The most important investment you will ever make is probably the purchase of your Pittsburgh home. Finding the right home for you can be a tedious process, but it doesn’t have to be with proper planning.
Know Your Wants And Needs
Before embarking on your house hunting journey, you must know what you want to find. Sit down with pen and paper and list all the features you care most about, such as:
– Location (in a particular city, school district, or neighborhood)
– Size — how many bedrooms and bathrooms
– Parking — a 1-car garage or 2?
– Style — 2-story house or ranch style home?
– Heating — central heating and air conditioning?
Equally important, list all the features you do not want in a house on a separate sheet of paper. For example:
– high-traffic area.
– high noise area (airport, train station, or highway nearby)
– maintenance — significant repairs needed
You can refer to your lists while looking at homes to keep yourself on track. It is not unusual for your lists to change over time as you do more looking. You’ll want to add or remove features, or perhaps you’ll become willing to make compromises.
Realize that you most likely will not find the “perfect” home. Experienced homebuyers will tell you that finding the perfect home is impossible, but making your home perfect for you can be done with some work.
Get Your Credit Report In Order
Before looking at properties, you must get your finances in order. This is the time to review your credit report and clean it up, if need be, to maximize your credit score. Many people do not realize how important it is to check your credit report periodically to ensure it is accurate.
You should pay off any past due amounts or negotiate a settlement price to close the debt. Get such agreements in writing before paying any settlement. Keep all receipts for any settled items since removing the debt from your credit report may take some time.
Research Your Home-Buying Options
Decide what kind of property you would most like to purchase. For example, do you want a fixer-upper, single-family, townhome, or condominium?
Research the different areas to determine where you would like to live. Evaluate school districts, local amenities, crime rates, and any other qualities you would like in your new neighborhood.
Get Pre-Approved For A Loan
You’re ready to find a lender and get yourself pre-approved for the loan. Being pre-approved offers several advantages. First, it will clarify the price range you can afford.
Once you find the home you want, you can place an immediate offer. If you have to wait for pre-approval, someone could buy the house from under you.
Several special programs are often available from lenders that may save you money on closing costs or downpayment. Ask the lender about any special programs before you decide on a loan.
Find A Good Real Estate Agent
It is wise for the first-time homebuyer to work closely with a real estate agent, no matter what type of property you’re looking for. A knowledgeable real estate agent will make your house-hunting much more effortless.
An excellent real estate agent is usually a good negotiator and will be able to help you with the paperwork involved in placing an offer on the house. The agent will also track your closing process to ensure all deadlines are met.
You should have a real estate agent working for you as the buyer, rather than relying on the seller’s agent for the house you want to buy. The seller’s agent is contractually obligated to work on behalf of the seller.
Find an agent you feel comfortable with and who is knowledgeable about your preferred neighborhoods.
These are just the basics of the home buying process. You will find many additional details as you move through the buying process. An experienced real estate agent can guide you through each step.