Deciding to Buy a Home
Buying a home is big decision and a personal one.
Some things to look at. . .
The more prepared you are from the start, the less overwhelming and chaotic the buying process will be. We suggest you start by completely reading this section of our website to more fully understand each of the steps. In our “Find a Agent” section of the website, you can find a Bear Agent that you feel comfortable with and contact them. Dig out the calculator; you will need every tool available. From initial planning to selecting the home that’s right for you, there are many resources that can help. Use them! Understand the process! It will make a difference in your buying experience. Remember though, your most valuable resource is your Bear Agent; they are there to explain and assist you throughout the entire transaction.
Choose a Bear Agent wisely. Smart home buyers only work with a buyer rep whom they hire specifically to represent them. State law governs the duties real estate licensees owe to consumers. Since a buyer representative represents the buyer, the agent owes the buyer very important duties, such as working in the buyer’s best interest.
In making the important decision of which agent to work with, you should consider:
- Their personality type – Is it compatible with yours?
- Will the agent work for you as a buyer’s agent or as a sub-agent of the seller?
- Designations the agent holds such as GRI, ABR or CRS
- Additional education and experience the agent has
Once you have found the right agent, you are ready to continue the process of locating the right place to live.
Make a game plan. . .
To make the entire process more manageable and less overwhelming, let’s begin by looking at those elements that you should review prior to looking at a home or entertaining an offer. These areas of action are:
- Becoming an educated buyer
- Assessing what you need, want and don’t want in a new home
- Fine-tuning your credit rating
- Exploring mortgage pre-qualification to determine what you can afford (contact one of our Bear agents to assist you in finding a lending institution)
Assessing your credit, wants, needs & finances
Even if you’re sure you have excellent credit, it’s wise to double-check in the beginning. Order a copy of your credit history report or have your lender get a copy for you. Many lenders will do this for free as part of a pre-qualification process. If problems or errors pop up, there are many resources that can help you straighten out disputed items. You should also begin assessing your finances to see exactly how much house you can afford by meeting with a loan officer at a bank or mortgage company. Once finished, you will be better prepared to locate an affordable home that is right for you.
Making sure you end up with the right home also involves figuring out exactly what you need, want and don’t want. At this point, it might be helpful to list on paper the things you want in a home and the things you need in a home. The difference between the two is that your wants are features in a home that would be nice; however, if a particular home didn’t have it, you might still buy it anyway. A need is something you must have in a home or you absolutely will not buy it. An example here is if you have children and absolutely need to have a three-bedroom home. An example of a want in this situation might be to have a fourth bedroom. While it would be nice to have, it is really not an absolute necessity (i.e. need) and therefore you could do without it.
Many buyers initially think that all of their “wants” are “needs” and will not settle for anything less than a home that satisfies all their wants. As they look at more and more homes, they realize that they will never find a home that satisfies all their wants but find many that satisfy their needs. While a list of wants may be in the dozens of items, your list of needs should be much smaller, less than a half dozen. Before starting your search, you need to discuss these items with your Bear Agent so they can assist you in narrowing down the many potential properties that are available that will fill your needs. Sorting out the wants from the needs before looking at the first home will bring you that much closer to your end goal, buying a home.