1. Find a real estate agent that’s FULL TIME and a good match for you! Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the agent you chose is both skilled and a good fit with your personality.
2. If you are “on the fence” about buying and are waiting for prices to potentially fall before taking the plunge, there is another factor to consider. Interest rates are low right now. Speculating that home prices will drop in the future may be offset by an increase in interest rates, so if you see a home you love, go for it! A fabulous home which is competitively priced will not stay on the market that long.
3. Don’t ask for too many opinions. It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas will make it much harder to make a decision.
4. Very few previously owned homes will be an absolute “perfect” match unless it is custom built to your taste. Focus in on the things that are most important, the small details can be changed once you move in!
5. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price may lose you the home you love.
6. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself—room size, kitchen—that you forget such issues as amenities, noise level, etc., that have a big impact on what it’s like to live in your new home.
7. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a
mortgage. Investigate insurance availability, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.
8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be some costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your homedeteriorate.
9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big commitment, but it also yields big benefits.
10. Choose a home first because you love it. Then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually over from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is as a comfortable, safe place to live.