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Tips for Buyers

Purchasing a home, particularly your first home, can be a stressful and intimidating process. Here are some tips to help make your experience a positive one:

1) Preparation is critical

The most important factor in a successful, positive home-buying experience is
preparation. If they haven’t already, we counsel our clients to consider the below tips,
reflect on their real estate objectives, prioritize a new home’s attributes, and optimize
finances.

2) Pay off debts and avoid large purchases

It’s a fact; most of us have to borrow money to purchase real estate. As a result, potential
lenders look closely at our financial health. While your credit score and history will of
course come into play, perhaps the most important metric lenders evaluate is your debt-
to-income ratio.

DTI represents your total monthly debt payments (housing costs, car payments, credit
cards, etc) divided by your gross monthly income. Ideally, before visiting lenders, you’ll
want to pay down as much debt as you can and avoid large purchases that will create new
obligations.

3) Shop for the lender that best fits your needs

Many buyers make two common mistakes when it comes to selecting a lender. First,
they think that borrowing money is simply about finding the lowest rate. While this is
often true, it’s also important to find lenders that can accurately assess your
creditworthiness, income, and obligations and meet your timing requirements.

Second, many buyers mistakenly think that the first interest rate or APR that a
prospective lender quotes them is their best offer. This is not always the case; we will
meet with you to evaluate your specific borrowing needs and help you find the best fit.

4) Get pre-approved by a lender

Although getting prequalified (showing how much you may be able to borrow) is helpful,
it’s much better to get preapproved. Unlike prequalification, preapproval means you
have a commitment from a lender for a specific loan amount. This shows a seller that
you have the resources to make a purchase and allows you to act quickly when you find
your new home. We can help you with this process.

5) Pay attention during open houses and/or inspections

The more you understand the current condition of a home, the better you will be able to
participate in negotiations, budget for maintenance and/or renovation costs, and project
its future value. Because of our background, we are ideally suited to help you with this.

6) Get additional opinions

Getting opinions from family and friends can be very useful, especially for a decision as
significant as buying a home. They may see things that you don’t, and since they know
you well, can help make sure you and your home are a great fit.

7) Understand what can and cannot be changed

There are features of a home that can be easily changed (appliances, water heater,
fixtures), and elements that cannot (most obviously location, but also weight-bearing
walls, neighborhood, and others). This is one of our core focuses as we work with you so
that you can make informed decisions and achieve your real estate objectives.

8) Don’t be afraid to ask questions!!