With all of the scandals surrounding us today, it seems like everyone is repeating the age old addage "Buyer Beware". And while I do think there are a lot of untrustworthy things happening in the general consumer market today, I think "Buyer be Smart" is a better plan of action.
I deal with first time homebuyers (FTHB) on a daily basis, and many of them have the same question; "How do I get these great deals that everyone is talking about?" It's quite simple, yet takes a little bit of work by the potential buyers. These few steps could save you thousands on your next home purchase. I've broken this down into a 4 part series so that I can properly explain each step, and will updating this blog every few days with the next step.
- Get Pre-approved by a credible lender: This is a very simple process. If you already work with a bank or credit union, make an appointment to meet with their loan officer. If you don't, contact your REALTOR and ask them for recommendations. I recommend that buyers meet with at LEAST 2 different lenders to compare rates, terms, etc. During this one hour appointment, ask the officer about their current programs. How much down payment will you need? Do you qualify for FTHB loans? How much are you pre-approved for? Get this pre-approval in writing.
- Interview local agents: Talk with friends and family that have purchased a home within the last 2 years in your area. Based on their recommendations, interview a few agents. Don't simply call the agent in town who has the most advertising, this doesn't make them the best agent. I do recommend that buyers find an agent they like working with, and stick with that agent. As an agent, if I have a buyer come to me that's pre-approved and motivated to find a home, I will bend over backwards to help them no matter what their price range. Buyers that are unorganized and unmotivated don't typically get the same level of service because as agents, we know that person is unlikely to actually buy a home.
- Start the Home Search: NOW that you've worked with a lender to determine your buying power, and selected an agent that's motivated to work with you, you need to determine what you're looking for in a home. Many people start the home search first. This may work for some, but starting the search without having a clear understanding of what you can afford and knowing current market conditions can actually cost you time and money in the long run. Ask the professionals about both of these, and then determine your needs from there. How many bedrooms? What locations do you like best? Do you prefer tile, hardwood, or carpet? Having a clear understanding of your likes and dislikes will allow you to find homes that fit your needs. A quick side note to couples: Please do NOT use your agent to settle differences in taste between you and your significant other. Putting your agent in the middle of an argument about whether you should have tile in the entryway or not usually makes it very uncomfortable for all parties involved.
Ask your Re/Max agent TODAY for more information about the one-time $8,000 First Time Home buyer and $1,500 Energy tax credits!
Cell - (920) 917-0781