How to Buy a House
Buying a home is a big decision. Domestic CEO has 7 tips for buying a house.
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Last week, I talked about how to decide if you should sell or rent out your home. While I was talking with my property manager friend, I also started talking with one of the best real estate agents in Phoenix I know. Don Aldrich has been helping people buy and sell homes in the Phoenix area for over a decade, and has done hundreds of transactions, so I know he would be able to help me put together a list of tips for potential home buyers to follow when buying a home.
Figure Out Your Numbers
The very first step when you are starting your home buying process should be to meet with a great lender AHEAD of time. A mortgage banker or broker can help you determine what type of a mortgage is best for you, how much you qualify for, and also how much you really want to spend each month. Aldrich insists that it's always better to know your numbers before you start looking. Not only will it help prevent you falling in love with a house you can’t afford, but it will also make you look more serious when you put an offer in on a house. The seller will know that, if your offer is accepted, it’s much more likely for the deal to close.;
Find a Great Agent
Once you know how much you can afford, it’s time to find a real estate agent to represent you. When looking for a real estate agent, I’d recommend getting referrals for 3-4 agents who have done recent transactions in the areas you think you want to buy. Then, ask if you can set up an appointment to meet with them for 30 minutes. Even if this appointment is by phone, you can start to get a feel if they will be a good person to represent your interests. Do they listen to you? Do they seem to understand what your goals are? Or, are they offended by the very fact that you asked them to meet with you first? By having a quick conversation with a handful of agents, you will likely start to gravitate towards one or two over the others. Buying a home is a big decision, so take a little time to make sure the person you choose to represent you is someone you trust and will listen to you.
Learn the Process
If this is your first time buying a house, or it’s been a number of years, it’s a good idea to have your agent explain the process that you will have to go through to buy a house. There have been a lot of changes in the mortgage and real estate industry in the past few years, so there may be different steps than you remember from your last home purchase. By having your trusted real estate agent walk you through the process, you’ll be able to have your expectations set correctly. Buying a home typically isn’t a super fast process, especially if you are getting a loan, so knowing what kind of a timeline to expect will help you make decisions on everything from your current living situation, to when you will start shopping for new furniture.
Aldrich encourages buyers to make their agents educate on the whole process up front, starting with what will happen when you write an offer, write a check for earnest money, go through inspections, get an appraisal, go through loan qualifying, complete your final walk through, and finally move in. That way there will be no misunderstandings and your expectations will be met in timely fashion.