When choosing an agent to represent you in the purchase of a new home, it is important to consider their level of knowledge and expertise. You can accomplish this by interviewing more than one agent to compare how they communicate, educate you, and most importantly how many transactions they have executed. When interviewing a new agent, an important question to ask is: "How involved is the broker in assisting in each transaction?" As the broker will help ensure the agent is providing the best representation and options available in the current market environment.
Don't assume your agent is formally hired
Your agent is responsible for providing information regaurding agency relationships. Make sure they have established with you what agreement you are under.
Do create a realistic budget.
Make sure you seek pre-approval in the very beginning before you see your first house, because this will help you establish a realistic budget and will provide you comfort with the monthly payment. If you have been looking at homes online, understand that online payment calculators are inaccurate, because they don’t take into consideration things that a mortgage lender will. Nothing is worse than falling in love with a home that you find out you can’t afford or don’t want to afford in your monthly payment.
Don't change jobs or make any big purchases
After you get pre-approved, you won't want to make any big changes in your finances. Avoid changing jobs, or making any big purchaces to bypass any issues this may cause with your pre-approval amount.
Do reasearch, take good notes, and consider resale value.
I think we can all agree that the fun part of the home search is touring the homes. Before you go into any homes you’ll want to do some research about each of the homes and eighborhoods to see if there are any deal breakers up front, such as, deferred maintenance, or unknown age of systems or roof. When you get to the homes be sure to take good notes to refer back to, and discuss the resale value with your agent.
Don't tour more than three homes at once
While it may seem fun to tour every home the market has to offer, that isn't beneficial to your search. Once you have done your research, try to narrow down your list to 3. This way you aren't overwhelming yourself with the different features of many homes. This will keep you from wearing yourself out durung the house hunting process.
Do consider more than just the purchase price.
When the time comes to make an offer on a property, talk with your agent about the terms of the contract. To establish what is most important to you as the buyer. While the purchase price is typically thought of as the most important part of the offer, it is easy to forget about other terms that can help make your offer more appealing and benefit you as the buyer.
Don't make an offer without doing your homework.
When you find the house you are ready to make an offer on, make sure your agent provides you with comps from the area to determine an offer that is comfortable to you, and makes sense to the seller.
Do hire a professional inspector.
Once you're under contract on your new home, and you're deciding which home inspector to choose: Understand that not all home inspectors are created equal or have the knowledge to see past superficial or cosmetic items. While it may seem tempting to get a “deal” on your inspection by choosing the cheapest inspector, it will end up costing you in the end. A good home inspector will uncover not just superficial items but also deferred maintenance and issues that need additional inspection by a separate third party vendor. To ensure you have a good understanding of immediate and long term maintenance items to address. Besides, you don’t want any surprises after taking possession do you?
Don't always skip inspections
Buyers may be tempted to waive inspections when in a competitive market. Talk with your agent about the home and neighborhood to see if waiving inspections is a realistic option for you. Don't feel pressured to skip inspections, your offer can be strengthened in other ways.
Do get home insurance
Your new home will be your biggest financial asset so most definitely making sure it's protected is important. Getting home insurance, it is important to shop around to find the best quote by comparing not only the difference in price but also the coverage. Most homeowners find out they don’t have the proper coverage because something bad happens and it is too late. Make sure you are asking each agent what is covered and what is not covered.
Don't wait until last minute to get insurance quotes.
A good time to get insurance quotes is during the inspection period, when you first go under contract. With everything going on leading up to closing, you don't want to add on the stress of finding good home insurance.
Do address appraisal required repairs.
If you are getting a VA or FHA loan it is a good idea to address any potential repairs that may be required from the appraiser during inspection negotiations in order to avoid last minute delays.
Don't wait to pay for the appraisal.
Paying for the appraisal upfront will save you the headache of not getting it paid in time and having closing delayed.
Do review the title commitment.
The title commitment holds crucial information about the property you are purchasing, so don't overlook it.
Don't be afraid to ask questions.
The title commitment can be tricky to interpret so don't hesistate to ask your agent questions.
Do make sure the property is in the conditon that you and the seller agreed upon
When doing a final walkthrough check high & low to ensure the property is clean. Do not overlook any damage done to the property that could have been caused by the seller when moving out. Make sure that the items that were conveyed with the property are still present & working properly.
Do make sure you have your certifies funds, and a valid ID
Don't wait until the day of closing to acquire your funds
On the day of closing any funds needed at the closing table will need to be in the form of certified funds. Certified funds would be a cashiers check, money order or wire transfer. Make sure you have any necessary funds in advance, as banks will have limits on how much money you can get the same day. If you choose to wire in funds, make sure you do that in advance of closing to ensure it arrives on time. Make sure you also have a current, valid government issued ID. Lastly, everyone that is purchasing the property must be present.