Life is full of exciting firsts, but when it comes to purchasing a home, make sure you do your due diligence. Rose Sklar, esteemed realtor and cofounder of the Rose & Dean Sklar Real Estate Group shares her advice.
1. Remember, a realtor costs you nothing. The seller pays the commission. A realtor’s expertise and knowledge will help you to negotiate the sale, discuss financing options, oversee inspections—essentially being a helping hand throughout the process. Choose wisely, don’t forget to ask for recommendations from happy past clients, and check out a realtor’s reputation online. Make sure your selected agent is knowledgeable about the area in which you are looking to purchase. You want someone who knows the ins and outs of the community you are focused on. Have a sit-down with your agent and have them explain the process of buying a home. Remember to ask lots of questions throughout the process. We are here to help.
2. Research and narrow down. Do your homework on the areas where you want to possibly live, and then narrow it down. Think about what is most important to you and your family, such as schools, safety, drivability, taxes, pet friendliness and plenty more. Make a “must have” and “wish list.” Try to think ahead and buy the home you want to be in for the next three to five years. Focus on location, and space. Deal with your debt, pay on time and try and eliminate extraneous activities, so as not to affect your credit score when you are in the process of buying a home. Do not look above your affordability; it is no fun to look at homes you cannot afford. Be realistic in your home search.
3. Enter the home with a poker face if you want to get the best deal when negotiating. I tell my buyers to check their emotions at the door and hold off on the enthusiasm until we are out of the house.
4. Be ready to move fast. The good properties sell fast. Get pre-approved, and ask for a “good faith estimate” from your mortgage lender so you will know the types of fees and required reserve savings to expect. You will need a letter from a reputable bank to begin the process of writing an offer to purchase a home.
5. Remember, you will need to inspect the home. Do not bypass this important part of the transaction and make sure to choose a reputable company. Focus on roof, A/C, plumbing, mold and electrical. Remember, most homes are not new, so things are going to show up. Don’t panic, your realtor is there to walk you through the negotiations and potential addendum to the contract
6. Have the home appraised. The mortgage company will order the appraisal, and this fee is a part of closing costs.
7. Purchase homeowner insurance, and note that some areas also require flood insurance. You may need to have reserves in the bank if you arrange a lower down payment. It pays to KNOW in advance, so as not to be surprised later.
8. Protect the deposit. Time is of the essence with everything on a contract. This means you can lose your escrow deposit if you do not follow the contract precisely. Make your mortgage application on time, second deposit and so on. This is why you need to work with a seasoned REALTOR and title/attorney when making one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. You can easily miss a date and put your money in jeopardy
9. Never make any large purchases while in contract on a home. This can affect your ability to get a mortgage as well as your credit. No vacations or large purchases until after you close. Do not miss payments, move money around or close an account while in contract on a home purchase. This is a big no-no. Wait until after the closing.
10. Always check association restrictions. We don’t want you to have any surprises after the closing. For instance, you may not be able to park a boat outside of the home, or let commercial trucks into your driveway. Ask first.
Rose Sklar | firstname.lastname@example.org | 954.298.3626 | www.SklarTeam.com |