Better House Hunting

BUYERS, BE PREPARED: Though it may be a lucrative decision to buy now, those looking to purchase a home should take the time to educate themselves on market trends and mortgages. Consulting realtors can help, too. Photo by Bethany Turner

BUYERS, BE PREPARED: Though it may be a lucrative decision to buy now, those looking to purchase a home should take the time to educate themselves on market trends and mortgages. Consulting realtors can help, too. Photo by Bethany Turner

The housing market is on the rise according to Money Magazine, which reported price increases are projected for most of the country this year. You can still snag a good deal while the market recovers—but don’t go into your home purchase unprepared; to do so can be both disastrous and expensive. Spend some time doing the proper research, and you can come out on top.

Do a little homework.
You are already on the right track by reading this. Keep it up by gathering information about recent home-sale prices, market trends, houses on the market and neighborhood statistics. Many of these details are available on the Internet. Trulia.com is a great resource.

Make a list.
Make a list of the features you need versus those you want in your family’s new home. Use a home-comparison chart to eliminate the frustration of forgetting why you liked or disliked a home. Once you’ve narrowed your selection, run a side-by-side comparison. A scorecard to compare homes is a great tool to use after you have looked at several houses.

Evaluate a real estate agent.
You can search for a house on your own, but there are many advantages to using a real estate agent. Find one that will work with you to find the perfect house. Consider interviewing at least two or three agents before making a decision on the right agent to represent you.

Get pre-qualified for a mortgage.
Rather than guessing or estimating how much you can afford to spend, ask for an assessment and a letter stating how much you’re qualified to borrow. By getting your financial house in order, you may save time, aggravation and heartache.

Relax
Maintain your perspective and your cool. You may find the house of your dreams on the first day or the 30th. Remember your goal is to find the right home for your family.

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