Buying a home is a major decision. For most people it is the largest purchase that they will make in their lifetime. I have put together a list of tips that will help you make an educated decision.
1. Always do your homework before you go out looking. Decide what town and neighborhoods you'd like to focus on. What features are most important to you and most of all, what is your monthly budget for your home?
2. Be Practical. It's okay to be selective but don't be unrealistic with your expectations. Create a guide of needs and wants and use that to evaluate each home.
3. Review your credit report. Speak to a lender and get pre-qualified for a mortgage. Make sure that you have enough money to cover your down payment as well as closing costs. This will help you determine what price range to look in.
4. Think long term. Will this be the home you plan to stay in or will you buy a starter home with plans to move up to a larger home in a few years? This is very important as it will determine the size and style of home you choose.
5. Get a home inspection. This will determine not only what currently needs to be addressed but will alert you to future repairs. A home owners warranty purchased either by the seller or you is a great insurance policy.
6. Determine your timeframe. Do you need to get into a home before school starts? Is your lease up soon? Can you continue month to month until you close? Do you need to coordinate a purchase with a sale? All of these factors are important when negotiating for a home.
7. Make the final decision yourself. Don't ask too many people for opinions. Find someone you trust for guidance but be prepared to make the final determination on your own.
Above all else, enlist a real estate professional to help you with your search. The internet is a wonderful tool but nothing can replace the feeling you get from being inside a home. You will know as soon as you walk in the door that you have found the home for you.
Follow these tips and enjoy the notion that you will be in your new home very soon.