How to Save Thousands of Dollars When You Buy a Home

English: Photographed near Surrey Road by Dani...
English: Photographed near Surrey Road by Daniel Case 2006-10-29 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you're like most home buyers, you have two primary considerations in mind when you start looking for a home. First, you want to find a home that perfectly meets your needs and desires, and secondly, you want to purchase this home for the lowest possible price.

When you analyze those successful home buyers who have been able to purchase the home they want for thousands of dollars below a seller's asking price, some common denominators emerge. Although your agent's negotiating skills are important, there are three additional key factors that must come into play long before you ever submit an offer.

These 3 Steps Will Help You Save THOUSANDS When You Buy a Home

Make sure you know what you want....
As simple as this sounds, many home-buyers don't have a firm idea in their heads before they go out searching for a home. In fact, when you go shopping for a place to live, there are actually two homes competing for your attention: the one that meets your needs and the one that fulfills your desires. Obviously, your goal is to find one home that does both. But in the real world, this situation doesn't always occur.

When you're looking at homes, you'll find that you fall in love with one or another for entirely different reasons. Is it better to buy the 4 bedroom home with room for your family to grow, or the one with the big eat-in kitchen that romances you with thoughts of big weekend family brunches? What's more important: a big backyard or proximity to your child's school? Far too often people buy a home for the wrong reasons and then regret their decision when the home doesn't meet their needs. 

Don't shop with stars in your eyes: satisfy your needs first. If you're lucky, you'll find a home that does this and also fulfills your desires. The important thing is to understand the difference before you get caught up in the excitement of looking.

Find out if your agent offers a "Buyer Profile System" or "House hunting Service," which takes the guesswork out of finding just the right home that matches your needs. This type of program will cross-match your criteria with ALL available homes on the market and supply you with printed information on an on-going basis. A program like this helps home buyers take off their rose-colored glasses and affordably move into the home of their dreams. The local MLS (MLS-PIN) allows agents/brokers to enter a profile for their clients and set up searches for properties that match criteria you specify. They can be VERY specific over what you can commonly access through 3rd party real estate sites. Your agent/broker can for example search for homes within a certain proximity of a landmark, has a yard size of over x sq./ft or under y sq./ft., homes with garages or without, numbers of baths, fireplaces individually or in combinations to make sure you see the most refined list each time you log in and also in a daily email of interesting properties. This is especially important when you have very specific needs or wants.

To help you develop your home buying strategy, use the following guide questions:

What do I (We) absolutely NEED in my (our) next home:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

What would I (We) absolutely LOVE in my (our) next home:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

This is an important exercise especially if you are not alone in making the purchase. In a perfect world spouses might agree and know absolutely everything about each other but time and time again this simple exercise has been very interesting when each spouse makes their own NEED/LOVE list and can then review  together and discuss the differences. It certainly helps when you're both working from the same plans. It can also be a fun exercise to share with children of an appropriate age in making them feel included in the family decisions even to a small degree.


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