Don’t let this down market fool you – many folks still need help buying a house. First time home buyers are notorious for making mistakes that cost them dearly in the long run. Here are 5 must-do strategies to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible on the home you may be buying.
1. Don’t let the realtor pre-sell you. I love realtors, but don’t assume the realtor is your best buddy – they are there to sell you a home. Maybe you really want a pool – never tell a realtor “we only want to look at homes with pools.” Why? Because a) You may find your dream home and it doesn’t have a pool; b) the realtor will leverage that against you. Yes – I said against you. Just keep it to yourself – the realtor does not have to know everything.
2. Know home values in the area before you make an offer. So, the seller is coming off his list price $12,000… he may have been $15,000 high to begin with. Do your homework – look at tons of MLS sheets and local flyers. Research your local Appraisal District. Simply put, place the burden on yourself to understand pricing in your market.
3. Don’t get sold on little features. Don’t major in the minors. So, the home has crown molding – don’t forget it needs $12,000 of new flooring – a far more important feature than crown molding. See No. 1 – never place too much emphasis on small features.
4. Be thick-skinned about offending someone. I say it again – don’t let a realtor control you or your situation. If you don’t like a home and you know it, tell the realtor, or owner “this one isn’t for me” and move on – quickly. More importantly – don’t worry about your offering price offending a seller or realtor. Don’t be afraid to ask for repairs to be made – in fact – demand it.
5. Let the appraiser be your friend. If you’re obtaining bank financing, you will most likely get to pay for an appraiser. Most are good and very knowledgable of their market. Take the appraisal report as good information, not as something that may “kill your deal”. You may disagree with the conclusion, but use it as good data for future reference, especially things like the square footage, flood information, etc.
In any market – up, down, or stagnant – new and experienced home buyers need helping buying a home. Do your research and be open to picking up new and old tips as you move toward buying a home.