3 Tips for Home Buyers

1. Get Pre-Qualified for a Loan

House shopping can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a big disappointment if you fall in love with a house only to realize you can’t afford it.  Avoid this scenario by getting pre-qualified for a mortgage.  Find a mortgage person you trust and have them run your numbers.  It’s much better to know up-front what you can afford, rather than wasting time and energy looking at a house that you will definitely NOT be buying. 

2. Find a Good Real Estate Agent to Represent You (Buyer’s Agent)

In Connecticut, the real estate buyer has a few options in regard to representation.  You can represent yourself (which many buyers do when they first start looking, but then quickly realize a Realtor can help them). You can have the Selling Agent represent you and the Seller (if both parties agree, this is known as Dual Agency). Or you can enlist the help of a real estate agent to represent solely your interests.  This last scenario is called Buyer Agency, and must be agreed to in writing before you and the agent go out house shopping.  In my opinion, all buyers should have a real estate agent representing them.  The agent works solely on your behalf, and it doesn’t cost you a dime!  Your agent is paid by the Sellers/Selling Agent at the Closing, unless you agree otherwise (in writing of course).  If you are shopping for a house there really is no reason why you should not have a real estate agent working for you.  They can help you every step of the way.   There are many rules and guidelines covering buyer agency detailed online at : http://www.ct.gov/dcp/lib/dcp/pdf/realestate_licensing_forms/policy.pdf

3. Never Buy a House in the Dark

Around my mid-twenties I was living in Vermont, strapped for cash, and desperate for a car.  My boyfriend (now husband) and I went to look at a used Subaru wagon at a guy’s house in the town we lived in.  The Suby sounded great from the newspaper ad’s description (translation: cheap) and we were both excited to see what we hoped would be my soon-to-be new car.  When we went to check out the vehicle it was late in the day, and getting dark fast.  We took the wagon for a quick spin around the neighborhood and decided that this Subaru was definitely my next car.   We paid the seller the few hundred dollars he was asking and I hopped back in and drove the car home.  Needless to say it wasn’t the smartest decision I ever made.  When I saw the car in full daylight, I realized it was in much worse shape than I thought.  The big rust spots on the outside of the door went all the way thru to the inside. Not good.  Especially not good in a Vermont winter!  My husband still says the best thing we ever got out of that car was the screwdriver that the previous owner left in it. 

A good rule of thumb: never buy a car or a house in the dark.

Follow these three tips and you are on your way to being one happy home buyer!

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