Buying A Home Checklist
Find an agent
Interview three if you can and remember there are real estate companies that work for just sellers, some that work for sellers or buyers, some that try to work for both at the same time, and others that just work for buyers. The latter companies are called Exclusive Buyer Agent Companies (EBA), and it is worth making sure one of your interviews is with an EBA. Visit NAEBA.org for more info.
Obtain a preapproval
If you will be getting a mortgage, a preapproval will help make you more comfortable with what a mortgage payment would be like. A good agent will typically have recommendations for credible lenders. Choose a lender based on their proven ability to get the job done correctly first, then consider the costs. Be careful if the lender is associated with the real estate company; it sometimes creates a conflict of interest.
Start looking at homes
You can usually visit eight or ten homes in a well-planned day with a well-prepared real estate agent. Open houses typically are not the best use of time because they are only a small indication of the inventory of available homes.
Narrow down your choices
Start cutting down your list to a target group of two or three homes. Then make a second visit to do a “detailed” viewing. This way, you will always be aware of your best alternative if your top pick doesn’t work out.
Research purchase contracts
Don’t wait till the day you need to sign a contract to look at one. Your agent should be reviewing the documents, the processes, and the local customs for negotiations and contingencies with you while you are still searching for a home. You’ll be much more confident when the time comes to “sign on the bottom line.”
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