Buying a Home

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Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you and your spouse will make during your lifetime. The first step is to sit down together with a lender to discuss your financial situation and determine how much you can afford and what you will need to save for the down payment. If you want to figure this out by yourselves, you can estimate the cost by multiplying your annual income(s) by 2.5. The down payment is usually between 5 and 10 percent of that total. However, the bigger your down payment, the smaller the mortgage and your monthly payment will be. It is wise to visit your lender before you begin to look, so that you know your price range ahead of time.

After you’ve determined what you can afford, the next step is the search. Start your search by listing your preferences, such as location, size, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, etc. This will help narrow your selection. However, keep in mind that your first home may not fulfill your every wish. Also, if you plan to start a family within the next few years, look for a home with enough bedrooms or a home with room to expand.

After you have your ideal house in mind, you may start the search, either on your own, or with the help of a real estate agent, realtor, buyer’s agent. Both a real estate agent and a realtor are licensed, but a realtor also belongs to the National Association of Realtors. In most real estate transactions, even if the purchaser works closely with a realtor or real estate agent, the agent is actually putting the interests of the seller first. A buyer’s agent, however, works solely for the purchaser. They must put the buyer’s interests first, keeping his concerns in the forefront. If you do choose the representation of a buyer’s agent, you must execute a buyer’s agency contract. The seller pays the commissions of both the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent. These fees are simply built into the list price of the home.

Local professionals urge prospective clients to interview more than one person for the job. “Get a sense of how they work,” a local realtor advises. Obtain references, both from their clients and from among your own family and friends. “A good 92% of what I do is personal referral,” she notes. In addition, ask how long the agent has been in the business and whether he or she is full- or part-time. Ask to see the documents you are required to sign ahead of time and about his or her ethical philosophy. An expert reveals that Wisconsin is one of the best places to buy a home because real estate licensees have a high level of accountability here.

Alway take notes when looking at houses. After looking at many houses, it is easy to confuse them. Also, be sure to ask questions! The only dumb questions are those that have not been asked. Before buying any house, have it inspected by a professional who will check any details you may have overlooked.

If you are selling your home, make sure to hire an agent that possesses three things: honesty, integrity, and a strong marketing plan for your house. They will know the inner workings of selling your home, including contracts and identifying qualified buyers, and will also have access to a large pool of potential buyers. For the agent’s fee, you may get information about moving and financing, access to a listing on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and the added expertise of other realtors that work with your agent. There is also a certain amount of credibility once that real estate sign goes up in your yard, particularly with potential out-of-town purchasers.