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    Home Buying Guide


    Buying a home can be an exciting—but very stressful—process. There are so many things that you must
    keep in mind throughout. That’s why Rachel Lee and her team put together this multi-point Buyer’s
    Guide for prospective new homeowners like you.
    Hire an agent—especially if you’re moving to a new area
    Let’s be clear. You don’t have to hire an agent. However, hiring an agent can save you a lot of time,
    money, and a great deal of extra stress. Why?
     An agent that is familiar with your prospective area can directly send you listings that fit your
     Moreover, agents can spot overpriced listings based upon their research and knowledge of that
    area’s market and provide you with the right advice.
     Agents may have knowledge of new listings that have not hit the market just yet.
     Agents may be able to preview homes for you.
     Agents can provide valuable advice during the bidding/negotiation process.
    Get pre-approved for your home loan first—it makes the process much, much
    When you’re pre-approved for a mortgage, it means that the lender has looked at your financial
    information and credit history and has decided to extend you a loan based upon what you can afford.
    With a pre-approval, you know what you are (and what you are not) able to buy.
    It should be noted that there’s a difference between being pre-approved and being pre-qualified. Being
    pre-qualified means that, without taking a hard look at your credit and other financial information, the
    bank feels that you are a candidate for a mortgage.
    We stress to our clients that it is always best to get pre-approved first, so that time can be saved. The
    southeastern Houston area is a hot market, and you don’t want to spend time looking at houses the
    lender will not approve you for.
    Be smart with your money: avoid big purchases
    Getting approved for a mortgage is a complex and intense process. Lenders want to see that your
    finances are stable, and you can be relied upon to pay your mortgage. As such, it is recommended that
    once you decide that you are going to start the process of buying a new home, you avoid making
    substantial purchases for 3 to 6 months before buying your home. You do not want to risk anything that
    could (negatively) affect your credit profile.
    Act decisively: don’t wait for a “perfect time”
    The home market is very, very cyclical. There is no such thing, whatsoever, about a perfect time to buy a
    home. This is regardless of the market conditions. The one thing that is constant about real estate is
    Therefore, if you can afford a new home, and you have found the right home for you and your
    family—hop on it.
    Buying a house is a commitment—don’t be rash!
    Never let emotion drive a buying decision. REPEAT: never let emotion drive a buying decision. Keep in
    mind, you are going to make a purchase with a home loan that will range anywhere from 15 to 30 years.

    That is a very, very long time. As such, it is important that you make your buying decision based upon
    what kind of value that you’re getting out of your new home.
    In addition, you need to be aware of the potential sleeper costs of your new home. This includes:
     Utility connection fees
     Cable and phone installation
     Homeowners Association fees
     Repairs
     Property taxes
    …all of which go above and beyond your mortgage payment.
    Some buyer’s guides call this part of the process “avoiding” sleeper costs. Avoiding is the wrong word;
    these costs technically can’t be avoided. The right word is “aware”. You need to be aware and prepared,
    so make sure you budget for these costs.
    It comes down to making the smart decision on your home purchase. Don’t just consider your financial
    position today; think about the years ahead. Also, make sure you have found out everything you would
    need to know about the home and the neighborhood. The bottom line: you do not want to make a
    decision that you will end up regretting later.
    Don’t find the perfect house—find the right house
    In life, there’s no such thing as perfect. That couldn’t be anymore true in real estate. If you feel that you
    must find the “perfect” house, you’re risking missing out on the house that is available:
     …in the right neighborhood
     …in the right part of town
     …at the right price
     …at the right mortgage payment
     …with the right down payment
     …with the right in-home and community amenities
    Seeking the “perfect” house is an emotional decision—the type of decision we just told you to avoid.
    Finding the right house, however, is a more thoughtful, careful, and deliberate decision. You want to
    find a house that fits your budget, your mortgage approval, and you and your family’s wants and needs.
    Also, you want to make sure you are getting the right home at the right value.
    Home inspections are critical
    Before you make the final buying decision, make sure you have a home inspection completed. A home
    inspection will provide you with information to help you make the right decision as to whether you
    should or should not buy. Often, home inspection reports are used as effective tools during the
    negotiation process.
    Location, location, location
    Make sure the right home is in the right location! In fact, check out your neighborhood, test drive your
    commute, learn about surrounding amenities, and research the school district! Location matters—big
    time, not only for your personal comfort, but for the value of the home as well.

    Buying a new home can be difficult, however, it is an exciting process. If you are in the market for a new
    home, contact Rachel Lee and her team today!