So you've decided to buy a home have you? Great idea! Just don't be like my lady friend here and blow it out your..... you know. In order to help you I've decided to take the time to give you some advice on what to look for. Of course there will inevitably be things I forget to mention so, all my Realtor buddies out there please feel free to comment and leave other advise for the readers. Thanks. Let's begin.
These are in no particular order with the exception of the first one.
1) Hire a Realtor- Seriously folks, this is without a doubt the best piece of advice I can give you. These people do nothing all day but study the market, stay current on home values, and help people find the perfect home for them. When you arm's broke you go to the doctor right? When your car breaks down you go see a mechanic? And when you're buying a home you go see a Realtor. It should be that easy.
But wait, you would rather find the home yourself than pay a Realtor to help you right? Wait this just in!! We now send it to Jimmy a Realtor in Another Place, MS with a breaking story. What do you have for the folks at home Jimmy? Well Mister and Misses home buyer, YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY THE REALTOR!! They work for you for free!! Back to you Sarge. Thanks Jimmy.
Well folks this is usually the case because we make the seller pay us the commission. Ah, but you are still too good for all that. You know the market, you seen 3 houses sell in your neighborhood since you started rented that house in 1995. You know all about real estate. You don't need no stinkin Realtor to help you? I know me personally I wouldn't hire a Realtor if I was buying a home here in Biloxi or Ocean Springs; wait, that's because I am a Realtor here in Biloxi and Ocean Springs. How about I just tell you what you need to look for.
First off, if you are looking for a home on your own chances are you are trying to exploit the for-sale-by-owner group. I warn you to be careful. There are two main types of people who use FSBO signs. The first, novice home sellers who think they can save a buck by not using a Realtor. This people usually have no idea what the heck they are doing so I hope you do. Second and the most dangerous is the Real Estate Investor. I assure you, these people no exactly what they are doing and they will screw you over by any means necessary to put another dollar in their pocket. Be careful.
But you are still not convinced to hire a Realtor so let's try to educate you and hopefully save you some heartache.
1) Get Pre-approved- Well if you are going to tackle this on your own I would definitely suggest first knowing how much home can you afford. Go talk to a local bank or broker and get pre-qaulified for a home loan. This way you will know exactly what price range to look in. You could literally wastes weeks of your free time finding the perfect home only to find you can't afford it. That can be extremely frustrating. Talk to a professional who can help you understand the expenses of home ownership such as principle, interest, taxes, and insurance. Believe you me, insurance can be a back breaker on the Gulf Coast.
2) Location, location, LOCATION!!!!- Where do you feel comfortable living? Do you know the area? I can't tell you how many people I hear say things like " I wish I would have known about that area" or "I wish I would have realized how far away I was from everything when I bought this house," or " I love the house but I hate the bugs we have here all year round, I don't even like to walk outside." And believe me there are hundreds more things like this people say. Take time to think about the things that are important to you such as: the drive time to work; where's Wal-Mart, everyone has to be close to Wal-Mart right?; where will the kids attend school; etc. Believe me, no matter how much you like a home, if it's not in the right location you will end up resenting the fact you purchased it.
MAN!! Has anyone seen my soapbox?? I just put it down. Ah, there it is. Let me get back on this thing for a second. Can everyone see and hear me? Good. "If you would have hired a Realtor they probably could have helped you with this!!" Ok, I'm done.
3) Sellers disclosure- As a Marine Instructor there is one rule we all follow, Students lie!! As a home buyer you need to know the same is true of sellers.
By the way, do you like the thumbs down guy? He has no real relevance here, but I think he's pretty cool. What do you think? Anyway, back to the subject at hand.
Make sure the seller gives you one of these; they probably have no idea what it is. This is a little piece of paper that tells you, the potential buyer, everything that is pertinent to the home. How old it is. How it's constructed. Any damages such as flood or hurricane. Things that stay with the home when sold. Things that don't stay. And other very important information you need to know. It's also the law that they provide this to you and the seller can be sued if they intentionally lied to you to help sell their home to you.
4) Home Inspection- This is the last thing I'll leave you with.The reason being is I could make a book, not a blog, on buying a home. In fact there is one. If you forget to do everything else during the buying process, do not forget this step. Have the home inspected by a professional. This could save you thousands in home repairs after you purchase.
In summary, buying a home isn't child's play. Do your research. Make buying your home a great experience and avoid the possible nightmare. If all else fails and you realize it's more than you thought it was, hire yourself a good Realtor to help you out. Good luck.