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Comments and Questions:

  Prepare To Buy - Back
The home-buying process is complex, but you can help keep it simple by tending to a few matters before you start looking at houses. If you know before hand how much you can afford, and you have a terrific Realtor on your side, you’re ahead of the game before you start. Knowing the area where you want to buy, taking steps to protect yourself, and maintaining reasonable expectations will also keep you on track.

The only way to know for sure that you 're looking in the right price range for a new home is to get pre-approved. Often people search for homes in a bracket they actually can't afford because they didn't understand the formulas, or because they hoped to bargain the seller down to an affordable amount. Not knowing what you can afford, and not having a solid understanding of the costs involved, can result in wasted time for buyer and seller alike. If you get pre-approved, you'll know exactly where you stand, which is a much more reasonable approach. Take the time to visit with your mortgage lender, and get pre-approved first.

Your money and time will be spent more wisely if you work with a Realtor. Buying a home without a real estate professional is foolish, particularly when you consider how much money is involved in the purchase of a home. A Realtor can advise you on the various neighborhoods, the sales history of homes in the area, and hone in on a list of properties in your price range that meet your needs.

Before you make an offer on a home, make sure you know the area. You will live in the neighborhood as well as in the house, so you want to be sure that the neighborhood suits you and your family. Spend time walking around the area at several different times of the day. Chat with prospective neighbors about their experiences in the area. Check out the market, dry cleaners, and coffee shop, and stop in at the local police headquarters to ask about crime statistics. Make appointments to visit nearby schools. You can get a lot of information from the Chamber of Commerce, the Internet, and your Realtor, but nothing will serve you so well as experiencing the neighborhood first hand.

When you do make an offer, make sure the contract has the correct contingencies and the correct language necessary to protect your interests. Your real estate agent will work with you on these specifics. Depending on the custom in the area, attorneys may be engaged in the sale of a house. Your Realtor will alert you to the necessity of hiring a lawyer and should be able to suggest some names for you. Make sure you purchase adequate homeowner's insurance, and then increase it as the value and the contents of your home increases.

One of the most important aspects of home buying is to maintain reasonable expectations. If you buy an older home, you should understand that it's not going to be perfect, even if it's been totally renovated. Often, when a buyer pays the asking price for a home, he expects that he's purchased perfection, and is subsequently disappointed. It's important to understand that all homes have problems, and that older homes simply have older problems. If you expect things to be perfect all the time, you won't ever be satisfied.

Before you start shopping for a new home, get pre-approved. You'll be a more attractive buyer. Work with a Realtor to make the best use of your time and your home buying dollars. Be comfortable with both the house and the neighborhood before you make an offer, and then protect yourself before, during, and after the purchase. Keep expectations reasonable. The purchase will go well, and you won't be disappointed.

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