1. Thou shall not go house hunting before talking to a real estate agent about the purchase process.
It is recommended you contact at least 2 agents and ask them about the buying process. What are the steps to buying a house?
Get familiar with the time frame needed and the documents. Get familiar with the agent; see if you would like to work with them. Check on their availability full time, part-time, nights, mornings, weekends. Home buying is a long relationship that can be very frustrating if you don’t like your agent.
2. Thou shall not go house hunting before talking to a mortgage broker.
Banks are very demanding. Ask your mortgage broker what are the latest requirements from the banks. W2, 2 months bank statement, pay stubs, verifiable income and more. Make sure you have your required deposit available in your bank account. All deposits in your bank account should be verifiable including reserves.
3. Thou shall not go house hunting before hiring a buyer agent.
Your buyer specialist is a top professional who is devoted to working with you. He/she can represent you, the buyer, on negotiations for any property marketed. They are surrounded by a team of professionals and they can help you choose a home inspector, mortgage broker, lawyer etc.
4. Thou shall not go house hunting before having a preapproval.
Your preapproval letter says everything about your purchase power and your financial credibility. Your preapproval will avoid frustrations and surprises. Make sure you are comfortable with the amount you are approved for. If the amount is too high, ask your mortgage broker to reassess and help you find a comfortable zone.
5. Thou shall not buy the first house you visit.
It is a great idea to go visit neighborhoods and visit a couple of open houses. You will know what you like and what you don’t like, and you will start to know the prices. You will be able to familiarize yourself with floor plans and possibilities. It is most probably your biggest investment in life and you do not want to be committed to something that would not suit your life style. Moving is expensive and not worth the frustration and aggravation of living in a house you don’t like.
6. Thou shall not fall in love with the Pottery Barn House.
Furniture and decorations are not part of the deal, unless you ask the seller to leave their personal belongings. Love the neighborhood first, you cannot modify it. Love your floor plan and the rest of the house. You can always update the kitchen, the bathroom and buy the furniture you like.
7. Thou shall not submit an offer until you have done your homework with your agent.
Have your agent pull out at least 3 comparables SOLD in the neighborhood. Ask about the taxes, water bill, electric, heating bill and insurance. High heating bills can be a sign of bad insulation or windows that are not energy efficient. Don’t forget the landscaping and snow removal. They can be a hefty bill if you are hiring a professional. You should be comfortable with all the expenses.
8.Thou shall not be your own home inspector.
Home inspection is an important step in the home purchase. It gives you the chance of knowing more about the property. It is your only chance to back out if you have not seen the structural damage, termites, or any other major problem that could compromise your ability to purchase the home. Do your homework, review the seller’s disclosure and always get a professional opinion for major issues. Ask your buyer’s agent to renegotiate your deal only if you found major issues not accounted for in the seller’s report. Don’t nickel and dime the seller.
9.Thou shall not be your own attorney.
Attorneys will represent you on the transaction. They will review your Purchase and Sales Agreement, review title, draft your deed and attend your closing. You can use your bank’s attorney or hire an attorney to represent you. Make sure you know who the bank’s attorney is ahead of time and consult with them. Ask your attorney about representation, availability and any extra fees. If you are not comfortable with the process or the attorney, know that you have a choice. Ask your Buyer’s agent or mortgage broker to recommend another attorney.
10. Thou shall not skip the walk-through and the closing.
Your last steps are crucial. Make sure your agent schedules a walk-through before the closing. Have a checklist of items that you had negotiated to be repaired. Check that the house is in broom sweep condition, no trash left in the yard, nothing in the attic and basement. Run the water and flush the toilets, make sure you have no clogged sinks and plumbing. Check for major damages left behind from the movers. Verify oil gauge before paying the seller the outstanding balance of oil. Go to the closing and verify that you have received any manuals the sellers have, warranties, keys and remote controls. Any problems talk to your agent and your attorney. Have a great move.
About the author: Janine Elkhoury is a Realtor at RE/MAX Legacy. If you are looking for a committed, professional agent to talk to you about the HOME BUYING PROCESS please don’t hesitate to contact Janine for a FREE CONSULTATION. Janine Elkhoury 781.223.8338 or visit her websitewww.bostonrelocationagent.com