Joint Base Fort Lewis-McChord Washington Area Real Estate

Phil Sharp Broker/Retired Army 360-970-9977

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10 Home Buying Tips

Home Buying Tips: Prevent Costly Mistakes.

Fort Lewis JBLM Home For SaleYou’ve changed your mind, but it’s too late now that you’ve bought your home. A little work upfront can save you from making costly mistakes. Each home buying experience is different, but here are a few things to get you thinking on the right track. Your agent can help you with details specific to your situation.

Tip #1: Get professional advice before signing any contract. Can you finance the home, is the property a good deal, does the contract fulfill your needs; these questions are best answered with the help of the professionals to ensure your happy with your purchase.

Tip#2 Get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan before you start looking to buy a home. Your lender will need you to answer questions like: Do you have a reliable source of income? What’s your credit history? Do have money for a down payment? There are several other questions and information that your lender will need to help you with pre-qualification, check out our Mortgage Dept. section for more specific information on this step.

Tip #3 Make a wish list before you start your home search. Prioritize your criteria for your ideal home, and be prepared to compromise. Look for homes that closely meet your criteria, but don’t have so much detail that you are eliminating every house on the market. Many times, less priority items on your list can be changed easily and inexpensively to make your home more suitable after you move in.

Tip #4 Search the MLS, get an idea of the area’s that are of interest to you. Get an idea of what properties are worth in the areas that interest you, checking recent sales statistics will help you find the values of homes in your area of interest.

Tip #5 Consider visiting open houses and ask a lot of questions. There’s more to a home than what is on the inside, compare houses, look at the neighborhoods, how is the access to community facilities (shopping, transportation, schools, etc.) and check-out potential neighbors, check for things outside of the home that will affect the value of the property as well as the inside.

Tip #6 Check to make sure the home is structurally sound; is anything unusual or seem out-of-place? Check the actual land or lot that it sits on for any potential problem areas, are boundaries and fences where they should be, are there any repairs that are apparent to you, is the roof sound, is the foundation sinking, is the home energy efficient? If there are unusual features to the house, consider those if you sell in the future, would those features appeal to potential buyers in the future?

Again, consult a professional on the structural conditions of the home and property. If you were not seeing any major problems and have got to the point of consideration for making an offer, a home appraiser can find any problems that you can’t see before committing to buy. Read more about the importance of a home inspector in this same section. Most people don’t have the money to take a lot of risk; the inspector will reduce the risk or prevent you from getting over your head with repairs in the future.

Tip #7 When looking for a home, consider the opportunities that will allow you to increase the value of the property, for example, adding storage, redecorating, landscaping, subdividing, adding rooms. Some upgrading can be fun and range in cost, but make sure the updates and opportunities for increased value are in your means to accomplish.

Tip #8 Be organized, take pictures and keep checklists or information about houses that interested you for future consideration. Gather as much home buying information as you can and don’t hesitate to take a second look at an attractive property. Remember, if it’s attractive to you it is likely to be attractive to many other buyers and you don’t want to miss out.

Tip #9 Insurance and Taxes: Don’t forget to check the property tax liability of interested homes; this will be a factor in your mortgage payment. Homeowners insurance is required at closing, so make arrangements ahead of time so that you’re prepared to close on-time. Your agent and lender can remind or help you with this type of information, but that is why it’s important to involve them early in your home buying process.

Tip #10 Get involved in the process! Understand the roles and duties in the home buying process, including your own. Your lender and agent are there to help you with your best interest in mind. When it comes time to make an offer, you and your agent will have a good idea of the details of the property you’re interested in and ensuring all parties, including the seller’s agents and people, are on track with your purchase.

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