Being a local Real Estate agent in South Lake Tahoe for many years, I’ve worked with several buyers and have helped many families find the perfect home or get the best deals. Along the years I have educated many buyers throughout the home buying process giving them great advice in order for them to make the best decisions for themselves. The key to successfully buying a home is preparation. Preparing for the purchase of a house is just as important as the offer you make. In this article I’m providing my top 10 tips for real estate buyers. If you are thinking about purchasing a home in South Lake Tahoe please feel free to give me a call, I’d love to guide you in this exciting process and help you find the perfect home.
Top 10 Tips for Real Estate Buyers
1. Buy less than what you think you can afford and definitely less than the “approval” amount. In this economy, it’s important to have a bit of a cushion.
2. Get a home warranty, any major setback in the few years can become disastrous to a budget.
3. Do your research. With information right at your finger tips you can access records, school information, statistics, neighborhood info and much more. It is important to have an idea about what you NEED and see what you WANT beforehand.
4. It is very important to be aware of the buying process and know what your closing cost will approximately be. The amount you will pay in closing costs varies by location and typically costs between 2% and 3% of the loan amount. Closing costs are not calculated on a percentage basis, but instead are based on specific line items related to your loan application and lender fees. When you arrange your financing with a lender you should receive an explanation of anticipated closing costs and a Good Faith Estimate.
5. The difference between renting and home ownership is the sleeper costs. Most people just focus on their mortgage payment, but they also need to be aware of the other expenses such as property taxes, utilities, home insurance and homeowner-association dues. New homeowners also need to be prepared to pay for repairs, maintenance and potential property-tax increases.
6. Now, more than ever, a mortgage pre-approval is the first step in home buying. Whether you’re anticipating competition or not, you should be pre-approved for the loan before you write an offer. In competition, this will make a big difference, particularly if everyone else who is offering is pre-approved. If you’re not competing, it puts you in a good bargaining position with the seller. Also, getting pre-approved first will let you know know how much you can realistically spend on a home before you go shopping.
7. Finding a great deal doesn’t necessarily mean purchasing a foreclosure or a short sale. These can be tough purchases for a buyer without a lot of resources including time and money. Use an agent very familiar with the area who can help you identify good deals. Also, make sure you have a clear decision on what’s important for things you can’t change like location and size.
8. When viewing properties create yourself a checklist to use during the viewings. Also always take pictures or even make videos. That will really help you later when u’re trying to remember the details to make a decision.
9. Make sure that the house you purchase is functional to your needs and has enough features that you can utilize. There will, in most cases, be a need to add minor items. If you plan to remodel make sure the remodel will increase the value to the home.
10. Hire a Realtor® who is willing to teach you the process along the way. If he/she has been in the business for a while, they will also be able to recommend a good mortgage company. Make sure your credit is in order before you begin.
Prices for homes and interest rates for loans are so incredibly desirable right now that I’ve noticed homes that are priced right, are not staying on the market for long. So if you find the one you like, act quickly or you will run the risk of loosing it. Good luck!