guy with a sold sign

  1. Find a real estate professional you can trust. Home-buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the practitioner you choose is both skilled and a good fit with your personality. Simpatico is important.
  1. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, any more than there’s a right time to sell. If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess the interest rates or the housing market by waiting. Changes don’t usually occur fast enough to make that much difference in the price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.
  1. Don’t ask for too many opinions. It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas will make it much harder to make a decision.
  1. Accept that no house is ever perfect. Focus in on the things that are most important to you and let the minor ones go.
  1. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price may lose you the home you love.
  1. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself – room size, kitchen – that you forget such issues as amenities, noise level, etc., that have a big impact on what it’s like to live in your new home.
  1. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate insurance availability, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make it much less attractive to sellers.
  1. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be some costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate. It is a myth that all homes appreciate.
  1. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big commitment, but it also yields big benefits. In an aggressive market you have to make a decision fast. When you do have to act quickly and in many cases you pay full price, buyer’s remorse is inevitable – at least at first. Remember that you can fall back on the appraiser’s ability to fairly value your new home purchase.
  1. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have generally appreciated an average of 2.5% to 5.4% annually, a home’s most important role is a comfortable, safe place to live.