Monday, July 16, 2007

Buyers: 7 Things to Know When Buying a Home

Buying a home in the South Bay/ Beach Cities can be a daunting task whether you are a first time buyer or have purchased a home in the past. There is a lot of advice in the media about buying a home, townhome or condo in today's real estate market. The best hint I can give to those thinking of buying a home is to slow down. I know that sounds a bit strange in our current market... but if you want to buy then you need to focus on those things that will help you accomplish the goal.

Too often buyers are scurrying around looking at open houses, talking to their friends about the market, reading media items and just generally doing everything but thinking about what they need to do and the best way to do it. If you really want to be a homeowner then you need a plan.

The 7 Things to Know When Buying a Home :

1. Gather all your financial documents together.. that's bank accounts, stocks, check stubs, birthday money from Aunt Jane and Uncle Harry... anything that has a bearing on your finances.

2. Find a good lender and talk to them about the various types of mortgages, interest rates, the costs of the loan and your credit. If your credit is bad find out what you must do to repair it. If you need to save another $100 a month then figure out how many lattes you can't have.. Get your financial house in order before you look at one more open house.

3. Find a good agent. Call your friends and ask for referrals. Go to open houses and talk with agents. Get on the internet and check out agent websites and blogs. Pick someone who shares information... a lot of information with clients on their sites and in person. Remember how much you loved your kindergarten teacher because of all the things you learned.... you should like your agent just like that... for the same reason.

4. Look at property. Be ready to meet with your agent if they tell you a great property has come on the market in your price range. If you are too busy going out with your friends or are just too tired or not in the mood to see homes then you might not be ready to buy. Buying a home is a grown-up decision.. if you aren't ready to grow up.. pass until you are ready.

5. Figure out why you want to buy a house. If you plan on making a quick buck and selling for a profit in a year then you are not very realistic and may wind up in trouble in the future. You don't want to be like the idiot flipper who ran off to Australia after bilking lenders out of millions .. what a jerk. Remember buying is a grown- up decision..if you see a home as shelter for you and your family and as a long term investment that you are willing to make a few sacrifices to obtain.. now just might be a good time to buy.. depending of course on your market.

6. Be realistic.. start with a property you can afford.. which may not be the one you dream of owning.. Too many buyers want their first home to be the one their parents finally wound up owning after many years.. Don't be house poor.. that just silly.

7. Listen to your agent not your buddies or co-workers. If you don't trust what the agent tells you then you need to find an agent you do trust. Your friends are not in real estate.. they don't know the market. Your real estate agent knows the market and will guide you if you pay a bit of attention.. Remember the kindergarten teacher.. she was wise and loving and taught you everything you need to know..or at least that's what the book says..

I know there are a lot of people who don't think this is the time to buy and it may not be for them. But if you are ready then do it. Believe me trying to time the market is almost impossible. Generally by the time you figure out it's time to buy .. the best deals will be gone.


FSBO Louisville said...

Great post. I can't believe someone actually ran away to Australia after bad flips (or should I say, lack thereof). Some people are so lame. Thanks again!

Kaye Thomas said...

Yes.. check this link:
Casey Serin
It's a good story about the guy..a real winner .. he stiffed banks for millions with fraudlent loans..