10 tips are helpful in other areas too.
Step - 1 Making the Decision to Buy
This one seems obvious, but it's a decision that requires careful consideration. You should start by writing down the reasons you want a new house and assign points to each reason. Also assign points to why you should not buy. Once you have made the decision to buy a new home, then determine how long you intend to live in the new house. Then ask . . . does buying still make good financial sense? Next ask yourself if you can afford the home you want.
Step 2 - Hiring a Full-Time Professional Real Estate Agent
This is critical. You don't want to hire a part-time agent that does not understand the current market, financing options and legal issues. I suggest we schedule a time to meet, so we can discuss the reasons you want to buy a house and your plans for the future. This gives us the chance to discuss neighborhoods, schools, economic factors liable to affect the market today and tomorrow. At this time, I will also help you get pre-approved for a mortgage. Pre-approved is a written document from a mortgage broker or loan officer indicating his or her opinion that you will be approved for a mortgage loan up to a certain amount. A strong pre-approval will help us when we are negotiating with the seller.
Step 3 - Starting Your House Hunt
After our first meeting, I'll search the Multiple Listing Services (MLS) for houses that fit your criteria, and I will send you a list of homes to consider. Once you have reviewed these homes, I will ask for your comments so we can refine your search based on your feedback. Once it looks like you have refined your search to a manageable level, we will set up an auto-search within the MLS system for you.
When you're ready we will tour the area and visit some of the houses you have selected. I'll point out positive features and negative features. I'll ask you to tell me what you like and what you don't like. You'll probably amend your "wish list" as we tour houses, some things will become more important and others less important. With this new information, I'll refine our search criteria to narrow in on the house of your dreams.
Step 4 - Know the Market
My knowledge of the market is a key factor in the search for your home. I'll let you know when the market in a particular neighborhood is "hot" and requires immediate action or when the market is "cool" and you have time to wait for a better price.
As we tour houses, I'll let you know when the asking price may have negotiating room and when the house is "priced to sell". My unique market knowledge will keep you a step ahead of the "house hunting competition".
In a "seller's market" or when a home is priced below market, it is not unusual to see multiple offers on a property, full-price offers and even above-price offers. On the flip side, in a "buyer's market" there are more houses for sale than buyers. This gives us more negotiating room as houses are taking longer to sell, but still the very best homes priced to sell . . . will sell quickly with multiple bidders.
Step 5 - Find Your Dream House
I'm confident we'll find your dream house. When we do, I'll put together an offer tailored for your needs including appropriate contingencies (such as financing, inspections, clear title, etc.).
The most serious offers are presented with "earnest money". This is a cash deposit placed in an escrow account. The amount is applied to closing costs. If the seller accepts the offer, generally closing is held 30 to 60 days from the offer date (generally dependent on the turn around time of your mortgage financing). If the seller does not accept your offer, your escrow deposit is returned.
Step 6 - Negotiate the Deal
It is not uncommon to receive a counter offer in response to your offer. Don't let this discourage you. We will discuss the counter offer and decide whether or not to accept the counter offer, submit our own counter offer, or reject the counter offer and move on.
Market conditions will play a role in how aggressively we negotiate the deal. We will also work within your limits. Emotions can lead to buyer's remorse. It is better to set limits prior to negotiating an offer and stick to these limits.
Step 7 - Get a Loan
During the closing period, you will be working with your mortgage lender to secure the loan. Since you are pre-approved for the loan before starting your home search the only thing left to do is have an appraisal prepared and complete the inspection. Being pre-approved is critical to negotiating the best price on your dream home.
Step 8 - Close the Deal
You will receive a "Good Faith Estimate" of closing costs from your lender. The estimate is based on the loan officer's past experience and may not include all the closing costs. I will be glad to review the "Good Faith Estimate," answering questions and highlighting missing costs and estimates I believe to be low.
Step 9 - Move In
Congratulations! It's time to move into your new house and make it your home. Enjoy this exciting time. I'll give you a checklist to help you remember the numerous details that will make your moving day a pleasure.
Step 10 - Relax and Enjoy
Now it's time to take a deep breath, and then enjoy taking your time to make your new home your very own nest. Don't let all of the To Do things get to you. Make a list and take it one step at a time to convert your new house into your very own home.
Looking to Buy or Sell a Home or in Alexandria? - Email or call your Northern Virginia Real Estate Expert - Susan Craft, REALTOR®, CRS - Susan@SusanCraft.com or (703) 216-4501 - "Attentive and Responsive Services"
Visit Susan's Websites at AlexandriaHomes.PRO and SusanCraft.com
Susan is a proud member of the distinguished TEAM at McEnearney Associates - 109 S Pitt Street Alexandria, VA 22314 -In the Heart of Historic Old Town Alexandria
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