Ready, Set, BUY!
1. Get "Pre-Qualified!"
Do you want to get the best property you can for the least amount of money? Then make sure you are in the strongest negotiating position possible. Price is only one element in the negotiations, and not necessarily the most important one. Often other terms, such as the strength of the buyer or the length of escrow, are critical to a seller.
In today's market buyers must get "pre-qualified" by a lender. This means that you meet with a Lender, authorize them to pull your credit and complete a preliminary loan application. Based on the answers, the lender pronounces you "pre-qualified" and issues a certificate that you can show to a seller.
Many times unknown problems can come to the surface. Some of the problems I've seen include recorded judgments, alimony payments due, glitches on the credit report due to any number of reasons both accurately and inaccurately, down payments that have not been in the clients' bank account long enough, etc. You are not actually APPROVED for the loan until all loose ends have been finalized. Final loan approval normally does not happen until just prior to closing. Call or email me for more details about your loan process.
2. Sell Your Property First, Then Buy the House
If you have a house to sell, you usually must sell it before selecting a house to buy! Contingency sales aren't nearly as strong as one that comes in with a ready, willing and able buyer. In addition most financing today will not qualify you with two house payments even if you plan to rent out one. Unless you have a two year rental history on the one property, both payments will count in your housing ratio that the Lender will consider.
If you're concerned that there is not a house on the market for you, then go on a window-shopping trip. You can identify possible houses and locations without falling in love with a specific house. If you feel confident after that then put your house on the market.
3. Play the Game of Nines
Before house hunting, make a list of things you want in the new place. Then make a list of the things you don't want. You can use this list as a guide to rate each property that you see. This helps keeps things in perspective when you're comparing dozens of homes.
When house hunting, keep in mind the difference between ''STYLE AND SUBSTANCE''. The SUBSTANCE are things that cannot be changed such as the location, view, size of lot, noise in the area, school district, and floor plan. The STYLE represents easily changed surface finishes like carpet, wallpaper, color, and window coverings. Buy the house with good SUBSTANCE, because the STYLE can always be changed to match your tastes. I always recommend that you imagine each house as if it were vacant.
Consider each house on its underlying merits, not the seller's decorating skills.
4. Don't Be Pressured Into Any House
Your agent should show you everything available that meets your requirements. Don't make a decision on a house until you feel that you've seen enough to pick the best one.
Market conditions, location, and price can make the difference between a house "sitting on the market" or selling quickly, possibly with mulitiple offers. A well priced home in good condition can easily bring out buyers who are all searching for the same thing. In that case you can decide if you want to enter into a mulitple offer situation or not. Your Agent will guide you through the process so that you can make the best decision.
Don't forget to check into the SCHOOL DISTRICTS of the area you're considering. Information is available on every school; such as class sizes, % of students that go on to college, SAT scores, etc. You can get this information from this web site.
Priscilla Tharpe, LLC 850-933-9412 TharpePL@gmail.com