If you are nervous about buying a home, there is good reason to be so. Buying a home is likely the biggest investment you will make in your lifetime. With an unpredictable economy, you may face some difficult decisions. On the positive side, if you qualify for a mortgage with a steady income, this is actually a very good time to purchase a home. Mortgage rates continue to be relatively low and there is a good supply of homes on the market. To help you navigate through this period, here are some tips to assist you with the home buying process:
- Find out what you can afford – To make sure you don’t overreach, you should strongly consider obtaining a pre-approved mortgage. This will allow you to fully understand what you can afford so that you can look at homes that fit in your budget.
- Find a good real estate agent – This is critical. Rely on the advice of family and friends to find an experienced real estate agent. Ideally, you will want an agent that is familiar with homes in the area that you are looking in.
- Do your homework – Although your real estate agent will be a great asset, you need to do your own research. The Internet may allow you to do virtual tours.
- Visit the neighborhood – It is important to research the neighborhood. Talk to neighbors. Visit the home at different times of the day.
- Negotiate – Your real estate agent will help you with this. Depending on the vendor’s situation, you may be able to save thousands of dollars. In what appears to be a buyer’s market, you should use this to your advantage.
- Find a good home inspector – This is very important. A good home inspector can help point out potential problems that you may not want to inherit once you move into the house. If a major problem is identified, there is an opportunity to negotiate prior to finalizing the transaction. Buying a home without a proper home inspection is very risky.
- Buy for the long run – Home buying should be viewed as a long-term investment. For most people, a home is about establishing roots in a community. It is not necessarily about speculating about how much the home will appreciate. Ask yourself if you can see yourself living in the home for many years.
- Hire an experienced real estate lawyer – A lawyer will be able to guide you through the legal aspects of buying a home. Rely on referrals from friends, relatives and your real estate agent. Don’t choose a lawyer based solely on price.