Tuesday, March 25, 2014 / by William Culp
As the market makes steady moves toward a solid recovery, more and more hopeful homeowners are entering the playing field. If you're looking to buy a new home this year, be it a downsize, vacation home, or your very first house purchase, follow these three tips.
Check into reality.
Instead of daydreaming your ideal home, make a list of what things are absolutely essential: a specific number of bedrooms, close proximity to work or your child's school, a decent-sized yard. Once you know what you need, but before you begin your actual house hunt, start looking at what sold in the last six months that fits your bill. See what the selling prices are looking like, and figure out if you can afford a similar price tag. If you can't, it might mean waiting a bit, or reassessing your needs.
Get pre-approved, not pre-qualified.
Many people get confused between “pre-approved” and “pre-qualified” when it comes to obtaining a loan. Getting pre-qualified means a bank has qualified you for a mortgage based on information you provided, but they have not actually checked up on your credentials. A letter of pre-approval means the bank has thoroughly checked out your financial status, and is ready to give you a loan. This holds more weight in terms of buying quickly, and can act as leverage should it come to beating out other buyers.
When it was a buyer's market, lowballing was often a good way to start negotiating price. However, now that we're seeing inventory shortages across the country and more and more buyers entering the fold, lowballing most likely means you won't land a deal. Instead, present a fair offer that's in your price range but still leaves some negotiation room on both ends.
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