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Do you know enough about purchasing a home? - II

Previously, we discussed how one of the more thrilling times in a person's life is when they are finally able to start looking for a new home. We also discussed, however, how many first-time homebuyers can go on to find the whole process of purchasing a home baffling and even a bit daunting.

In recognition of this, we began providing some basic background information on the home-buying process, looking more closely at the need to establish a price range at the outset and determine how much cash a person has at their disposal. We'll continue this discussion in today's post. 

Have you found an agent?

While it's certainly possible for you to navigate the home buying process on your own, this can prove to be ill advised for the uninitiated given not just its overall complexity, but also some of the practical realities. For example, you may find that your ability to access homes for sale either over the internet or in person is incredibly limited absent a real estate license.

In general, experts indicate that prospective buyers should consider retaining the services of an exclusive buyer agent, meaning someone who is paid by either splitting the commission with the seller's agent or by a contracted fee. The advantage of this, they say, is that this individual works for you and only you.   

Are you conducting an effective search?

Before your buyer agent can start truly helping you, it will be necessary to identify the areas in which you want to look for a home. Here, experts advise prospective homebuyers to keep the following points in mind:

  • Determine whether the area is economically vital, meaning low unemployment and a mixture of people both young and old, as these are things that will affect home value.
  • Find out whether the school district in which the home is located is considered to be good, as this too can affect home value regardless of whether you have kids.
  • Consider looking during the off-season, meaning the winter, as competition is more limited and sellers are therefore motivated to bargain.
  • Be willing to expand the radius of the target search area by up to ten miles, and expand price ranges to 10 percent above and below target range.

Are you ready to move forward with an offer?    

Once you've found the right home, experts indicate that it's important to move quickly. However, they also advise working carefully with your buyer agent to ensure that the offer makes good sense from a financial perspective.

In other words, the offer takes into account things like neighboring home prices and market conditions, and doesn't come in so low as to be off putting to the seller.

Once you and the seller come to an agreement on price, their agent will draft an offer to purchase complete with an estimated closing date.

We'll continue this discussion in future posts, exploring the final steps in the home buying process.

It's incredibly important to consider speaking with a skilled legal professional prior to signing any documents relating to the purchase of a home. That's because the stakes are incredibly high and you don't want the purchase of your dream home to turn into a nightmare. 

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