1. Get a home inspection to evaluate the safety and overall condition of your new home.
Don’t try to save money on this one. It might cost you much more if you don’t get your new house professionally inspected. The inspector will look closely at the house and make sure there are no major issues. You will get a report will everything that he found. Based on that report you can ask the seller to fix some of the issues.
Usually, your real estate agent will take care of that for you. The agent will set up an appointment for the inspection. Later on, you will have access to the report and after discussing it with your realtor you will be able to choose which items you want the seller to take care of.
I also highly recommend getting a survey!
2. Get pre-approved
Before you start house hunting, get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. There is nothing worse than seeing your dream home and not being able to put an offer on it. Also, it will give you a clear picture of how much you can spend on the new house and gives you the chance to set up on a search for a house that you can afford.
When putting an offer on your dream home make sure your agent sends the pre-approval letter to the seller showing the amount of money you are offering. Even if you are pre-approved for more, the seller doesn’t need to know that.
3. Direct all the communication with the seller through your real estate agent.
Your agent is a professional and knows how to handle negotiations. You don’t want to accidentally tell the seller any of your secrets. For example, if the seller founds out you are tight on time and need to move asap, he might decline the repair request.
4. Have everything in writing
In Real Estate if it’s in writing it doesn’t exist. Make sure you have all the essential parts of the agreement on writing. If the house conveys personal property, make sure it is in the contract. It’s also wise to be as specific as you can – add a model and serial number if you can. Sometimes ‘fridge’ might not be enough as you might be surprised by the outdated fridge swapped in a place of the stainless steel one.
If the seller agreed to pay for anything, home insurance or maybe a part of the closing cost, make sure you have it written and signed.
5. Make a wish list
Come up with a realistic wish list – what you can afford in terms of house size, neighborhood, amenities.
To make it easier you can divide your list into two sections: must-have and nice to have.
Go online and search for houses in your price range and see how big they are, if there is anything in your desired location, etc. Based on that adjust your expectations.
The most important tip is to WORK WITH A REAL ESTATE AGENT!
It doesn’t cost you anything. The seller is responsible for the selling cost and paying his realtor, which shares his commission with your agent.
Even if you are buying a new construction home it is wise to work with an agent that doesn’t work for the builder. You want to work with someone who is exclusive to you and makes sure you are getting the best deal possible.