Getting Ready to Buy • Get a copy of your credit reports four to six months before you start home shopping. • Prequalify for a mortgage before you start looking at houses, so you’ll know what you can buy. • Choose a buyer’s agent to represent you in the purchase. • Never negotiate directly with the builder’s agent in a new house subdivision.
Internet www.eloan.com (Prequalify for a home loan www.hsh.com (mortgage calculator) www.iown.com (Prequalify for a home loan) www.smartmoney.com (Mortgage calculator)
Buying a New House • If you’re buying a house strictly for financial reasons, look at each house you’re considering as you would evaluate a purchase of stocks or bonds. • Don’t buy one of the first houses in a subdivision. The developer may go bust and be unable to complete the development. • Check out the reputation of the builder by talking with people who live in some of the builder’s houses.
Make any offer on a home contingent on its passing an inspection by an inspector of your choice. The purchase also should be contingent on your ability to get financing at or below a set interest rate. • Get an owner’s title insurance policy that covers you, not the lender, if your ownership is successfully challenged. • Hire a real estate attorney to review the closing papers and, if you’re buying a house still under construction, to draft or review the purchase contract.
Before you buy a house, try your commute to work during rush hour. • Learn about the area surrounding a potential purchase, including the potential for new roads or new development. • Look at a property while it’s raining to see how water flows across it. Look for signs of poor drainage and danger of flooding.
Buy a house that’s fundamentally sound, in construction and materials, even if it doesn’t have the latest , greatest design features.
Contact: American Society of Home Inspectors 800-743-2744 www.ashi.com www.smarthomebuy.com (Environmental hazards)