In the spirit of contribution, collaboration and community, I am pleased to bring you this, the first of many partnership interviews with experts I love and trust to improve the value of your home.
How To Prepare To Buy Your First Home
There are many things that you need to know to prepare for this purchase:
• Know what you want. The more answers you have to this question, the better off you will be. Do you want an older home with “character” or a new build that is “just the way you want it”? Sit down and make a list of the “must have’s” and the “like to have’s”, this will force you do decide what you really need in a new home before you ever start looking.
• Get your finances in order. In order to get the best possible rate for a loan, you need good credit. Make sure all of your payments - rent, car and all other debts are paid on time and in full for one year before you start applying for a mortgage.
• Find a great REALTOR®. The best way to find a great REALTOR® is to ask everyone you know. The great Realtors are out there and many people are using them. Once you have a couple names, interview both of them and chose the one that resonates most with you. Once you chose a REALTOR® he/she will be able to guide you on current market conditions, financing options and any negotiating issues that may apply to your situation.
• Choose your new home. Checking out all of the options for new homes in your area is relatively easy these days, thanks to the internet. Once your find some houses that interest you, go see them. Take into consideration things like location, commuting distance, lot size, taxes, and the size of the different rooms. Also consider the look of the exterior which is very important. Your home is more than just a structure. It is the place where you will live your life for the next few years or possibly much longer.
• Make an offer. You sometimes hear that the amount of your offer should be x percent below the seller's asking price or y percent less than you're really willing to pay. In practice, the offer depends on the basic laws of supply and demand: If many buyers are competing for homes, then sellers will likely get full-price offers and sometimes even more. If demand is weak, then offers below the asking price may be in order.
• Close on your home. This process can vary in different parts of the country. Many times, the buyer and seller do not need to meet at the same place to finalize the paperwork. Electronic signatures and overnight delivery make the closing happen these days. At closing, transfer taxes must be paid and other claims must also be settled (including closing costs, legal fees and adjustments). In most transactions, the closing agent also completes the paperwork needed to record the loan.
• What is next? You will want to hold on to all of that paperwork you received at closing. They are your ticket to tax deductions and other assorted wonderful financial benefits. A few weeks after closing, contact your local property records office to be sure that your deed has been recorded.
The next thing you will need to do, and this is very important, enjoy your new home. You worked hard to get through this process with the help of your great REALTOR®, so celebrate your victory and your new home.
Sam Lepore is a Realtor with Keller Williams in Moorestown, NJ. Call him today at 856.297.6827 ....