Local Buying Tips

Where to start? That is the question most buyers have when you find a home you can see yourself in. The ironic thing is that there are several steps that need to be taken prior to falling in love with 'the one'. Here are a few tips on how to get prepared before meeting with your Century 21 agent:

1. GET PREQUALIFIED AND PREAPPROVED FOR YOUR MORTGAGE.

What this means: Find out how much you can spend.

Lenders generally recommend that people look for homes that cost no more than three to five times their annual household income if the home buyers plan to make a 20% down payment and have a moderate amount of other debt.

But you should make this determination based on your own financial situation.

To get prequalified for a home mortgage, you need to provide some financial information to a mortgage banker (broker) or loan officer who can assist you in getting a home loan. Some financial information include your income, the amount of savings and investments you have, etc. Once this information is gathered, a mortgage or loan officer can give you the price range of the homes you should be looking at. Later, you will get preapproved for your mortgage, which involves providing your financial documents (W-2 statements, paycheck stubs, bank account statements, etc.) so Discover can verify your financial status and credit.

2. CONNECT WITH A REAL ESTATE AGENT.

Why do you need a real estate agent?

Real estate agents are important partners when you're buying or selling a home. Real estate agents can provide you with helpful information on homes and neighborhoods that isn't easily accessible to the public. Their knowledge of the home buying process, negotiating skills, and familiarity with the area you want to live in can be extremely valuable. And best of all, it doesn't cost you anything to use an agent - they're compensated from the commission paid by the seller of the house.

3. SHOP FOR YOUR HOME AND MAKE AN OFFER 

Start touring homes in your price range. It might be helpful to take notes (using this helpful checklist) on all the homes you visit. You will see a lot of houses! It can be hard to remember everything about them, so you might want to take pictures or video to help you remember each home.

Make sure to check out the little details of each house. For example:

  • Test the plumbing by running the shower to see how strong the water pressure is and how long it takes to get hot water
  • Try the electrical system by turning switches on and off
  • Open and close the windows and doors to see if they work properly

It's also important to evaluate the neighborhood and make a note of things such as:

  • Are the other homes on the block well maintained?
  • How much traffic does the street get?
  • Is there enough street parking for your family and visitors?
  • Is it conveniently located near places of interest to you: schools, shopping centers, restaurants, parks, and public transportation?

Take as much time as you need to find the right home. Then work with your real estate agent to negotiate a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes in the same neighborhood. Once you and the seller have reached agreement on a price, the house will go into escrow, which is the period of time it takes to complete all of the remaining steps in the home buying process. Your real estate agent will assist you throughout this process and help make your purchase experience run as smoothly as possible.