6 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home Purchase Smoother

Buying a home can be an emotional, time-consuming, and complex process. There are a few things that you can do to help make the process go as smooth as possible:

1.) Check your credit. Before you apply for a home loan, regardless of your credit, it’s a smart idea to obtain a copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus and review the information. If there are errors or things that need to be addressed, it’s easier to address them before you have found a house, than after you have found a house and are trying to close your loan.

If you know that there are a few blemishes on your credit, let your lender know what they are, why they are there, and why you are a still good credit risk. Lenders look at your credit to determine how likely you will pay back the loan. If you had extenuating circumstances – like a loss of a job or medical bills – let them know so that they understand that it is not likely to happen again in the future.

2.) Get approved before you buy. An approval means that a lender has reviewed your credit history, verified your assets and employment, and has approved your loan before you have found a home to purchase. As long as the home appraises for at least the purchase price, the loan should close.

Getting approved also gives you an advantage over other buyers. Your firm approval makes it easier for you to negotiate on the price of a home, than a person who is not approved or is pre-qualified.

While getting pre-qualified may sound official, it is really just getting an idea of what you can afford. Its having a person plug in a few numbers that you give them – your monthly income and your monthly debt – and getting an approximate payment calculated. From the payment, the calculator can approximate the house price range that you can afford. No information is verified. Because your assets, income or credit is not verified, a prequalification has little value when purchasing a home.

3.) Find a great exclusive buyer’s agent. Traditionally real estate agents represent the sellers in a transaction. When you are not working with a buyer’s agent, they are less likely to negotiate the best price or contingencies for you.

A buyer’s agent’s job and fiduciary responsibility (meaning legal duty) is to you, the buyer. Before working with an agent, establish if they are a buyer’s agent or a seller‘s agent. After spending a lot of time with a Realtor, it’s natural to feel like you’re a team. But if they are not negotiating for you, then they are not on your team.

4.) Learn about the neighborhood. Often times the house you find may be in a neighborhood that you’re not familiar with, which is ok. It just means that you’ll have to do a little more research. If you find a house that you like, ask for a list of the neighborhood properties that sold in the last year. How does your home rank? Is it at the top of the price range? If so, it might be hard to resell. Is it average or on the low end? If so, great – as the other home prices go up in value, they will pull your home’s value up as well.

Check out the schools – are they sought after? A good school district means your neighborhood will always be valued by families which is a great reassurance to purchase, not to mention the value-add if you have school-age children.

Next, contact the police station and obtain crime statistics? Are they acceptable to you? Sometimes, if they won’t give them to you, it could be a cause for alarm.

Talk to the neighbors. The more people you talk to, the better sense you will get of who makes up the neighborhood and how they will effect your time spent in it.

Check out the location of the shopping, police and fire stations, schools, and air traffic overhead. These are all things that might affect your property value or quality of your life.

5.) Protect Yourself. Ask your Realtor for a copy of the documents you will be asked to sign if you decide to buy the house. Read them ahead of time so that you’ll understand the questions that you will be asked, the things you need to know, and the decisions you will need to make.

6.) Have reasonable expectations. There is a lot of money at stake. No house is perfect. Understanding and remembering these two statements will help diffuse the negotiation stage, the inspection stage and the closing stage.

Emotions are high for both buyers and sellers. – The seller may have loving memories and years of sweat equity in the house. Maybe they are being relocated and don’t want to go. Understanding their motivations for selling will help you appreciate their situation and predicament during these emotional times.

There is a lot of money at stake for all the parties involved (and that includes the realtors) – Just remember that market value (the value of a home) is the price that a willing buyer and a willing seller can agree to. If you can not agree on a price, ask yourself: Is there something you missed? Are there comparables that support the price that they want? Are there motivations that might factor into the price they are demanding? In the end, does it matter?

What is the house worth to you today and what do you think you can reasonably sell it for based on the amount of time you plan to spend in it? Think about the answers to those questions before you make your move.

No house is perfect – Always get an inspection. It might be a few hundred dollars, but it’s worth it. It’s the inspector’s job to find any problems with the house that could cost you thousands to repair down the road. Some inspectors have a tendency to over play the importance of their role and the items that they find. Get objective opinions that you trust before making a decision on an inspection report. Likewise, if an inspector says a foundation is cracked but its nothing to worry about – get a second opinion. Ask a handyman for an idea of how much repairs will cost and how complicated they are. The home buying process is an emotional, complex and time-consuming process, but it is worth it. Nothing compares to owning your own home in a neighborhood that you chose.

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6 Ways To Make Home Buying Less Stressful

DEATH, DIVORCE & MOVING are the three most stressful experiences in life. There are two very different kinds of needs that people have while moving. First there are the transactional needs, like finding the home that is just right for you, finding a seller who is realistic, negotiating the price, filling out the paperwork, handling the escrow, and arranging for the move. But there are also emotional needs that are involved when moving, and this is where the biggest stress comes in.

Any competent agent will handle the transactional needs for you, but if your emotional needs are unfulfilled, you’ll be frustrated and may not act in your own best interests. The ideal real estate agent is one who is competent with paperwork and numbers, but can also guide, direct, and counsel you through the emotional ups and downs of moving. Here are the six best ways we’ve found to beat the stress.

1. Begin with the end in mind. Have an ultimate scenario of where you’re trying to be. What will life be like when you get there? How will it be better than where you are now? Dwell on that picture and write it out, fill up at least a page about how it feels in the new place. This is imperative. Having the goal in front of you at all times energizes you to achieve it, in spite of setbacks and frustrations.

Emotions will run high and you need an anchor. In childbirth, the Lamaze method teaches you to focus on one spot when enduring labor pains. In the same way, you too must focus on that future goal when anxiety threatens to get the better of you.

2. Be flexible. In your monetary calculations, overestimate by a thousand dollars. In this market, anything can happen between contract acceptance and closing. It could be the inspections reveal areas of concern that the seller is unwilling to fix or the repair costs are higher than the amount limited in the contract.

Or the interest rate changes which affects the necessary down payment and closing costs you will need to come up with. As your real estate team, we will strive to tie up loose ends as quickly as possible, but remember there is no perfect world. Most buyers feel a bit overwhelmed when taking on a new mortgage and the responsibilities of a new home and we’ve seen many buyers get angry when it seems like the cost just keeps going up.

Anger is caused when reality doesn’t match up with the expectations you had in your mind. So if you anticipate this happening in advance, you won’t get angry. In fact, it’ll probably go better than you expected.

3. Trust in the process. There’s just so much to do, it’s easy to panic. You wonder if it will ever work out. In fact, when we bought our house, we couldn’t eat for a day, we felt sick to our stomachs! You think you’re taking a big chance, but the truth is you’re giving yourself a big chance.

Even though you can’t see every step of the way, as you move towards your goals, the way opens up. We know that you haven’t moved in a long time and it’s a major upheaval in your life. But we’ve been there many times before, and we’ll be looking out for you. Trust that we know the way to get you there.

4. Get knowledge. One thing you’ll probably feel during this transition time is being out of control. It feels like everyone else has taken over your life. The seller, your lender, the appraiser, the inspectors, they all have the power to say yes or no to your moving plans. We’ll try our best to let you know ahead of time what your expenses will be, and what the unknowns are. We’ll tie down the loose ends as soon as possible. We’ll try to get your loan approved within a reasonable time frame. We’ll educate you as best we can and let you in “behind the scenes” so you won’t ever feel stupid or out of control.

5. What is your option? When things don’t go as smoothly as you had hoped, don’t let emotions take over. Always ask yourself “What is my option?” because there are always options. Let’s pretend the lender takes longer than agreed upon to get your loan. He keeps asking you for more and more documentation until if feels like he also needs to know how many gold fillings you have in your mouth! You’ll feel upset because you wanted to feel certain about the move and now you still have to live with the uncertainty.

You want to say “Forget it, I’m fed up with this!” But what is your option? Find a new lender and start the process over again? That may take weeks, plus you will have to provide all the paperwork over again. If the lender is trying his best, it may be better to give him a few more days. Each case is unique, but when setbacks occur we’ve found that asking yourself this question helps to defuse the situation and restore clear headed thinking.

6. Seek entertainment. When there’s nothing you can do about the situation, take your mind off of it altogether. Maybe you expected loan approval on Friday, but now it won’t come until Monday. You hate being in limbo and feeling powerless. So do something else entirely, maybe something where you aren’t powerless. Take a hike, play tennis, get out of town for the day. Watch a movie or pour yourself into your work.

Whatever diversion works best for you, now would be a good time to engage in it. Just forget the situation and refuse to listen to those irritating thoughts when they come into your head. Think about something else instead and just take it one day at a time.

To keep stress to a minimum, here’s how I’ll serve you when you work with me n buying your new home: Give my best-reasoned expert counsel and dvice with your best interests in mind. Clarify your goals and motivation, and decide if moving is the wisest choice at this time. Provide recommendations and information to help your kids through all the changes.

Negotiate effectively for you to get the lowest possible price for your new home. Treat your money like it was my own, saving every expense possible. Protect your interests during escrow, keeping a detailed record of the transaction. Be your levelheaded sounding board or relief valve when the stress is overwhelming. Counsel you through the feelings of “buyer’s remorse”. Alert you ahead of time to every possibility so you feel more in control. Contact you daily during the last 10 days of the transaction to serve your needs.

Provide guidance and help with movers, change of address, utilities shut off, cleaning, etc. Deliver your closing paperwork. Continue to give you information of value after the transaction… for life.

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Negotiating Guidelines

The ability to negotiate successfully is crucial not only for successful real estate transactions, but also for daily life events in general. When negotiating, keep these rules in mind:

• Challenge the ideas that are presented to you. Negotiating requires you to be assertive and question what you are being told. If you disagree with someone regarding the price, value or condition, speak your mind. Of course, be sure to do so diplomatically.

• Become a good listener. Listening carefully and critically thinking about what you are being told can prevent a considerable amount of confusion and ensure that the negotiations run smoothly.

• Be prepared. If you’re buying, what exactly does the property have that could take away from its value? What is community like? What is the average selling price in the neighborhood? If you’re selling, know your property extremely well; you cannot allow yourself to be taken aback by what a prospective buyer might say.

• Aim high. If you’re selling, try marking the price of your home about 5% above what you would actually want. This will leave you some negotiating space to come down. If you’re a buyer, offer a price that is lower than what you normally would; enter negotiations with the optimistic attitude that the seller will come down.

• Just a little patience. Relax. This could take a while.

• Be diplomatic. Because negotiations may be a long and tedious process, it can be very easy to get irritated. Getting frustrated with negotiations that seem to be going nowhere will only perpetuate any difficulties you may be having, and may even result in an end to all talks. Keep your cool.

• Be aggressive. While you don’t want to be hostile, you do want to be assertive and dominate negotiations. When meeting with the prospective buyer or seller, be sure to try to take control of the negotiations. Talk with a strong and confident voice, and be sure to have responses for any potential arguments that may be thrown your way.

• Don’t get nothing for something. Whenever you agree to give something, be sure to get something in exchange. For example, if you are the seller and you agree to lower the price, you may want to hold back on any additional goods that you may have initially been willing to give away (like furniture).

• Always give the appearance of being willing to walk away. Even if you are in love with the property as a buyer or are dying to sell as the owner, never reveal your desperation. Always give the impression that you will be willing to walk away.

• Time is on your side. It’s most likely that you and the other party are eager and pressured to resolve the transaction. Acting calm and under control, in addition to taking time to think rationally, will help you in the long run. In short, just think before you speak.

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Evaluating Property

In the real estate industry, the concept of value is vague. The value of a house (or condo, or co-op, or townhouse) fluctuates often, based on many situations, such as an ever-changing market conditions, the condition of the home, and the costs associated with owning it.

For that reason, it’s difficult to answer the question, “How much is it worth?” There is one certainty, however. The answer to true value does not lie in how much the seller wants for his or her home (though that is what the seller and the listing broker want you to believe). In fact, the listing price of a home sometimes has nothing to do with its market value.

Figuring out how much a home is actually worth is a tricky process. You’ll have to do your homework, pull out your calculator, and spend some time learning to recognize certain “value markers.” Once you’ve figured out what a property is worth relative to others that are similar in the area, you can begin to compare various homes. Where a home is located (within a city, within a neighborhood, on a particular street, within a single building) is crucial to determining its value.

When you begin to compare homes, it’s important to factor location into your house valuation formula. First, think about where the house is located in relation to the entire neighborhood. Are shops and various services within walking distance? Is the house close to major forms of transportation and to the schools your children will be attending? Is it too close to any of these amenities?

Many families want to be within a few blocks of the local public school, but they prefer not to have their backyards adjacent to the school playground. Next, think about where the house is located on its block. Is it on a corner, or on the interior row? Is it next to a high-rise building or a three- or six-flat building? Are there many homes just like it on the block? Does the block have a nice residential feel or is it mixed residential/commercial? If you’re considering a townhouse, start by asking yourself about the townhouse’s location in relation to shopping and service retailers, such as a dry cleaner. If the townhouse is located within a subdivision, compare its location with the premium location within that subdivision.

For example, is it better to be located on the perimeter, or is an interior location better? Are end units more prized, or are middle units preferred? Are you close to the entrance of the subdivision, or do you have to drive several blocks to get there? Do you have to walk far to the garbage drop-off or mail pick-up spot?

The location questions for a townhouse apply for condominiums and coops as well. If your condo or co-op is located in a high-rise building you also need to consider where the unit is
located in the building. If one side of the building has a fabulous view and another faces a windowless brick wall, you can bet that units with the full view will be more prized than units with a peek-around or no view.

Which is more important to you, the lower cost or the better view? If there are two views — say, a water view vs. an urban view, an east view (sunrise) vs. a west view (sunset), or a high-floor vs. a low-floor perspective –remember that a unit with the best view in a building will generally appreciate faster than a unit with only a so-so view, even if the so-so has more amenities.

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5 Powerful Buying Strategies

1. DON’T GET “PRE-QUALIFIED”!

Do you want to get the best house you can for the least amount of money? Then make sure you are in the strongest negotiating position possible. Price is only one bargaining chip in the negotiations, and not necessarily the most important one. Often other terms, such as the strength of the buyer or the length of escrow, are critical to a seller. In years past, I always recommended that buyers get “pre- qualified” by a lender.

This means that you spend a few minutes on the phone with a lender who asks you a few questions. Based on the answers, the lender pronounces you “pre-qualified” and issues a certificate that you can show to a seller. Sellers are aware that such certificates are WORTHLESS, and here’s why! None of the information has been verified! Oftentimesunknown problems surface!

Some of the problems I’ve seen include recorded judgments, child support payments due, glitches on the credit report due to any number of reasons both accurately and inaccurately, down payments that have not been in the clients’ bank account long enough, etc. So the way to make a strong offer today is to get “pre-approved”.

This happens AFTER all information has been checked and verified. You are actually APPROVED for the loan and the only loose end is the appraisal on the property. This process takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on your situation. It’s VERY POWERFUL and a weapon I recommend all my clients have in their negotiating arsenal.

2. SELL FIRST, THEN BUY

If you have a house to sell, sell it before selecting a house to buy! I haven’t seen a contingent sale work in the last 3 years, unless it’s with a new home builder who has other houses to sell and can afford to put one on a contingency.

Let’s pretend that we go out looking for the perfect house for you. We find it and you love it! Now you have to go make an offer to the seller. You want the seller to reduce the price and wait until you sell your house. The seller figures that’s a risky deal, since he might pass up a buyer who DOESN’T have to sell a house while he’s waiting for you.

So he says OK, he’ll do the contingency but it has to be a full price offer! So you see, you paid more for the house than you could have because of the contingency. Now you have to sell your existing house, and in a hurry! Otherwise you lose the dream house! So to sell quickly you might take an offer that’s lower than if you had more time.

The bottom line is that buying before selling might cost you TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars. I always recommend that you sell first, then buy. If you’re concerned that there is not a house on the market for you, then go on a window-shopping trip. You can identify possible houses and locations without falling in love with a specific house. If you feel confident after that then put your house on the market.

Another tactic is to make the sale “subject to seller finding suitable housing”. Adding this phrase to the listing means that WHEN YOU DO FIND A BUYER, you will have some time to find the new place. If you don’t find anything to your liking, you don’t have to sell your present home.

3. PLAY THE GAME OF NINES

Before house hunting, make a list of nine things you want in the new place. Then make a list of the nine things you don’t want. I call this “NINE OF THIS AND NONE OF THAT”.

You can use this list as a scorecard to rate each property that you see. The one with the biggest score wins! This helps avoid confusion and keeps things in perspective when you’re comparing dozens of homes. When house hunting, keep in mind the difference between “SKIN AND BONES”.

The BONES are things that cannot be changed such as the location, view, size of lot, noise in the area, school district, and floor plan. The SKIN represents easily changed surface finishes like carpet, wallpaper, color, and window coverings.

Buy the house with good BONES, because the SKIN can always be changed to match your tastes. I always recommend that you imagine each house as if it were vacant. Consider each house on its underlying merits, not the seller’s decorating skills.

4. DON’T BE PUSHED INTO ANY HOUSE

Your agent should show you everything available that meets your requirements. Don’t make a decision on a house until you feel that you’ve seen enough to pick the best one. Go to the Multiple Listing computer with your agent to make sure that you are getting a COMPLETE list. In the late 1980’s, homes were selling quickly, usually a few days after listing. In that kind of market, agents advised their clients to make an offer ON THE SPOT if they liked the house. That was good advice at the time. Today there isn’t always this urgency, unless a home is drastically under priced, and you’ll know if it is.

Don’t forget to check into the SCHOOL DISTRICTS of the area you’re considering. Information is available on every school; such as class sizes, % of students that go on to college, SAT scores, etc. You can get this information from your agent or directly from the school.

5. STOP CALLING ADS!

A word of caution – agents create ads solely to make the phone ring!

Many of the homes have some drawback that’s not mentioned in the ad, such as traffic noise, power lines, or litigation in the community. What’s not mentioned in the ad is usually more important than what is. For this reason, I want you to be very careful when reading ads.

Remember that the person writing the ad is representing the seller and not you!

The most important thing you can do is have someone on your side looking out for your best interests. Your own agent will critique the property with an eye towards how well it meets your needs and will point out any drawbacks you should know about.

So whether you decide to work with me or not, pick an agent you feel comfortable with and enlist the services of that agent as a buyer’s broker. Then you become a client with all the rights, benefits, and privileges created by this agency relationship, and you’re no longer just a shopper. Did you know that many homes are sold WITHOUT A SIGN ever going up or an AD EVER BEING PUT IN THE PAPER?

These “great deals” go to those people who are committed to working with one agent. When an agent hears of a great buy, who do you think he’s going to call? His client, who he has a legal obligation to work hard for you, or someone who just called on the phone and said “keep your eyes open”? So to get the best buy on a property, I always recommend that you hire your own agent and stick with him.

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3 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers | TIME-MONEY

So you want to buy a home? Have you started looking on Trulia and Zillow for your dream place? Well, stop right now.


First-time home buyers: Do your research, and don’t rush into it. Here’s some advice from Ryan Serhant, host of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York

“It’s so easy to find homes online,” says real estate broker Ryan Serhant, host of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York. “[People] go out and start shopping based on what they think they want, when at the end of the day what you need—the home you’re going to buy—has nothing to do with what you think you want on day one.” He offers these three tips to first-time buyers:

Get pre-approved. Find out how much you can actually afford to spend.

Use a broker. Buyer’s brokers are paid for by the seller, so it’s no cost to you.

 

home buying tips

Over reaching can be hazardous to your health

Buy within your means. “The economy is in a funky place,” says Serhant. “Do not stretch yourself, because you never know what can happen.”
You’ve outgrown your current home and are ready to make some serious moves. Million Dollar Listing New York host Ryan Serhant has these three tips for how to do it.

 

Find a home you can grow into. Don’t look for a house that fits you today without thinking about how much you’ll like it in five or 10 years.

Focus on natural light. When it comes to resale, good natural light is the number one thing, statistically, people focus on. “If you have good light coming through, you will have a much better chance at selling than somebody who did not get a place with good light,” says Serhant.  VIA http://time.com/money/4095911/home-buyers-real-estate-tips/

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Episode 1: Knowing When You’re Ready – YouTube

Buying a home is so grown-up and impressive, but there are a few things you should think about before you start telling everyone how grown up and impressive you are. Watch all the episodes at http://realtor.com/learnwithliz#LearnWithLiz in our 5-part digital series: “The Home-Buying Process. In Plain English. With Elizabeth Banks.” Get advice on how to know when you’re ready to buy. Find out what you need to get a competitively-priced loan. Let Elizabeth show you how to find the perfect home. Learn what you should know before making an offer. And get tips on how to master the closing sale.

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Home Buying 101: Closing Process – Connecticut

Published on May 18, 2015 What happens after your offer is accepted? Learn the basics on escrow, or the closing process, so you know what to expect after you find a home to buy, submit an offer and come to agreeable terms between you and the seller. http://marketing.realtor.com/homebuying/

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Home buying tips: How to buy a house – Connecticut

Home buying tips: How to buy a house First time home buyers have a million questions, and luckily, Author and Fox Financial Correspondent, Gerri Willis, has a million answers. Here’s what you need to know before you buy a home.

Here’s some good news for homebuyers: this bad market is actually a great market for homebuyers. If you have been waiting on the sidelines because you couldn’t afford a house, now is the time to get into the game. With housing prices going down, it’s a good time to get your money together, get in the marketplace and start asking questions.

What can I afford?

  • You only want to spend one third of your gross income—that’s income before taxes—on your home. Here’s why: there are lots of other costs beside your mortgage that you have to think about—insurance, maintenance, and taxes.
  • It’s important to really take a hard look at all your numbers to make sure you have a handle on what you can truly afford.

How much should I put down?

  • You should try to put 20% down, but no more. This shows lenders that you are a serious buyer and they will be more likely to give you good terms (provided you have a good credit score).
  • Most people find that once they buy their house there are a lot of other costs involved that many don’t expect. For example, you may have to repair something—your roof, your furnace, etc.
  • It’s better to have enough money on hand to deal with unforeseen expenses that arise.

How do I find a home in my price range?

  • Most people, especially women, search on the web first to find a home—it’s a great place to start to see what you can afford.
  • All the major broker houses will have web sites and you’ll easily be able to sort through houses to see what that appeals to you in your price range.

How important is location?

  • It’s best to look for a house that is close to basic services in the area—malls, dry cleaners, grocery stores—you want these things really close to your house so that it is an easy place to live.
  • Some people buy a home where there are no services and it can be really unpleasant to have to drive a distance just to go grocery shopping.
  • Buying a house in a location that is near services also helps with resale, because people buying your house will want to be close to services as well.

Should I buy in an emerging neighborhood?

  • In this market it’s really not necessary to buy in an emerging neighborhood. There are some great houses in very good neighborhoods for sale right now.
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