Buying a Home in 2014

Is 2014 the year you’re buying a home?

Here are a few things you need to know to get your home buying process started!

With the end of 2013 firmly in our sites, now is the time to start thinking about what you need to have…and what you need to know to be a homeowner in 2014! Below is a quick 10 point checklist of must-do’s to insure your home buying process is smooth and without too much drama!

1. Get completely Pre-Approved before you even start looking at houses.

Very few home sellers will entertain an offer without a pre-approval letter from a Lender. Making application before you get too far in the home searching process allows you to understand all the financial implication of homeownership as well as get a firm grasp on what you can afford. Walking through the entire process with your Lender will give you a very clear picture of what you can and can’t afford.

2. Make a thorough list of must haves.

Having a list to go off of allows you to save precious time avoiding homes that simply will not work for you. Have a clear 1, 3 and even 5 year plan on what your home will have to be to accommodate a growing family or possible home office or business. Also add a few must haves that can be downgraded to a “wish list” item so you aren’t eliminating that ideal home.

3. Have a candid conversation with your REALTOR® about the offer and buying process.

We all know the best way to really go into the home buying process is to become as informed as possible about this whole thing works. When hiring a professional real estate broker to handle your greatest financial decision, be diligent in making sure your Broker is willing to show you the step-by-step process of everything! From how to structure your offer to how to negotiate the inspection response…there should be nothing left to chance!

4. Be aware of what kind of market your in.

Going into the late Winter/Early Spring, most homeowners have the luxury of asking for and getting their price! Traditionally, the first part of the year, home sales peak which simply means you may have less inventory to choose from and more competition for that house you want. Making an offer or looking for a deal that is well suited for your needs but not the sellers may not get you too far!

5. Interview perspective vendors such as inspectors, roofers and electricians.

Always a great plan to have a full list of professional, licensed and bonded vendors that you can call on to take a look at the house during your inspection contingency! Your home inspector is your first line of defense but not always your go to person for special issues such as roofs, exterior questions, windows or even plumbing and electrical items. Your inspection contingency period allows you to take a hard look at the inner workings of your perspective new home…have the right people ready to help you before you even get started!

6. Always plan for the unplanned.

In keeping with item 5, it’s also a good idea to ask friends, family and co-workers what their home buying process was like. You’ll almost always run into a story that you would not imagine! Being forewarned makes you forearmed!

7. Have your Lender explain every part of the loan process and what you will owe.

One of the main “I wish I knew that” moments I run into is the home buyers not knowing all the fees and costs associated with buying and closing on a home. This is not an area you want to ‘Wing it”! You certainly do not want to be surprised at the closing table…ASK, ASK and ASK again for an itemized list of costs and fees!

8. Ask a lot of questions about things other than the house.

Sure the house is what you want, but is the neighborhood right? Are there good schools nearby? What about any future projects that may impact the quiet enjoyment of your new house? Of course some other questions that you may have can be about bad people that live in the area or subsidized housing…know before you owe!

9. Understand the Escrow and Title process.

This may be the most overlooked part of the home buying process. Most folks rely on their agents and broker to simply pick whoever. Take a few minutes to call on a couple of reputable Escrow and Title companies and see what kind of services they offer. Are they mobile and can they sign you at your work or home? Do they have some hidden fees or even discounts on their fees that you need to be aware of? What kind of Title insurance is best for your particular situation?

10. Finally, know there is no such thing as a perfect house.

Every house has something that will likely not make your must have list! Being somewhat flexible and not getting “Paralysis through Analysis” will enable you to take a more pragmatic approach to the whole process. Don’t focus on easy fixes like the color of the house or lack of landscaping. These are items that you may very well want to make your own anyway so don’t let those small items bog you down. Structural issues are one thing…aesthetics are quite another!

I hope you take my list to heart when you begin your home buying process and remember, finding a qualified real estate broker is your best first step to insuring this whole thing goes as seamlessly as possible! Feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions or comments about the home buying process!

SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate