Buyer Advice: Start With This Checklist

Buying a Home in Philadelphia?  Let This Checklist Help Jumpstart the Process7094583_xxl

We’ve been around the (metaphorical) home buying block quite a few times.  This checklist is a great starting point if you are feeling overwhelmed & unsure where to start.

1. Hire an Agent

Your real estate agent is not just there to show you properties.  A good agent knows Philadelphia, knows the different neighborhoods & will be able to educate you on the whole process from start to finish.  They will also be able to put you in touch with people that will help you out along the way such as a home inspector, a mortgage lender, an insurance rep & a title company.  Find someone you trust & like to help you with the leg work.  You will not regret it.

2. Get Pre Approved

A good lender is worth his or her weight in gold.  Financing is the largest component to the home buying process. It is worth your while to go with someone who has a proven track record of doing the proper due diligence up front & getting the job done on time.  Before you even look at properties you will have a rough idea of how much you will need to put down, an estimate of what the closing costs will be & a general idea of the monthly payment.  You can’t get final numbers until you have a final price but having a general idea is very helpful.  A pre approval is also the best ways to guide your home buying search.  At the end of the day a purchase of this magnitude must make financial sense.

3.  Understand the Paperwork

Have your agent provide you with a copy of a Standard Agreement of Sale (AOS) & any other ancillary documents required for a purchase.  If you want to have someone look it over for you, do it!   Then go to your agent to answer any questions you have.  The AOS is a long document & it is worth the time it takes to go over it in advance.

4. Start the Search

This is where the fun begins!  Now that you know what you can afford you can actually go see homes with the possibility that this could BE YOUR NEW HOME!  Isn’t that so exciting?  You aren’t just scrolling through listings on Zillow or Trulia;  you are going to see homes that have been cherry picked for you based on your wants, needs & affordability.  Make sure to keep a running list of what you liked & didn’t like so the homes don’t start to blur together in your memory.  Share things you love & hate with your agent so they can keep their eye out for these qualities.  If you aren’t finding homes you like you may want to broaden your search.

5. Narrow It Down

At this point you may have found two or three homes you like.  This is when you want to request a second showing & really look through the home(s) with a fine tooth comb.  If you find one you like & you want to go for it don’t hesitate.  Inventory in Philadelphia is low…if you like it…someone else probably does too.  Competition is only good for the seller.

6. Review Comparable Sales

Once you decide to put an offer in you should review comparable sales in the neighborhood to get an idea of value.

7. Put In Your Offer & Start Negotiations

If you are familiar with the paperwork it is much easier to get the documentation together.  Once everything is over to the seller you can begin negotiations.  Hopefully these go smoothly & you are on your way to being a homeowner.  Remember that in negotiating both parties must feel like they win.

Next week we’ll go over what to expect once you have a home under contract.

If you have any questions or would like to start a search of your own please reach out to us!

Suggested Reading:

6 Ways To Help Your Agent Find Your Dream Home

Why Buying a Condo Can Be Tricky

5 Tips for First Time Home Buyers

12 Do’s & Don’ts When Getting a Mortgage

Rent Vs. Buy