Buyer’s Checklist

It’s important to be as detailed as possible in a list of must haves. I have witnessed countless buyers waste their time seeing homes that don’t have things they want. Sometimes it takes a few previews to really understand what a buyer wants, but if they have at least created a list of things they simply cannot be without, the process will be more efficient, accurate, and the process of viewing homes will be more enjoyable.

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Typically, most home buyers have room to improve their credit scores. Anything lower than a 670 credit score will usually mean that a buyer will be paying higher fees and have to provide a higher down payment. The higher the score, the lower the payments.

Any good Realtor works with a good team of people that help them get the job done. Though clients are encouraged to compare multiple options for any given service, asking a trusted Realtor for referrals is a good way to find other trusted professionals that will help guide and support you through the transaction.

A pre-approval is basically your golden ticket to writing an offer on a home. Most agents won’t even show homes to prospective buyers if they haven’t yet obtained a pre-approval, and for good reason. It would be a waste of everyone’s time to look at houses if they are out of the buyer’s budget.

A good loan officer, or mortgage expert, or mortgage advisor, or loan specialist, or or or…(there are endless synonyms), will quickly and confidentially be able to give a buyer a general idea of what they can afford just by gathering some basic income and debt information.

Modern technology and the internet have allowed home buyers unprecedented access to real estate listings and information. The percentage of home buyers that begin their home search online has increased to 91% – and that number is surely growing.

As a Realtor I embrace this ubiquitous information. And why not? If used correctly, it will greatly enhance a buyer’s understanding of what they are looking for in a home. That, in turn, will give any good Realtor a jump start in helping a buyer find the perfect home.

There is no doubt that there is value in using the internet to help a buyer hone in on what they want, it’s important to not let the internet be the end-all-be-all for that understanding. It’s equally important to explore neighborhoods of interest, to see what the area has to offer, parks, recreational centers, restaurants, etc. It’s important to get a feel for the area, and that’s something only the future homeowner can determine.

This one is simple. Homes in highly ranked school districts generally have a higher value and sell faster than homes in lesser ranked school districts. Resale value is also higher. If you want to save a little money, and school districts aren’t as important to you, you can look in areas where schools have lower rankings. Just remember: because an area has a low-ranked school district, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad area.

After your offer is accepted you have a short period of time during which you can have as many inspections done as you’d like – this period is called the attorney review period. Arguably the most important is the home inspection.

A home inspection is a general, limited, and non-invasive inspection of a home. Performed by a trained and certified professional, a home inspection will give a buyer a list of visible and testable issues that a home has. From the roof to the basement, the HVAC to the electrical systems, the windows to the walls, and much much more (as you will see by the inspector’s list), an inspector will give their professional opinion on the severity of any issues they find.

A home inspection, more times than not, results in a buyer’s ability to negotiate some of the items on the report. It creates leverage for negotiating and provides a buyer with piece of mind.

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