How to Avoid Paying Too Much
Buying a home can be a daunting process. Mistakes can be costly, both emotionally and financially. Use these money-saving strategies in conjunction with the advice of your seasoned Irvine real estate agent to be a savvy buyer.
1. Establish your home priorities before you start looking.
There are homes that meet your needs. There are homes that meet your dreams. Rarely will you find a home that fulfills your needs and dreams. That means making tough choices. Is a big kitchen more important than an extra bedroom? Do you prioritize a big back yard for entertaining over a small easy-care yard?
Make a list! Divide it into two categories – “Needs” and “Desires.” Then prioritize the list. Developing a clear understanding of what you need as opposed to what you would like will help keep your priorities in focus as you look for a new home. Otherwise, you may fall in love with a house that fulfills some dreams but fails to meet your needs.
There are a couple of important benefits to loan pre-approval. First, it lets sellers know you are a legitimate potential buyer. Second, it gives you a clear picture of your price range. It’s no fun to fall in love with a house only to learn you can’t afford it. And remember, get the pre-approval in writing.
3. Pick an experienced agent – and communicate with them!
A good real estate agent brings experience and knowledge to the table. They have built a network of trustworthy professionals to work on your behalf. After you have prioritized your needs and desires and established how much you can afford, communicate your situation to your agent. This guarantees that you and your realtor are focusing your efforts on the same goals. Your agent will be able to create a list of homes to show you that actually meet your criteria, saving you valuable time and energy.
4. Location, Location, Location.
It may be cliché, but location is the number one factor in resale value. The value of your potential investment is seriously affected by the community in which it lays. Things to consider:
• Quality of schools
• Access to employment
• Recreational facilities
• Care evident in surrounding homes and yards
5. Don’t ignore red flags.
Shop according to your priorities list. Recognize the difference between acceptable and unacceptable condition issues. For example, worn carpeting and peeling paint are not deal breakers. In fact, you may be able to use these issues to your advantage in negotiations. On the other hand, water damage, an antiquated electrical system, or a crack in the foundation are major issues that should not be ignored. Using your priorities list will help keep you focused and prevent emotional decisions that can end up costing you a lot more than you ever anticipated.
6. Use a professional home inspector.
The few hundred dollars it costs to hire a professional home inspector may be the best investment in your home you will ever make. A professional inspector uses their knowledge and experience to provide an objective evaluation of your potential home. Accompany your inspector as he or she tours the property. You will learn a lot about your potential home.
Home inspections evaluate:
• Electrical, heating and plumbing systems
• Floors, wall and ceilings
• Siding and trim
• Property Drainage
The written inspection report is another valuable tool to evaluate the property against your priorities list. It is also an important factor in the negotiation process.
7. Learn everything possible about the seller’s situation. And keep your mouth shut about your situation.
Knowledge is power. Knowing why the house is being sold will provide you with a competitive advantage. For example, a seller who is moving out-of-state for a job is more motivated to sell than someone who is looking for a larger home in the same area. On the other hand, if a seller knows how much you are willing to spend, you will have difficulty negotiating lower. Your agent needs to know your information. The seller does not.
8. Keep your emotions out of negotiations
One of the most costly mistakes buyers make is to let a seller know how much they love the house. Once it is obvious that you really like it, forget about negotiating on price. They know you are emotionally invested. No matter how much you want a property, keep it between you and your agent.
Two last thoughts:
9. Get everything in writing!
10. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. And don’t be pressured into a deal that doesn’t feel right.
Be sure to contact me anytime to begin your search of houses in Irvine or any Orange County homes and real estate.