Buying a Home in Today's Market

In most locations, it's definitely a "Buyer's Market" giving buyers an opportunity to find the house of their dreams.    Now, thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, first-time buyers can collect an $8,000 tax credit from the federal government as an additional incentive for a home purchase before December 1, 2009.    So Spring has definitely sprung for most home buyers.    But knowing how to get started is sometimes challenging so below is a list of things to consider before you begin.

  1. First, make a list of  "must-haves".  These are items that EVERY home you look at must have.  These items might include, number of bedrooms, baths, living areas.  If garage size, lot size and location are also necessities add them too.
  2. Do you have children or know what school district you want to be in?  If not, you can research neighborhoods in you city by searching Google or even Wikipedia.
  3. Make a list of the "like-to-have" items and prioritize.  Without some thought on this issue, you may end up with what your Realtor or someone else wants you to have.  The more prepared you are in this area, the better your search will be
  4. Request an e-mail listing of updated homes from a Realtor.  You want current updates too.  Everything on the Web is not necessarily current.  (If you need help with this, email me on the Contact Form and I'll get you connected Realtor in your area who can provide current updates.)
  5. Contact a lender and find out what you can afford to buy.  Provide all the information the lender needs to pre-qualify you.   During the pre-qualification, ask them to take things like closing costs into consideration.  Closing costs are fees and charges that you are expected to pay as the buyer.  They should ask you about this in the pre-qualification, but regardless, make them add the closing costs to the estimates.  That way, if you need to finance the closing costs or ask the seller to pay them, that will already be figured in your qualification.

For best results, I recommend you get a licensed Realtor in your area.  Check references.  I'll have more to say on this in future posts, but if you have questions, send a message using the Contact form.