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A realtor tells us the five things to know about buying a home

Buying a new home is exciting, and it is common to have a long list of things you want and expect to get when you buy a home. Depending on the market, you may or may not have time to really think about the home you just saw. If the market is hot, you often have to make a quick decision. Having a wish list is a great idea, but when it comes to getting what you want when buying a home, you need to know a few things first.

Real estate agent Jeff House, with Real Estate Bees, has five pieces of advice that will make your home buying experience better.

red and gray houseGet a real estate agent and get on MLS

House says meet your agent, get acquainted, and then fine-tune your search criteria. Your agent, he says, can set you up with access to the Multiple Listing Service, which will help you find homes faster and find homes that meet your wish list criteria.

“Many homebuyers start the process by jumping on the internet, looking at homes, making a long list of homes they like, and scheduling to see them in person. That can be a huge waste of time.” Here’s why, says House,getting ideas on what you like is one thing, driving all over the place looking at 10, 15, or 20 homes can be counterproductive. By the time you get to the 10th home… the first one you saw may have already sold. Why? The market is currently a seller’s market, and homes are selling faster than ever.”

Arrange financing

According to House, buyers have to be ready to take action when they see a home they like.

“Meet with a loan officer, review your credit, set financial goals, and assess how much you qualify for,” House says. “This will get you a “pre-qualification” letter and give you buying power in the marketplace.  Also, you will have a solid idea of how much home you can buy knowing what your purchase price limits are.”

House says your lender and real estate agent can work as a team for you and advise which real estate affiliates to consider that are selling homes.

restored home for saleGet your checklist ready

Experts recommend you make a list of what you want and rank them in order of importance. Is not having a long commute to work more important than a park within walking distance? Does everything have to be on one floor? Do you want a big backyard, and do you want a garden area in the backyard or just an area for entertaining?

Look for a stable neighborhood where home values are increasing. A neighborhood with many houses for sale is going through a transition, and that might not be a good choice right now.

As you go through a home, a red flag should go up if some items seem neglected because that usually means larger items may also have been put on hold. If you are buying an older home, check on how old the water heater is, check on the heating and air conditioning systems and make sure the wiring is up to date.

new home for saleWriting an offer

Once you find the home you really want to purchase, writing the offer and the negotiation portions of this process is critical, says House. This is where hiring the right real estate agent to represent you is important.

“In today’s very fast seller’s market, the use of an escalation clause, a short appraisal addendum and potentially waiving inspections are all conversations your real estate agent should be having with the buyer client.  Most buyers don’t know what they don’t know. It is the real estate agent’s responsibility to give the buyer all the information and recommendations possible and then the buyer makes the decisions,” House says.

Getting and using professionals is the key to getting the home you want at a decent price. A house is an investment, and you should use a real estate agent’s advice and all the tools they (and the lender) have at their disposal.

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Kathleen Ostrander
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kathleen has worked for United Press International and she's written about everything from style to pets for newspapers…
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