1. Shop For a Mortgage Before You Shop For a Home
- It’s easy to fall in love with a beautiful home, so find out what you can afford before you begin your search.
- Having a mortgage pre-approval or commitment letter allows you structure an Agreement of Sale advantageously.
2. Location, Location, Location
- Your first consideration should be the neighborhood. Study the area by reviewing maps, touring neighborhoods, researching schools and determining the proximity to work.
- Determine the general area you’d like to live. The desirability and resale value of your home-to-be depend more on location than any other single factor.
3. Hire The Best Realtor You Can Find
- Familiarize yourself with the Pennsylvania rules of Agency in a real estate transaction, and make sure your interests are protected.
- From finding the right home, to selecting a mortgage to negotiating the best price and terms, an effective realtor is a huge advantage. A good realtor has the knowledge and experience that come from years of helping both buyers and sellers. He or she also has a team of other professionals – lenders, lawyers, home inspectors, movers, etc. Most sellers are certainly going to have professionals assisting them. Having the right pro on your team ensures that you receive the best deal possible. Make certain to ask the right questions before you select a realtor (The 28 Questions you must ask before you hire a realtor).
- Select a realtor who specializes in and very familiar with the area that you’ve selected. Choosing one that lives in the community is a plus.
- Make sure that you and your realtor have instant communication access … this is especially important in a fast moving Seller’s market.
4. Know What You’re Shopping For
- List the features that you want in a home before you start shopping, and share this list with your realtor.
- Look for homes that meet your needs first, and fulfills your desires second.
5. Understand The Current Main Line Housing Market
- Research what your money can buy in different neighborhoods (recent home sales).
- Is it a sellers or buyers market? It’s very important for you to understand who has the current advantage, and that knowledge will ultimately determine how you’ll structure an Agreement of Sale.
6. Narrow Your Search
- Let your fingers do the walking. Review information and photos from computer information allowing you to conveniently see every home in your area and price range … this can save time and energy.
- A good realtor has an in-depth knowledge of current housing inventory and continually updates that knowledge by touring new listings as they become available for sale.
- In the Main Line Seller’s market, it’s important to see all new listings as soon as they become available. Being there first is often the key to getting the home you want.
7. When You Find What You Want
- Structuring your offer will depend upon the state of the market … is it a seller’s or buyer’s market?
- Obtain a property disclosure from the Seller.
- Analyze comparable sales of similar homes in the area to help determine your offer price. Take into consideration the length of time the home has been listed for sale, property condition,home improvements, market conditions and seller motivation.
- You’ll probably want to include contingencies in your agreement, including: Home Inspection, Wood Infestation, Radon, Septic, Pool, Mortgage and Appraisal. In a seller’s market, these should be minimized. To evaluate which are appropriate for you, e-mail Robin.
- Submit a “Buyer Profile” with the offer, describing you, your family, etc. … this helps personalize you and may be the difference in a competitive bid situation.
8. Closing The Sale
- Following-up on all the necessary details during the in-contract period. Pay careful attention to all of the timelines for inspection contingencies, deposit due dates & mortgage approval dates.
- Title insurance and property insurance must be in-place at the time of settlement.
- Arrange for home utilities, including electric, telephone, cable, water, etc. Prudential offers a Home Essentials Program which can be helpful with these tasks.
- A pre-settlement walk-through is important to ensure that there hasn’t been adverse changes to the condition of the property.
- Make certain that you receive a estimate of closing costs in advance of the settlement in order to familiarize yourself with all the costs to be incurred.