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Five Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Home

Are you in the process of buying a house or looking to buy a home? If so, here are five things you need to consider

1.FINDING THE RIGHT AGENT

If you want to find the home (“THE ONE”) of your dreams it is imperative that you find the right person to help you find the right one!
You need an Agent to guide you through all the variables that often come up and can bring about unfamiliar challenges when making such a momentous purchase. Believe it or not you will need guidance when it comes to selecting the right Lender, home inspector, understand what to expect from the appraisal, Home Owners Associations, etc. The agent selection process is crucial because your agent is the best resource to connect you to right people. You need to find someone that is not only experienced, but also well informed. Negotiating skills, excellent communication, exemplary professionalism, and honesty all must be on display from the onset. If you have a realtor friend or family member that you are considering in many instances it is not advisable as the relationship might suffer if things don’t end well. Remember, this is the single largest purchase must people will make in their lifetime. It is always best to make the distinction between the professional relationship and personal to avoid the potential of destroying a relationship. If you do decide to move forward make the distinction up front. Make sure the agent you hire is very familiar with your market. Utilizing an uninformed agent can cost you thousands! Be sure to ask questions. What other fees might this agent charge on top of their commission? Unfortunately, some agents are not forth coming and once you are ready to right the offer and/or open escrow they surprise you with transaction fees, etc.

2. Be Financial Ready

As the old saying goes “have your ducks in a row.” Be sure to set your budget upfront. Be honest with yourself about what you can realistically afford?
How much debt do you have? Credit cards, student loans, car payments, and money owed to mom (no really!) All your general monthly expenses must be factored into your total monthly budget. Also, equally as important how much money do you have available for a down payment? The debt to income ration is crucial when qualifying for a home loan. Be sure to ask your real estate agent to connect you with an experienced lender familiar with your type of purchase. This can make all the difference when it comes to the processing of your loan and possibly what interest rate you secure. A Loan broker will shop for the best interest rate for you. Additionally, check if you qualify for current down payment assistance programs. The Loan Broker will pull your credit report, gather important financial information, check your credit score, review your budget (including debt to income ratio), and ultimately the end goal is to get you pre-approved. Once you are pre-approved you can move forward with your Real estate agent and begin the home shopping process and hopefully find the perfect home. It is important to note you do not want to start touring homes before you are pre-approved, as you may discover the home you truly want is beyond your budget.

3. Finding the Right Home

Be sure to make a list of your top three to five must have items. For example, include such items as area, budget, property square footage, single vs. two-story, pool, yard size, schools, etc. Be sure to identify which items you are most willing to compromise on beforehand. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted with features you don’t need. The majority of buyers will ultimately have to make a few concessions along the way. It is imperative you have thoroughly evaluated all your options before conceding. There are many websites to choose from when searching homes online; however, www.CASANV.com is an excellent resource for homes in the Greater Las Vegas Area. You will discover in-depth stats, school information, crime stats, and other important considerations. Additionally, be sure not to place too much value on websites that provide estimated property value information such as Zillow, etc. These sites are not providing actual comparative recent sales data so the information will likely be inaccurate and not reflective the actual real market value.

4. Negotiating and the Right Time to Buy

Determining the right time of year to buy can be extremely difficult. That said, over the years the winter season in Greater Las Vegas has proven to be a good time for buyers to negotiate with sellers. If you’re willing to brave the cold weather your wallet will thank you. Better weather equates to a busier market. Data shows people purchase more homes during the spring and summer months than any other time of year in the Greater Las Vegas. One reason to consider is that most families want to be moved in their new homes before their children start the new school year. The majority of sellers that place their homes on the market between the months of October and December usually are more motivated to sell. There is empirical data to back up the fact that prices level off in the winter and often sell for less than list price.

When considering the purchase price you want to also factor in the cost of homeowner association (HOA) fees, real estate taxes, homeowner insurance, maintenance, and not to be forgotten utilities. It is a good idea to ask questions about upkeep for extras like swimming pool, heating, cooling, and not to be over looked a solar system (especially if leased). Also, when making the decision be sure to consider all the variables for example; a home with higher costs/fees that’s priced low may be more costly than a higher priced home with lower costs/fees. Additionally, a lower priced home in a state with higher taxes may cost you more a month than a more expensive home in Nevada which has lower taxes than most states.

5. Be Willing to Walk Away

Negotiating the right offer takes considerable care and skill. When it comes to deciding what price to offer it is important to understand there is much more to consider than just submitting an opening offer. For example, if you are in a multiple offer situation, sometimes you can make your offer stand out or seem more appealing simply by writing a letter saying how much you like the house. Many sellers take great pride in their home and want to see it go to someone who seems to truly care about the property. Another option is to limit additional requests or perhaps show more flexibility when it comes to the close of escrow timeline. You can also structure your offer so that it is not just about the purchase price and/or close of escrow. You accomplish this by offering more favorable terms such as shorter due diligence period and/or offer a larger earnest money deposit, which can make your offer stand out from all other offers. Considering reducing the contingencies can very well make your offer stronger with or without multiple offers. Ultimately, when buying a home remember it can be a very stressful and time-consuming endeavor. Remain committed to your list of must-haves and must importantly stick to your budget. It is important to manage your expectations in case things don’t go exactly as you might have hoped. Always be prepared to walk away from a property if a seller doesn’t accept your best and final offer, and/or if a home inspection revels unforeseen issues that present insurmountable objections by either you and/or the seller.

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