Brenda Kellen: I am nervous about buying a home, what can I expect during the process? |

Brenda Kellen: I am nervous about buying a home, what can I expect during the process?

1. Find a real estate agent that’s congenial and like-minded. Homebuying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the agent you chose is both skilled and a good fit with your personality.

2. 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 price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.

3. 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.

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect. Focus in on the things that are most important to you and let the minor ones go.

5. 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.

6. 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, and location. These aspects have a big impact on what it’s like to live in your new home.

7. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.

8. 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 not address some of the immediate repairs which may need to be done.

9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big commitment, but it also yields big benefits. It takes a couple months sometimes to feel good about your decision.

10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is as a comfortable, safe place to live.

Q. I am selling my home and have just received an offer, what terms are the most important?

1. The purchase price. Review your net sheet with your realtor to be sure the price offered meets the financial obligations necessary to sell.

2. The closing date. See if the date the buyer wants to take title is reasonable for you.

3. Date of possession. See if the date the buyer wants to move in is reasonable for you.

4. The earnest money. Look for the largest earnest money deposit possible; since it is forfeited if the buyer backs out after all due diligence has been completed, a large deposit is usually a good indication of a sincere buyer. Do not get too hung up on the amount, be sure to discuss with your realtor what the norm is for your particular real estate market.

5. Fixtures and personal property. Check the list of items that the buyer expects to remain with the property and be sure it’s acceptable. You must put in writing what exclusions will not be sold with the property.

6. Repairs. Determine what the requested repairs will cost and whether you’re willing to do the work or would rather lower the price by that amount.

7. Contingencies. See what other factors the buyer wants met before the contract is final-inspections, selling a home, obtaining a mortgage. Set time limits on contingencies so they can be dealt with sooner than later, offering confidence in the buyer’s ability to close on the property.

8. The contract expiration date. See how long you have to make a decision on the offer so you can respond accordingly.

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