1. Best Time to Buy a Home
Christmas, Easter Sunday and springtime are popular times of the year to buy a home. You may be able to secure a very attractive and desirable home ahead of the competition at Christmas and Easter while everyone is still in celebratory mood and you are busy putting in a good offer.
2. Hiring an Agent
The main reason for hiring an agent is to save time rather than sifting through hundreds of home listings. An agent has gone through this transaction hundreds, if not thousands, of times and can give you lots of good advice, too. He can guide you through the process and help you along the steps that need to be made.
Secondly, an agent can take you to property viewings and save you from having to drive around looking for the place and viewing on your own. An agent can also preview homes for you and only take you to see the ones he thinks really fit the bill according to the instructions you have given him.
Finally, he can show you how the properties price compares to other homes in the area. This can save you money.
3. Finding a Home to Buy
Looking at tens of potential homes can leave your head spinning, so be sure to pace yourself and not take on too many appointments in any one day. It will be all the more difficult to remember what you saw, and where, when you go home at night. Bring a camera to take photos of your favorites.
Research neighborhoods carefully both online and by visiting a few times if possible. Do you like the neighborhood and can you imagine yourself living there? Are shopping centers and restaurants within walking distance or a 20 min drive?
4. Getting a Loan
Discussing loans before you start viewing is a good idea as you will have a definite idea of what you can afford. In fact, many sellers may be reluctant to use up precious time showing you around unless they are sure that you have a loan approval.
You could ask for a referral from the property agent or approach your own bank or credit union. The best thing is to research the different types of mortgage available and choose the right one for you.
5. Negotiating the Offer
Some sellers may have overpriced their property so it’s up to you to research the market and use the advice from your agent.
When comparing prices, you should only compare prices of similar homes in the same neighborhood that have been sold in the past 3 months. If you have to expand that criteria, do so with a professional’s assistance. Remember, though, that if the area or the home in question is particularly desirable, the seller may ask for a higher price than average and still sell the home. The market will dictate the price.
6. Inspecting Your Home
Look around the property carefully and make note of any repairs that need to be done. In some cases, the seller may agree to do the repairs himself, but you may want to do them yourself. Always make sure that the home is free from structural defects, such as a faulty foundation, a damaged roof or failing plumbing . Major defects discovered during an inspection should be grounds for canceling the contract.
Most banks will require a home inspection be done by a licensed home inspector. They may have their own company, or allow you to select your own inspector.