Here are some essential tips to help you with the home buying process:
1. Get mortgage pre-approval. Before you start your home search, find a good mortgage broker and get pre-approved for the size loan you think you’ll need. This allows you to make an offer the minute you find a house you like, and assures the seller that you are already qualified for financing. If you can, also arrange bridge financing in case you’re counting on the proceeds from the sale of your present home for the down payment on the new home. If you have to make your offer contingent on the sale of your present home, you may lose out. Most sellers will not want to wait around for your house to sell to find out if they have a deal.
2. Don’t be too picky. In a really hot market it’s not unusual for buyers to bid on homes without even seeing the inside! If the seller is not available to show it, and if other buyers are snooping around the property, you may need to base your buying decision on location and listing information. So what if the carpet is orange shag and the family room has ugly paneling? These are minor drawbacks, easily fixed if the house is perfect in all other respects. On the other hand…
3. Don’t be stupid. No matter what, don’t get so caught up in the buying frenzy that you throw caution to the winds. An older home or one that’s literally on shaky ground could make your life a living hell — with termites or serious structural problems. It’s generally wise to make your offer contingent on a contractor’s home inspection. (The mortgage provider may require an inspection anyway.) This could reduce your chances of getting the house, but that would be preferable to walking into a money pit.
4. Be creative. In addition to offering a high price and keeping the deal clean, consider appealing to the sellers’ emotional side. Send flowers or offer a restaurant gift certificate or some other non-cash goodie. By personalizing the transaction, you show the sellers that you are thoughtful, caring people — just the right buyers for their beautiful house.