Advice for First-Time Buyers
I found a great set of advice for those who are out there looking for their first home. Here's my synopsis of the best points:
1. Find a knowledgeable realtor and work with that person. After all, their assistance to the buyer is "free", and you'll get a chance to learn about the whole process, from the offer to the buyer agreement, through the dual-agent system, multiple offers and closing (including lawyer's fees).
2. Don't know an agent? Get a referral! Preferably work with someone that another first time buyer has used and recommends.
3. Don't sign up with an agent until you are sure you have a good rapport. Nothing can make the buying process more difficult than if you have an agent that you are uncomfortable working with.
4. Be honest and upfront about what you want. Make sure that the agent can really work on your behalf, because he or she really knows what you are looking for.
5. Are you looking for a home with your spouse or significant other? Decide before you get an agent what you want. After all, it all works better if you are looking for the same thing.
6. If you are considering this property to be an "investment", remember the old adage: location, location, location. This makes the difference in maintaining your home's value.
7. GET PRE-APPROVED! Nothing makes shoping easier (and offers too) than if you know how much you can and are willing to spend.
8. Don't skip the house inspection. You are protecting the money you are spending for your home.
9. Do your homework. Go to open houses. Look at listings online and through the local newspaper. Have some sense of the local real estate market before you make an offer.