Preparing to Buy Your Next Home

If you’re in the market for a new home, or have already begun the purchase process, it’s good to take some time to prepare yourself for what lies ahead.  Knowing what steps are coming up next and keeping yourself organized will help minimize any stress and anxiety that buying a house can cause.  Here’s some pointers for getting yourself ready.

Stay Organized

Buying a home means lots of paperwork.  Don’t let it get the best of you.  Find a method of organizing these important papers as you go along, and stick with it.  You could choose a filing cabinet with a dedicated file drawer, a cardboard file box with hanging file folders, or a set of large manila envelopes that you keep in a drawer or on a shelf.
Divide your papers into categories such as:

  • Financing – This includes your pre-approval letter from the bank.  Make duplicate copies of all important papers.
  • Offer – Get a blank copy of the Real Estate Purchase Contract to familiarize yourself with it, and keep all offer papers in this file.
  • Agent Contract – keep your agent’s contract here and be familiar with its contents.
  • Home Insurance – Gather information about insurance firms and save it here.
  • Home Inspection – Research to find a good home inspector and keep paperwork together.
  • Closing Documents – When your transaction is in escrow, keep your closing documents here.  This will be a big file you’ll often refer to once you own your home.

It’s important to take notes during conversations your have with the professionals helping you, such as your agent, mortgage lender and insurance broker.  Include names, dates and phone numbers, and file them in the appropriate folders.

Keep Track of Homes Visited

You’ll likely see many homes while on your search, and you can easily forget the details of them.  Get a three-ring binder and start collecting information on each home, separated by tabs.  Keep homes in the same neighborhoods together.  In the front of the binder, keep information about your current home including room dimensions, so you’ll know how your furniture might fit into the places you’re visiting.  Also keep a copy of your wish list, so you can refer to it to see how each home stacks up.  Take photos of each property and include them in the binder.

Make a “Don’t Want” List

While it is important to define what you do want in a home, it is often just as important to know what you don’t want.  Identify potential deal-breakers and write them down, so that if you see them in any of the properties you are viewing, you’ll know right away that it isn’t the home for you.
If you spend just a little time getting yourself organized before you begin the process of buying a home, you will save yourself the headaches you might get down the road from the avalanche of information you have to process.  Pick an organizational method that works best for your lifestyle, and stick with it through the entire process.  At the end, you will be glad you did.

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