Tips for Home Buyers

· Find an agent: Get a good, reputable Real Estate Agent to assist you in locating a property in a desirable location. Your Real Estate Agent will know where to help you look for properties, while keeping your preferences and price range in mind.

· Review your credit report: Check your credit report to know your credit worthiness. Clear up problems if any before going to a lender. A good credit rating will result in you receiving lower interest rates.

· Get Pre-Approved: During pre-approval a mortgage lender will review your credit report, income and overall debt to determine how much of a loan you qualify for. With a "pre-qual" letter in hand, you can be more confident about your buying power in the real estate market.

· Learn about mortgages: Each type of mortgage has its pros and cons. Finding the one that's right for you will depend on many factors, such as how long you plan to own the home, how much you can afford to pay up front, etc.

· What you can afford: What you can afford depends on your income, credit rating, current monthly expenses, downpayment and the interest rate. It is recommended that buyers spend no more than 28% of their income on housing costs. Go much past 30% and you risk becoming house poor.

· Make a wishlist: You should buy the real estate that is right for you. Make a wish list of all the specifications you want in your home. Prioritize them based on your wants and needs. Then mark out those aspects that you are willing to compromise on, in case you need to.

· Check your finances: Find out how much you'll likely pay in closing costs. The upfront cost of settling on your home shouldn't be overlooked. Closing costs include origination fees charged by the lender, title and settlement fees, taxes and prepaid items such as homeowners insurance or homeowner’s association fees. Your lender can help you with this information.

· List versus Sales Price: Try not to fixate on the list price of a house, but rather the fair market value (an estimate of what a buyer would pay a seller for any piece of property).

· Budget for post-move expenses: There are always unexpected situations that arise. Maybe the water heater needs replaced, or the furnace needs repaired, or the windows are painted shut. In an ideal world, you’d catch all of these things before buying the house. In reality, But be prepared and set aside some money to deal with the unexpected.

· Home Inspections: It is especially important to have a home inspection if you are looking to buy an aging or older house. They look past the visible surface to the infrastructure, inspecting plumbing and looking for faulty fixtures and waste lines. They check electrical systems to make sure they aren't overloaded or a safety hazard. They also look at possible structural problems like the foundation, walls and floor joists.

· Tax implications: Check with your tax consultant on the factors that may affect taxes resulting from the purchase of your home.

· Ask Questions - Once you've picked an agent or while you're deciding, ask as many questions as possible. If needed, compile a list of questions ahead of time so you don't forget what you wanted to know.