Wednesday, March 21, 2007

20 steps to get the best deal on a home in 2007

Are you looking to buy a new home this year? It is an exciting time, but also stressful because of the enormity of the purchase. You are pretty much agreeing to be in debt for a long time. If done right, it can be a great experience and you end up in a house which will be your home for a long time to enjoy.


Bankrate.com has a great step-by-step guide to make sure your personal finances are in order and that it is a smooth process for you and your family.




    1. Know your score. Pull your credit report and purchase your credit scores….

    2. Get preapproved for a mortgage. Preapproved, not pre-qualified. Pre-qualified simply means you're good for the loan -- if your income, debts, credit and other factors are exactly as you stated and can be documented. …

    3. Determine your dollar limit. Decide how much you want to pay, not just how much you can pay…

    4. Make a list, check it twice. Another way to narrow your search in a market with many choices is to really zero in on the individual features of your future home. Which items do you really need? Which do you merely want? Which don't matter? And what would be a deal-breaker?…

    5. Do your homework. If there are communities you like, do the in-depth research now….

    6. Hire a buyer's agent. A good real estate agent can help you focus your search and avoid the pricing pitfalls. …

    7. Don't trash the house. It's become almost routine to point out all the things you don't like about a house to shake the seller's confidence and try and bring down the price. This can be a crucial mistake.

    8. Study comparables. Do this before making a first offer. When you look at the comps (which should be within six months and ideally within three months), what's the relationship between the list price and the sales price? …

    9. Stay current. Keep up with the market while you're shopping.

    10. Determine the real value of the property. Buyers sometimes focus on how large an offer it will take to "get" the home, and lose site of what it's actually worth….

    11. Research the sellers. Are they motivated? Do they have to move by a certain date? …

    12. Look at the real numbers. Was it for sale by owner? Have the sellers used other agents? And how long has it really been on the market?

    13. Leave room for a second offer. Many sellers will assume that if you knock $20,000 off the price the first time around, you're looking for a counter-offer that will reduce the asking price by $10,000,…

    14. Have a backup plan. Don't set your mind on one house and say it's that or nothing. …

    15. Put all extras in your first offer. Negotiations are more elastic in the beginning, when the buyer and seller are most likely to want to reach an agreement…

    16. Don't let them play mind games. "If you make a good offer, within the realm of reasonable, and the seller rejects it outright, move on…

    17. Surrender where you can. You're going to be dealing with the seller throughout the process, so on points where it really doesn't matter, giving ground can be smart…

    18. Call your insurance agent. How will the neighborhoods you're shopping affect your home and auto premiums? …

    19. Call the power company. Look at your current power bill to see just how much juice you're using each month. …

    20. Educate yourself.

20 steps to get the best deal on a home in 2007

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