Top 5 Things You MUST Know When Buying A Home

You've found the house of your dreams, and you want to grab it before it's gone. It's in a good school district, you can get to work in ten minutes, and the gourmet kitchen is to die for. What more do you want? For starters, you need lender approval, a good-sized down payment, and some expert advice.

Top 5 Things You MUST Know When Buying A Home

1. Hire a team of professionals.

An experienced real estate agent will help you figure out what you can afford and how much you should offer. The agent can also put you in touch with a lender, guide you through the inspection and appraisal, and assist with paperwork. Now is the time to ask questions about closing costs, interest rates, and anything else you don't understand. You'll want an agent who knows the ropes, but you also need someone with who you can work with.

2. Do your homework.

You can tell a lot about a house by the way it looks, but it's easy to get carried away with the antique pine floors and forget the attic. If you pay for a pre-inspection, you'll have a head start, and you can ask for repairs or price adjustments when you make an offer. Ask questions like these: How old are the appliances? Does the HVAC need to be replaced? Does the sale include a home warranty? An older home may be charming, but it also costs more to maintain.

3. Prepare for surprises.

Some sales go without a hitch, but most come with a few surprises. What if the inspector finds a crack in the foundation or radon in the cellar? What if the appraisal comes back lower than the offer? Talk about it with your agent, and find out what your options are. Whether it's moving on to another house, negotiating with the seller, or coming up with an out-of-pocket payment, you need expert advice to make a good decision.

4. Plan for the transition.

Contracts and leases rarely allow for a seamless transition. Maybe you'll be able to move directly from your apartment into your new home, but you might have to pay for both while you move. Sometimes, it's necessary to rent a temporary place to stay when you move out of the old place but can't move into the new one yet. Budget for unexpected expenses - the sofa that's too big for the living room, the unexpected paint job in the bathroom, or extra hours for the movers.

5. Get organized for closing.

Closing is the day you'll get the keys to your new home, so find out exactly what to bring with you. Usually, this includes things link a cashier's check for closing costs, proof of homeowner's insurance, and specific types of identification. You may also need specific documents or verification for legal purposes. Every real estate deal is different, and the market changes often. Find an agent you trust, and make your home-buying choice a wise one.

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