MSN Real Estate wants to know: What is the best piece of advice you can give to home buyers?

I am compiling a top 10 list for a year-end column. I'm interested in tips covering everything from finding an agent to fining a neighborhood, securing a mortgage and negotiating on a home. My deadline is EOD Thursday for ideas. 


Thanks!
Melinda Fulmer
  • November 28 2012 - US
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Answers (4)

I would say that one of the most important things for new home buyers to do is to make a budget. By doing this, they are able to determine themselves what monthly housing payment they are comfortable with. A home buyer can often be qualified for more than they can comfortably afford. Getting a pre-approval before starting shopping for a home is also a must.
  • November 28 2012
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If they are not paying cash, they need to be pre-aproved by a lender BEFOR shopping. 

Don't take the first agent that answers the phone.  Interview them like you would any employee.  Make sure they understand your needs/wants/budget/and areas of interest.  Make sure they are a FULL TIME agent. Too many part timers out there who don't have the time to show property when the client needs to. Buyers will lose out on a property in this market if they have to wait to see it.

If a buyer sees a home they are interested in, don't wait too long to make a decision. Homes are seilling quickly at or above list price in many cases.  Know the market and ask your agent  advise.   

  • November 28 2012
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The best advice is to look for a highly-respected buyers agent.  Ask your family and friends for recommendations and then meet with several agents. Find someone that you feel comfortable with, feel you can trust and that has experience in the areas you are searching for your home. Be sure the agent sells Real Estate full time!  Ask the agent for references for buyers that they have helped within the past 6 months.  Once you have found someone you feel comfortable with, they will walk you through the process. The first thing they should suggest is that you sit down with a mortgage lender.
  • November 28 2012
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Work with a full-time Realtor that you are comfortable with and knows the market you wish to purchase in.  "Part-time Realtors" aren't good to work with (speaking from a professional to professional standpoint) because they usually are not available during normal business working hours--they are at their "real" job during that time.  I always call up the Realtors that submit offers to me, and if I cannot reach them as easily as I am reached I let the Seller know about it.  Does it influence their decision to accept an offer or not?  You better believe it...also a full time Realtor should be able to fill out all the documents correctly. I cannot tell you how many times I get residential purchase agreements with tons of errors--does that give me a solid confidence in that Realtor's ability to close escrow should we open it? Absoltuely not, and I let my seller know how I feel about it. Ultimately Sellers decide what chances they want to take, but maximize the chance of your offer being accepted with a good full time Realtor on your side.

Work with a loan officer you are comfortable with.  The Realtor will suggest you get pre-qualified with their contacts, but you do not have to use them.  Shop around, and have fun!

Best wishes from So-Cal and good luck
  • November 29 2012
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