Homebuyers Checklist – How to Cover Your Bases Like a Pro

By: Don Hannig

Buying a new home can be an overwhelming endeavor, even if you’ve done it before. In tough economic climates such as we are experiencing today, home-buying can be a very good choice – or a financial nightmare. The best course of action lies in thorough preparation. Our Keswick Pointe’s Homebuyers 10-Bases Checklist will help guide you through the maze and into the light!

1. Do you have a lender on board?

You must identify your buying power before you begin the search process. Many owners will not take you seriously – or even show you their property – without a letter of pre-approval from a lender. Interview a couple of lenders, then pick one and stick with them. Find a lender that won’t just tell you the maximum amount of a mortgage you can get, but instead, identify one that understands that qualifying for a certain amount and being able to make the payments are two different things.

2. Have you specified search criteria?

Define your must haves, like to haves, and cannot haves. Do you need a garage? A particular school district? A basement? A large yard? How many bedrooms? The more details you can give a realtor, the easier it is for them to pinpoint properties that will not waste your valuable time. If you are not exactly set in your wants/needs, your agent can begin by showing you different homes with different features to help you get a better understanding of what you’d like in a home.

3. Do you love your real estate agent?

Having a great relationship with a personable agent is critical. Make sure you talk on the phone regularly. Your realtor can also be a great source of information for a first time home buyer. Experienced agents may be quite up to date on the skill and technique of top-notch builders in your area.

4. Have you come up with a rating system?

Making your own personalized scorecard, then taking it along while you view the house. It’s an excellent way to remember particular details later on, or when comparing properties.

5. Are you up to date on mortgage/real estate terminology?

Knowing what a realtor/lender is talking about without having to ask for an explanation every other sentence will only increase your credibility. Brush up before you begin.

6. Have you familiarized yourself with area property values?

This can be one of the most difficult aspects for new homebuyers. How do you really know whether a house is over-priced, right on the nose, or undervalued? A seasoned real estate agent can help you with this, but you may want to do some serious research before making any sort of offer. Unfortunately, there is no “suggested retail price manual” for a house. Therefore, it is impossible to give “standards” as to what is fair or normal. Every property stands on its own price and merits.

7. Have you arranged for a home inspection before closing?

Experience and reputation is also important here. Any offer to purchase you make should be contingent upon (subject to) a whole house inspection with a satisfactory report.

8. Have you looked into homeowners insurance and home warranties?

Since homeowners insurance is a long term expense, getting the best deal here can provide you some substantial savings over the long haul. Be sure to compare rates from several reputable complies.

9. Have you secured a closing agent or attorney?

In general, the closing will be attended by all of the buyers involved and their real estate agent, as well as the closing agent or attorney, who has reviewed all of the components of the house sale and who will organize all the necessary paperwork. The closing will put the title to the house in your name, verify homeowners’ insurance on the property, commit in writing to the terms of the mortgage, and usually, put the keys to the house in your hands.

10. Have you begun to make your moving plans?

If you plan to use a moving company, make comparisons and reserve time now. Moving is a huge, time-consuming undertaking – not to mention an extremely stressful one. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer – get all your strapping family members on board with the move!

And there you have it – a superb 10-step plan to a smooth home-buying process. Keep it with you, and refer to it whenever necessary. Organization is key to a successful buying endeavor. Happy home hunting!

 To find out more about the benefits of energy efficiency and green building please call Keswick Point, the region’s newest PRD, at 570-646-4646, email us at info@keswickpointe.com or visit our website at keswickpointe.com.


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