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Buying a Home
A key element to successful home buying is planning. The more you understand and plan for, the easier it will be to anticipate requests from lenders and others along the way.
Below are some questions to ask yourself, and things to consider, to start preparing.
Do You Know What You Want?
Whether this is your first time buying a home or your tenth it is important to know why you are in the market to buy – are you being forced to relocate due to a job change or are you ready to expand but timing is less critical? The more you outline, the more likely you will meet your goals in the long run.
Do You Have The Money?
A lot of buyers who are also selling their home go into the process assuming they will have a portion of money to move forward on the buying transaction after their home is sold. While this may be the case, there are other costs to consider, such as closing costs and realtor fees. It is important to have those figures factored in when looking at your next purchase.
Why You Should Get a REALTOR
It may seem like a simple process – go online or drive around the area you are interested in and find a house you want to look at. But the bottom line is that no 2 properties are alike and differ in many areas from financing to inspections. Getting a qualified REALTOR can help you navigate through the processes involved in finding the home of your dreams and to keep you informed during every step of the home buying process.
Why Loan Pre-Approval is important
Most people cannot buy a home for cash and as much as 90% of buyers finance the purchase – according to the National Association of REALTORS. It is crucial for you to find a loan that fits your lifestyle – and budget. Pre-approval is not a loan commitment, but lets you provide assurance that you will be able to pay for the home once you find it. Keep in mind that each pre-approval requires a new credit check that will show up on your credit reports in the future.
Making an Offer
Once you have found a home you can make an offer. This process can vary from state to state, but in most cases your REALTOR will present your offer to the owner or their agent. The owner can either accept the offer, reject it or make a counter-offer. This process continues until both parties are satisfied with the purchase price, or one or both parties walks away from the negotiations.
It is important to have the home inspected. After the inspector evaluates the home, you will have a good idea of what problems the house may have and what it may cost to repair it. This may influence your decision on whether to move ahead with the purchase.
The Basics of Closing
Once you have settled on a home and the terms of the purchase price, you will meet with your agent to close on the home. At closing, all papers should be prepared by the closing agents, title companies and lenders and all that is left is the signing. You will be able to review all documents before signing but at this point of the process, there should be no surprises.
For most people, owning a home will be one of the largest investments they will make. It is important to maintain insurance on the home, protecting your assets and valuables within – but most importantly – enjoy your home!
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Selling a Home
Most sellers make the mistake of thinking the first step of selling your home is listing it, but there is a lot of homework that can be done prior to that, that will make the process a smooth one.
Is the Home Ready?
You should start preparing your home to sell a few months ahead – ask yourself what you would like to see if you were buying a home. Simple steps like painting, touching up your trim or just a good cleaning out of those back closets can freshen up a house.
Is There a Better Time of Year to Sell?
The real estate market tends to be busier late spring/early summer – many families with children try to make a move before the new school year – and more people like to be out looking at houses when the weather is nice.
Do I Need a REALTOR?
REALTORS are a real resource when selling your home. They are community experts and usually have great knowledge about what is going on with real estate trends. There are basic questions you should ask in your REALTOR search, such as the services they offer, what experience they have in your neighborhood, how they will price and market your home and what their fees are.
Setting your Selling Price
Being overpriced is a bad start and will likely make interested parties turn to another property – you must find balance between getting solid offers and receiving as much as possible for your investment, while staying competitive with the houses around you. Your REALTOR will help you to find the fair market value of your home, which will be comparable to other listings in the area. The asking price is generally 1 to 3 percent higher than the fair market value to allow some negotiating room during the process.