Top 3 tips for homebuyers in the new year

buyer's agent vs. listing agent

At the beginning of each year a new set of buyers decides to put their hat into the ring and consider a real estate purchase.  It happens as a result of a new years resolution, advice from parents around the holiday table or even word of a promotion or a year end bonus. Whatever the reason, if you are considering getting into the market, you need to now how to approach it.  Now is a good time to think carefully about your goals and plans.

Here are three tips to help homebuyers hit the ground running in the new year.

1. Look for hidden home values. If you’ve got the stomach for it, consider buying a home that needs some work. You can no longer just sit back and expect a home’s value to increase with the market. You have to add value. Be open to doing a kitchen or bath remodel, landscaping the yard or adding a deck or home office. Find that great balance between creating something you’ll enjoy and being assured the work you do will add to the home’s value. Remodeling magazine’s Web site offers a helpful annual report on the relationship between remodeling costs and resale value.

2. Consider the old adage: Location Location Location.

Consider this old adage because it’s back to basics here. Location really does matter. The best locations will hold their value over time. Don’t buy on a busy street, in front of a school or on a bus stop. Look in solid, more established neighborhoods, with good commercial areas. Stick to the good school districts and to areas with great access to both public transportation and the freeway.

3. Get a 30-year fixed loan. In the big picture, interest rates are still at record lows.  Don’t forget, in the 1980’s, rates were north of 15%.  If you are in it for the long haul, take advantage of low rates and lock in a 30 year fixed rate mortgage.

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