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Buyers TIPS's

Begin your home search by making a careful assessment of the kind of home you need and want. Write it down. Be as specific as you can about your particular requirements. Make a list of “necessities” in your home as well as what you “desire.”
Set up a budget for yourself. Realistically decide how much you can really afford to invest as well as what would be comfortable for your monthly house payments which experts suggest be no more than 28 percent of your total monthly income. Include taxes and insurance. Before you search for a home, meet with a lender and get pre-qualified for a loan. Familiarize yourself with lending programs. You can save yourself time and heartache by meeting with a lender before you start your search for a home. Go one step further and be certain - get pre-approved. In the approval process, all of your documentation is completed and submitted to an underwriter. The pre-approval that you will receive is an actual loan commitment from a lender - your guarantee of loan approval. Be sure you will get the needed financing and your lender will be able to perform according to the time limits in a purchase contract. Not only will your offer be a very strong offer, you also will not find yourself in the situation where you could lose your deposit, (as much as 3% of the purchase price) for non-performance. Interview real estate agents to determine if you are comfortable with their style. Although you will learn a lot by asking questions, you should also ask for referrals to their past clients. Finding a good agent will save you huge amounts of time, effort, and frustration. Remember, a “buyer’s agent” is working for you. Understand the issue of agency: seller, buyer and dual. Be represented. Make sure that your agent is aware of your time schedule and your expectations as well as the specific requirements of your new home. As you view listings, keep track of your likes and dislikes. View a reasonable number of homes- enough to understand value in that market; not too many as to experience information overload. Tell your agent about any homes that perk your interest – ask your agent for greater detail on those you like. Ask your agent for a list of drive-by homes which you can consider first from the outside. Tell your agent about homes you have seen advertised which you would like to see. Express your likes and dislikes to your agent after you see a home. Honest communication is essential. You must be straightforward about your likes and dislikes to enable the agent to do his best job for you. Your real estate agent can help you make an offer to buy the home that you select. It is important that you decide prior to viewing homes whether your agent will represent you or the seller. Some agents work only for the seller. In this case the agent may not be able to advise you in making a fair offer. By looking at homes selling in the area and the length of time it takes to sell, you should be able to get a good idea of value. Only a “buyer’s agent” can give you all the information necessary to make an intelligent offer in your best interests. Ask for a price trend analysis of the town but also of the street or subdivision. There are only two major investments to consider when buying a home. These are the initial investment (including down payment and closing costs) and the monthly payment (including principle, interest, taxes, and insurance). To minimize your initial investment choose a low down payment loan but strive to avoid “private mortgage insurance” or PMI. As part of your offer, ask the seller to pay some of your closing costs. Shop around for your home insurance. Consider paying points to buy down the mortgage rate since you may be able to deduct money paid for discount points from your gross income before computing your income tax. To keep your monthly payments low, avoid monthly mortgage insurance premiums by putting down 20% or more and if it makes sense, consider an Adjustable Rate Mortgage which can have rates lower than fixed rates. Set up a "move" file or folder; Set up a "move" calendar; Have a garage sale; Collect financial, tax and employment documentation needed for your loan; Donate un-needed furniture to charity; Contact insurance company to transfer policies (life, auto, homeowners); Contact doctors, dentists for copies of medical records; Contact schools for copies of student records. Review tax deductions on moving expenses; Arrange cut-off date for utility companies (telephone, gas, electricity, water, garbage, cable television);Call friends and relatives to let them know you are moving. Request change of address kit from post office. Check out voter registration information for the new area. Transfer stocks, bonds, bank accounts and contents of safe deposit boxes; Prepare a list of clothing that will not be packed with household goods; Take time to check off previous listed items while you still have time! Label items you will need to access easily and place them in separate room or closet; Clean out your refrigerator and let it air out at least 24 hours before moving; Drain outdoor equipment: Water hoses, propane tank from BBQ grill, gas and oil from lawnmowers; Discard all aerosols, paint, oils, and other flammable or toxic chemicals; Schedule with utility companies to have utilities turned on at your new home. RELAX!!!; Remember, items packed last will be unloaded first; Conduct a final review of the house, including attic, stairwells, closets, cupboards, storage, garage, and behind doors. Have the house ready for delivery prior to the truck's arrival; Take a break, sit back, relax and ENJOY YOUR NEW HOME!! 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