When Buying a New Home, It Pays to Play by The Rules

When Buying a New Home, It Pays to Play by The Rules

Life is full of guidelines, although some activities require more regulations than others do. For example, the official rulebook of the National Football League is over 100 pages long. The certified version of the Affordable Care Act has more than 900 pages. In contrast, buying real estate appears pretty simple; just avoid breaking these four essential home purchase rules.

1. Use a real estate agent.

Your residence may be the single biggest purchase you’ll ever make; don’t you want an experienced professional by your side? Sure, you can learn a lot about the process online, but according to the National Association of Realtors, 88 percent of homebuyers still choose to use a real estate agent or broker. There are many reasons to do so. For one, their services are generally free because the seller’s agent splits his or her commission with them. Also, a buyer’s agent can access historical price data for the area; without one, you’re definitely in danger of paying too much for the property.

 2. Get a mortgage pre-approval before you make an offer. 

Securing a mortgage pre-approval requires having a lender vet your credit and financials. If everything checks out, you receive a document from that states you currently qualify for a particular loan amount under the lender’s guidelines. Most pre-approvals are good for 60 to 90 days, and many real estate agents advise their clients to reject offers without one.

3. Make an earnest deposit with your offer.

It’s traditional for buyers to make a deposit—known as earnest money—when they put an offer on a home. While the amount may vary due to location or market conditions, 1 to 2 percent of the purchase price is fairly typical. Your buyer’s agent can help you determine the right amount for your particular situation. In combination with a pre-approval letter, an earnest deposit will show the seller that you’re serious about buying the home. This can be invaluable if you find yourself competing with other interested parties. Of course, you should include contingencies in your offer that will enable you to retrieve your deposit should the deal fail to go through.

4. Make your offer personal.

Yes, buyers want to sell their homes for the asking price—or even more. However, many also want to know that their property is going to a good family. They lived in—and loved—the home for years, and they naturally have a personal attachment to it. You can use this to your advantage in a competitive real estate environment. In addition to a pre-approval document and earnest money deposit, submit a handwritten letter with your offer. Talk about your family, how much they love the property, and your dreams of living there. If you can evoke the seller’s emotions and forge a personal bond, you will enhance the chances they will select your offer.

Are you ready to buy your next home? Contact your mortgage professional and real estate agent today to initiate the pre-approval process and begin the search for your perfect property.

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