Many people don't know how to buy a house. In my experience working in real estate I have found that most people make one of the largest purchases of their life by figuring it out as they go along. I don't need to tell you that this is a bad idea. So what would type of tips would I give my family on how to buy a home? Here are my top 5:
Tip #1 - Find the right real estate agent first! Now this may seem counter-intuitive because people usually go looking for a home first. They find one they like and before you know it a stranger is helping them write-up an offer. Having the right or wrong real estate agent can literally make or break the deal, but most people won't know why this matters until it is too late. A great real estate agent will have contacts for all the services you may need and the ones they recommend are likely good if they have been in the business for long.
Tip#2 - Get Clear. Many home buyers figure they know what they want. I can tell you a good agent can help you get clear. A person may say they want at least 5 acres when really they just want privacy. A good agent is going to pull that out of you. Know what matters most to you in a home. Is it size, amenities, or a big backyard for the kids? Not all things carry the same weight so get clear on what you must have and what you would like and let your real estate agent know. I know it is fun getting in the car and shopping, but don't waste your time and your agent's time by not being clear about what you are looking for.
Tip#3 - Get Qualified. I know this is scary for some people but it is not that bad at all. Most mortgage professionals can get you qualified for a home loan in minutes on the phone. Once you know what you are looking for you need to know what you have to spend in a payment that will work for you. Ask your agent for recommendations.
Tip#3 - Learn to Rate. There are thousands of homes for sale in every city and learning how to buy a house means you need to be able to sort through them so you don't waste your time or your agent's. Sift out homes on the computer and narrow it down to the top 5 or 10. If you are looking at more than 10 homes then you haven't done your homework. Trust me shopping for a new home may seem fun at first, but after 50 homes it gets old. Learn to rate them and write down what you like and don't like about each home so you can learn what really matters as you go through more homes for sale.
Tip#4 - Get Real. Everyone wants their dream home but they aren't in the market for a dream home. Some agents even make the mistake of showing them the most expensive homes first. People will think the best ones are average and there must be even better. After that everything will seem average so they will want to keep looking. Learn to notice what all of the homes have in common and what is extra so you will know which ones are worth writing an offer on.
Tip#5 - Pull the Trigger. I have seen people over the years pass on buying a home that was exceptional in their price range because they thought there would be better ones out there. Listen to your agent when they say it is above average. If you miss out only to find out later it was a killer deal, you will never be satisfied with anything else. This will make you and your agent miserable. When you find the best home on the market for that price range don't be afraid to buy the house.
I hope you enjoy these tips, trust me they will pay off big time for you. Just by knowing them you are way ahead of the average person who doesn't know how to buy a house. Now get our there and look at some homes.