Preparing to Buy a Home
1. Plan to Buy a Home in an Area You Intend to Stay.
Make sure you can commit to remaining in one place for at least a few years. When looking at areas of interest take into consideration your job and commute time, school district, distance from loved ones and any other factors that are important to you.
2. Check Your Credit.
Since you are likely to need a mortgage to buy a house, make sure your credit history is as clean as possible. Ask for a copy of your credit report and correct any inaccuracies before you begin house hunting.
3. Calculate your Finances.
Aim for a house you can afford. The rule of thumb is that you can pay for a house that is two-and-one-half times your annual salary.
Getting pre-approved by a lender will ensure that you are looking at houses in the right price range.
4. Hire a Professional.
You can use the internet to find real estate agents in your area.
Also, it is best to ask for recommendations from people who have used agents when buying their home. Ask them what their experience was like and if they would use the same agent again. Interview several agents before determining the one you want to work with.
5. Do your Homework.
When making an offer on a house, your opening bid should be based on the sales trend of other homes in the neighborhood. Use a Comparable Market Analysis of homes sold in the last three months. If homes are selling five percent below the asking price, then make your offer five to ten percent below the listing price.
6. Hire an Inspector.
Even though your lender will require a home appraisal in order to determine the worth of the property, you should hire your own home inspector, preferably an engineer with experience in doing home surveys in the area where you are buying. This will establish if there are any problems that would require costly repairs.