1. Arrange for your mortgage financing up front before you even start to look for a home. The lender
will focus on your ideal price range, your maximum loan, and whether there are
any credit issues you should correct before buying. The lender will also prepare
a qualification letter, which you must provide the seller when you make an
Review a blank contract form before you write your contract offer. This will
familiarize you with contract details and may prompt questions. Ask your agent
to explain the process of negotiating and counteroffers.
Use buyer representation. It is important to have an agent who owes his total
loyalty to you. Discuss your representation options with your agent. If you are
purchasing one of your agent’s company listings, make sure you understand what
your agent can and cannot do for you.
Review the seller’s disclosure before you
make an offer. Your contract offer should reflect the condition of the property.
The seller could disclose a repair or condition that would affect what you
would be willing to pay. You should know this before you decide on an offering
Ask for a residential service contract
when you write the offer. This will cover you for some items that malfunction
during the first year of ownership. Cash used for down payment, closing costs,
and other home necessities can deplete your cash reserves. A residential
service contract will reduce the risk of a future drain if a warranted item
needs repair that first year.
Get the property inspected by a licensed
professional inspector. This will let you know the true condition of what
you are buying. Follow the inspector’s advice if he recommends that you have
another expert inspect a troublesome item. Ask your inspector to explain how to
work or maintain appliances or systems in the home with which you are
Ask your agent to prepare a market analysis
of the property before you make the offer. You should know what similar
properties are selling for so that you don’t overbuy. Also, if the seller remains
firm on his price, you will be able to tell if the value is really there.