A Checklist For Homebuyers

Buying a home can be frustrating and confusing especially in today’s housing market, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Here are some key things, according to a real estate professional, that you can do before you start looking that will make that process much easier.

1. Get your finances in order; it’s a good idea to start with a credit report.

The lenders in today’s economy are not as forgiving as they used to be. When you’re ready to buy a home, before you ever go out there and start looking around, it’s really important that you know your credit score. Many times there are things hanging on from the past that you didn’t know about on your credit report. It’s really easy to go online to a place like freecreditreport.com, or contact your local lender, and have them pull your credit report to make sure everything is clear. Lenders are not forgiving on that issue, so before you ever go out there and start falling in love with a home, make sure that you are ready to buy one.

2. Determine your budget.

Part of the lender’s job is to determine what you’re qualified for; we all have champagne taste but maybe our budget isn’t such, which is why you should get pre-approved for a loan. Getting pre-approved for a loan is really important because that way, you’re like a cash buyer. You’re not a “wanna be” buyer; you are ready for action. And when you can take a pre-approval letter to the seller and show them that you are ready to close, you are much more likely to get the best value when you are negotiating.

3. The importance of location when looking a buy a home.

Location is crucial. When you start making a priority list of what you want most, of course location for a job, or school, or work, or whatever the situation is, location is always on the top of that list. But again, it’s what you can qualify for with your budget.

4. Make a list of all of the important features or “must-haves” that need to be in the home.

Make a list of your perfect home. Then when you go out there and start looking at homes, parts of the list will probably flip-flop around depending on what you’re willing to pay for the house. But again, make a list of those things you feel are most crucial. And be aware that you won’t really find out what that is until you get out there and start looking at homes.

Now let’s look at the flip side of this; when you’re ready to sell. What do you need to know? And is there a way to improve your chances of selling?

Yes, there is a way to propel yourself ahead of the competition. If you can find an agent who is really committed to helping people get their homes sold they may be willing to give up their entire listing commission to help you price your home correctly and save you thousands. I recently used this approach and when we closed on the home my clients saved more than $10,000; that was a wonderful thing. This type of program can help a home to sell when everything else in a neighborhood is still sitting.

You want to make sure that your home is sold as painless and as professional as possible. One really cool thing about this type of program is that your agent will be able to come in and objectively say, “Okay here’s the reality, here’s where we need to list the price, and you can list it for this because I’m not charging you.”

If you find an agent who is willing to go to work for you for free, simply take advantage of that and price your home correctly and it will sell. Homes that are selling are the ones that are priced the best. Remember, you are competing with banks and distressed sales and the only way you can compete with those listings is by pricing your home correctly.

Staging your home properly is critical.

It is important to show the home in its best condition, not just during a scheduled showing, but also online. People are going to judge the home by what they see online; if they don’t like what they see, they won’t be interested in viewing the property. And remember, getting people through the front door is the only way to make sure it sells.

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