Home Buying Dos and Don ts

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1 Compliments of Records Results Real Estate Fulfilling Dreams in Paradise! Home Buying Dos and Don ts

2 Home Buying Dos and Don ts 2 Table of Contents Introduction...4 Home Buying Dos and Don ts

3 3 Home Buying Dos and Don ts DO Your Research First...5 DO Understand Your Finances...6 DO Negotiate With the Seller...7 DON T Try to Do it Alone...8 DON T Forget the Home Inspection...9 DON T Rush the Process...10 Wrap Up...11

4 Home Buying Dos and Don ts 4 Copyright Notice All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical. Any unauthorized use, sharing, reproduction, or distribution is strictly prohibited. Legal Notice While attempts have been made to verify information provided in this publication, neither the author nor the publisher assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contradictory information contained in this document. This document is not intended as legal, investment, or accounting advice. The purchaser or reader of this document assumes all responsibility for the use of these materials and information. Introduction Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned investor, there are a lot of mistakes to be made in the home buying process. All too often, buyers will jump in and let emotions make their decisions with emotions instead of logic. Owning a home is one of the most sought after accomplishments out there. So when faced with the daunting task of actually choosing a home, it s important to have as much information as possible.

5 5 Home Buying Dos and Don ts That s why we ve assembled a careful list of dos and don ts for the home buying process. This list focuses on specific areas that buyers tend to either forget to do, or fail to avoid. The excitement of a potential deal for an investor or the rush of actually owning a home should never get in the way of a successful purchase. Take the time to read these dos and don ts and take yourself one step closer to being a happy homeowner. DO Your Research First You will never find what you want until you know what you want. So your first step will be to sit down and figure out what that is. Do you want a condo? How important is a good community? Do you want a lot of extra amenities? How about easy maintenance? Are you looking for older charm or newer construction? After you have written down a full list of criteria

6 Home Buying Dos and Don ts 6 that you are interested in, you will need to organize that list. Make two columns, one for items you want and one for items you need. You may want hardwood floors, for instance, but you may need a two-car garage. This is definitely a difficult thing to do for some people because you truly have to be honest with yourself. Knowledge is POWER! You never want to walk into a huge purchase blindly. With the power of the Internet at your beckoned call, why not gather every piece of information that you can? Study the real estate market; identify neighborhoods that you like, view specific homes that meet your criteria. You also want to check out references for any real estate agents or investors that you may want to talk to. There are tons of free resources available check out the National Association of Realtors Buyers Guide or the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development website to start. DO Understand Your Finances WHAT TO RESEARCH: What are the current expenses of the properties (such as utilities and insurance)? What is current mortgage? What was the last sale price? Are there any liens on the property? What are the local statistics, such as unemployment rate and median income? Are there zoning laws that may prevent you being able to expand? You can spend all the time in the world researching properties, but if you don t have the means to go through with buying those properties, you are out of luck. You need to not only understand what it is you can pay, but how you are going to come up with the payment as well. There are a lot of financing options available out there. One of the first things buyers need to do is talk to a qualified lender to get preapproved for a mortgage. You don t want to fall head over heels in love with a home that is out of your budget.

7 7 Home Buying Dos and Don ts Four Steps to Understanding Your Finances: #1 Know your credit score- the higher your credit score, the lower your down payment may be and the lower your monthly payments may be as well. #2 Get preapproved for a mortgage- know your budget before you even walk into the door of a home you want to purchase. #3 Check out your savings - from the down payment to the closing costs, you will need some extra money on top of your mortgage to get things rolling. #4 Research your finance options and choose what works best. LOAN OPTIONS - Conventional Loans: Conventional loans are fixed-rate mortgages. These are not insured or guaranteed by the federal government and can be the most difficult to qualify for. Requirements include a down payment, credit score, income level, insurance, and more. - FHA Loans: The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) provides mortgage loan programs with lower down payments and easier qualifications. First-time homebuyers typically choose this option because they are allowed lower upfront costs. - VA Loans: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) guarantees mortgages made by qualified lenders to veterans and service people to obtain home loans with favorable terms. In most cases, these are easier to qualify for and may not require a down payment. DO Negotiate With the Seller Everything in life is negotiable. However, often times fear will inhibit a new investor or a firsttime homebuyer from initiating a negotiation with the seller. Negotiations shouldn t be scary or feel like a game of trickery. It should be focused on building a relationship, speaking honestly, and coming to a mutual agreement.

8 Home Buying Dos and Don ts 8 You should never wait too long to start the negotiation process. Desirable homes will not sit on the market for very long; so a little hesitation can really hurt you. Be confident in your decision and in your offer. The negotiation stage is definitely where you will want to seek professional help. Sales Contract Negotiable Items: Inspection Contingency- if the property has a lot of damage or needs a lot of repairs, you can ask the seller to make the repairs or they can give you a credit that is deducted from the purchase price. Appraisal Contingency- this will allow the buyer to cancel the contract in the chance that the bank s appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price. The buyer can ask for a discount if the appraisal comes in too low. Mortgage Financing Contingency- allows the buyer to cancel the contract in the even they are unable to obtain a mortgage. Closing Costs- sellers are becoming more and more likely to pay closing costs if it is a buyers market. Personal Property- Furniture, appliances anything that is difficult to remove from the home can be negotiated into being included in the purchase price. HIRE A PROFESSIONAL An agent can prepare you for what is going to happen, and help fight for you at the table. Beware of hiring the wrong agent. You don t want to have the pushover agent when the seller has the hardnosed agent. Ask your potential agents what their plan is for the negotiation phases of the purchase and let them know what you expect as well. In most states you may even be required to have an attorney or closing agent present to help you navigate the process. DON T Try to Do it Alone Buying a home is no easy task, especially for firsttime buyers lacking the knowledge to ask the full list of questions and concerns involved. With hundreds of websites navigate; finding a home can be very confusing. Having a real estate professional on your side will help you to obtain the most useful and factual information.

9 9 Home Buying Dos and Don ts Once you find a home you are interested in, you will need to consider things such as seller representations, home inspections, the condition of the sewer or plumbing, the quality and accessibility of local schools, zoning restrictions, neighborhood issues, the accessibility of public transportation, and more. A real estate agent can research the subject property to gather data and pull a Comparative Market Analysis to help you make an educated decision. Buyer s Agent- a buyer s agent will know the neighborhood. They will understand the community perception and also have an idea of past and present inventory. They are also usually very detail-oriented and have great insight to get you the rock-bottom price a seller can accept. Investor- real estate investors keep an inventory of homes, many of which could be of great interest to you. Like agents, investors really understand the market and the neighborhood you re looking at. If they bought a home there, they did so for a reason. Attorney or Title Company- with all of the paperwork being signed, the cost of using a legal professional can prove to be well worth it. Depending on where you live, either an attorney or closing agent can negotiate on your behalf and address any issues that may affect the future of your property. Many states even require their presence. Without an attorney or closing agent, you run the risk of failing to file the appropriate documents. Having legal counsel just makes good business sense. Sure you will save money handling your own real estate transaction, however it is very clear that whatever money you may save upfront, could cost you big time in the long run. DON T Forget the Home Inspection Even if the seller provides you with an inspection report, you should always get one yourself as well. A seller may have chosen an

10 Home Buying Dos and Don ts 10 inspector known for not pointing out many problems. The inspection is too serious to leave it in the hands of someone else. Professional inspectors should look for defects or malfunctions in the systems of the home, or structural damage such as the roof, plumbing, electrical and heating/cooling systems, and more. In addition, your inspector should examine the land surrounding the house. There could be issues such as grading, drainage, retaining walls, or even plants affecting the house. See that old tree in the backyard? Does it have termites? An inspector can point that out. Of course, before you go out and pay for a professional inspection, you are able to walk around the property yourself and do your own review. Here are some things you will want to look for: Bowing walls Foundation issues Signs of water damage Missing roof shingles Overall signs of wear and tear PEST REPORT In addition to the general inspector, you should also consider hiring a licensed pest control inspector, who will create a special pest report on the property. The pest inspector will look for infestation by wood-boring insects such as termites and flying beetles, as well as evidence of dry rot and other fungal conditions. Be sure you get a written report of all inspections. DON T Rush the Process It can be all too easy to get caught up in the beauty of a perfectly staged home, and not notice important items, like a crack in the ceiling perhaps. Rushing into a purchase is a major mistake, especially

11 11 Home Buying Dos and Don ts for first-time homebuyers. If you rush the process, you will not be able to be as objective as you should be. You may turn a blind eye to things you should pay close attention to. Remember, houses will constantly come and go. So unless you are looking at a custom home, chances are you ll find many more out there that you like. You don't have to settle for any old home just because you feel the pressure to buy, now. If you re really pressed to find a place, consider renting to give yourself time. Another reason buyers will rush the process is because they re dealing with a hot market. Sometimes it is necessary to pull the trigger quickly, however you have to make sure you find the balance between your need to make a decision and the need for the right home. Ideally, try to at least take a night to sleep on it. FOOLS RUSH OUT On the other side of the coin, don t rush out of a purchase too quickly either. Yes, there are homes that seriously lack curb appeal, but you know what they say about judging a book by its cover. Look at each house as a whole purchase with each having their own set of positives and negatives. A simple and affordable repair could turn that ugly house you just drove by, into your dream home. Wrap Up

12 Home Buying Dos and Don ts Home Buying Dos and Don ts 12

13 13 Home Buying Dos and Don ts For more information, contact Terry Records:

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