Your agent should be willing to provide you with the names of a few past clients as a reference
    2. He/she is easy to talk to, not full of jargon and business airs; your agent needs to be "on-your-side" and really understand your needs and requirements. Unless you have a good rapport with your agent, you may never get the right property.
    3. He/she should have knowledge of the local market trends and preferably has been in the business for at least a few years (it is not that new real estate agents are not good, but it is always better to have an experienced hand)
    4. He/she has a few expired listing that you can check.
  3. Get your budget right: Before you even start to look for a house, decide what you are willing to spend. Purchasing a property can have is a long term financial commitment, prepare a long term budget be realistic.Only when you have a definite price range (min-max) should you proceed to look for a house. Having pre-approved mortgage will clearly indicate the limits of your budget, not to mention expedite the process when you effect the purchase.
  4. Research and decide what is available: Check the housing in the neighborhood you would like to live and see what would suit you best. Keep location, design and facilities in mind. Settle on something that makes you feel good when you are inside and outside.
  5. Keep future needs in mind: Buying a house is a long term investment, is your family going to increase, will you be able to expand if the need arises? Whether you would want to have a home office or a large family, see if the house you choose can expand or already has the amenities to accommodate your future needs.
  6. Be systematic: Maintain files on each of the properties you see and stored all pertinent information on each house you see such as price, pros and cons, features you love the most, features you hate the most, suitability etc. This will your decision making in the end.
  7. Know the facts: Being will educated on what to look for - like walls, plumbing, electric wiring, etc. Be sure that you know what the house inspection process involves so you can not only understand what is good and what is bad in the houses you see, but also know what you have to look for to qualify it.

What to ask for when buying a new home

Buying a house can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience. Here are some key questions to ask yourself and sellers before rushing into a down payment.

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The following is a list of general questions you should always ask when considering making a real estate purchase. Keep in mind, however, you are unique. You have particular dislikes and likes as well as factors in your life that are different from other people. The point I am trying to make is that you shouldn't stick to just these questions. You are making an important choice, so give some thought to your situation.

  1. Don’t rush into things. The first question to ask should be directed at yourself. What type of home do you want? How big should it be? What amenities do you want? Are you planning for a family in the next three to five years and will the home be able to accommodate a new bundle of joy? Make a definitive list and stick to it. If you stray from it, you could end up with a house that does not’t really fit you and suffer buyer’s remorse.
  2. The next question is what area do you want to live in? Pick a few. You may find the prices to be excessive or the selection not so hot, but make sure you exhaust those areas before moving on. Again, you want to avoid buyer’s remorse.
  3. Once you start looking at homes, a key question to ask is how long the house has been on the market. The amount of time will give you an idea of how flexible the owner is on price. If the house has been on the market for a month, the owner isn't’t going to be very flexible. If it has been on the market for six months, flexibility will definitely exist.
  4. Has the house previously been in escrow, but fell out? If so, find out why? Was it a problem with the buyer getting financing or did the buyer find out there was something wrong with the home?
  5. What kind of condition is the house in and how old is it? Remember that a seller has typically done everything reasonably possible to spruce up the home. If you can see wear and tear on the house, it may be a red flag. In such a situation, you need to get a home inspection to make sure there aren’t problems in areas you can’t see such as mold, rust and water leaks.
  6. If you have children or are planning on it, you must investigate the school district. Are the schools good? Are there gangs or crime in the area?
  7. In addition to the home price, you should ask whether there are any additional fees such as association fees.
  8. What are the property taxes and what will they be when you buy? Many people are shocked to find out how much they have to kick out in property taxes. Don’t get surprised.
  9. Noise is another big issue to consider. If you are serious about the property, make sure to drive buy on weekdays and weekends. If the property shares a wall with another residence, such as a duplex or condo, make sure you view it while the neighbors are home to get an idea of how loud it is.
  10. In the euphoria of buying a property, practical issues can be missed. A big one is traffic. Specifically, what is the commute like between the house and your place of work? You don’t want to buy the house only to find out it takes three hours to get to and from work each day.

Obviously, you should be asking many additional questions before making a purchase. These 10 questions, however, will help you get started.

 
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