Six Rules For Searching Homes For Sale

Although homeownership is down a bit in the wake of the recession, most folks still consider it a core component of the American Dream. With that in mind, here are six tips that will help you avoid common home-buying errors.

1. Make An Honest Budget

One reason the number of foreclosures spiked during the housing crisis is that millions of buyers purchased homes for sale they could not afford to pay for over the long haul. To avoid getting in over your head, shop for abodes based on your current budget rather than the maximum amount you’re allowed to borrow from the bank.

2. Work With Professionals

As tempting as it may be to cut corners to save money, it can come back to bite you in the end. House inspectors, real estate agents, and property lawyers can be of invaluable service during each stage of the buying process. Just make sure they’re not also representing the seller, or you could have a conflict of interest.

3. Never Be Afraid To Negotiate

Even if they say otherwise, most sellers are willing to go lower than their asking price on homes for sale. Placing bids through your agent is perfectly acceptable, but you should not be swayed by their advice. Always remember that your realtor receives a commission from the sale, which means he/she is incentivized to get a deal done as soon as possible. Do not feel pressured or rushed to send him/her back to the negotiating table if you believe you can get a better price.

4. Expect A Long Search

Another common error first-time homebuyers make is planning their schedule based on an anticipated house purchase. They might, for example, tell their landlord they’ll be moving out in three or four months. Then, when they haven’t finished their property hunt in that time frame, they find themselves without a place to stay. Avoid this all-too-common scenario by not putting any time restrictions on your search process.

5. Find The Right Realtor

About 90 percent of shoppers use a real estate agent to help them find the property of their dreams. Because the process can be a protracted one, it’s extremely important to find an agent you are comfortable with. To do so, you should speak with several different realtors before you give one your business. Always remember that they’ll be working for you, so do not feel awkward about asking them to interview.

6. Read Before You Sign

Unless you have a legal background, odds are you won’t completely understand your real estate contract. That does not, of course, mean that you shouldn’t read it. You should read every word and ask questions about any term, condition, or legal phrase you do not understand. While realtors should be able to translate and explain the finer points of the contract to you, it may be a good idea to have a real estate lawyer look it over before you sign. These legal professionals are experts in contract law who can tell you if everything is above board.

Follow these simple shopping tips to get a good deal on homes for sale in your area.