Buying your first house can be scary because, admittedly, there are a lot of things that can go wrong! That’s one of the reasons that working with a real estate agent is such a good idea. An experienced agent can guide you through the complicated process of buying a home and help you navigate the potential pitfalls of becoming a new homeowner He or she can also zero in on your priorities and assist you in getting the most for your money. A real estate agent can help you stay on track, find the resources you need, meet closing deadlines, and locate homes that live up to your requirements. In choosing a buyers’ agent to assist you in matching your needs (and budget) to the available real estate inventory in your area, three important attributes to look for are experience, knowledge of the real estate market, and negotiating skill.
When it comes to negotiating, the vital truths that many first-time home buyers forget are that “everything’s negotiable” (or pretty close to everything) and that the asking price of a property is often not the lowest price a seller is willing to accept. A lot depends, of course, on market conditions and the demand for a particular property, but it pays to have a real estate professional in your corner when making offers. Good agents have a knack for identifying “bargaining chips” that can help you negotiate a lower price, gain concessions from the seller, and potentially save thousands of dollars now and over the term of your mortgage.
One of the biggest things first-time homeowners forget is that “there’s more to a house than meets the eye”. That insight can be viewed from both a positive and negative perspective.
- The negative side: Even though a real estate listing may look like the house of your dreams, there could easily be hidden problems like termite infestations, plumbing repair issues, structural problems, hidden mold growth, noisy neighbors, and so on. Except for the potential problem of noisy (or nosy) neighbors, a reputable real estate inspector can help you identify a wide range of structural flaws and other “red flags” before you sign on the dotted line.
- The positive side: One key thing that many home buyers don’t always consider is the future potential of a house or property. With a little imagination, budgeting, and planning, a less-than-perfect house can be developed into exactly what you and your family want and need. Kitchens can be updated, bathrooms can have new vanities and fixtures installed, porches can be screened in, and backyards can have fences built or hedges planted for improved privacy.
The secret to buying a home that you can grow into and “make your own” is to always look beyond surface appearances and think in terms of “How can we customize this house to make it exactly what we envision?”
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