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How to Be A Smart Home Buyer

Posted by Veronica On February - 10 - 2014

Buying a home is a BIG deal, it is probably going to be the biggest investment in your life so why would you even think about buying a home and not doing your research or going into the process haphazardly?

  • Talk to a lender. If you are serious about purchasing a home the first thing you need to do even before you start looking at locations or colors to paint the walls is talk to a lender and see how much you can actually afford comfortably. Look at your debt to income ratio along with the other factors and see if you are ready for this big commitment.
  • Speak with your real estate professional, find the home and once you find the one you want move with due diligence. chances are that if you like the home someone else does too and it may not be on the market long.
  • Put the offer in.  Once you decide you like it and feel comfortable with it make the move then and there. Don’t dilly dally around and wait a week or two. I have seen multiple times the clients dream home going off the market because there was another buyer who was ready to buy it then and there.  A home is a big investment and should be thought about long and hard before the process begins not after you find what you want.
  • ONLY DEAL WITH SERIOUS SELLERS:  This is not the time for fake sellers or sellers that are really not serious about selling. More than likely if a home is up for sale in this market, it needs to sell but you still might find that over zealous seller just wanting to see if they can get what they want for the house. This is not the type of seller you want to deal with. This seller will usually be hard to deal with and not very flexible when it comes to negotiating. A serious seller will be willing to work with buyers on inspections, price and contingencies. Of course sellers have to look out for themselves but its pretty easy to spot sellers that just are not serious about selling.
  • ALWAYS HAVE AN INSPECTION DONE:  I can’t stress this enough how important having an inspection is. Most inspectors have a broad knowledge of everything about a house but not in depth about specific things. If you have a professional inspection and they recommend an additional inspection, it can be well worth your time and money to have that done. For example: A buyer purchased a home with a septic system and the inspector couldn’t examine all the components and recommended a septic inspection. The buyer declined and bought the home anyway. Three months later the entire septic flooded and ruined more than 50% of the home. This poor judgment on the buyers end cost them over $14,000 in repairs. This could have been avoided with an extra $500 inspection.
  • Get a buyers agent. Don’t use the listing agent when buying real estate. That agent is working for the best interest of their client which is the seller. If you as the buyer come along and trust the listing agent to close the deal for you, not only do they receive the entire commission but their interest was not to protect you but the seller.
  • Watch out what you sign:  Most agents and lenders are really in it for your best interest but you never know. Be sure you understand everything you are signing and if something is different when you sign then when you agreed upon it, then you need be aware of all changes and details. If the agent or lender is not willing to discuss and explain all the details of a transaction, then maybe they are not the right fit for you.
  • Educate yourself:  Buying property is probably the most complex, riskiest and expensive thing you will ever do. Do your homework: Talk to real estate owners, go to first-time buyer seminars, check out online material and read some books to learn what to avoid in the buying process. The more you educate yourself, the better the chances that when things go wrong — and they will go wrong — they will only be minor issues, not major headaches.
  • Shop Smart:  Hoping to snag a once-in-a-lifetime deal on a foreclosure or short sale? If you’re trying to chase some “great” deal like at the courthouse auction, or through a distress sale, it could waste your time and energy with little chance at success. Be prepared. These options are complex and can often fall through the cracks.  Skip the get-rich-quick schemes. A more conservative approach is to shop for a traditional sale on listing websites.
  • Buyer Beware!  By taking the time to learn the risk issues and do the proper due diligence before you buy, you can significantly reduce your risk of something going wrong. And while it’s hard work, it is much easier than straightening out a “predicament” after you close

About the Author

As a broker specializing in multi-units and single family homes in Southern Maine, Veronica Schneider joined the real estate industry in August of 2004 bringing with her over eight years of experience in real estate management. You can find Veronica and Green Tree Realty on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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As a Portland Maine real estate agency Green Tree Realty specializes in Residential and Investment real estate for southern Maine buyers, sellers and investors looking in the Androscoggin, Cumberland and York counties residential and investment markets.


We're Located At:
522 Washington Avenue,
Portland, ME 04103
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