How to Buy a House in 2017
Buying a home isn’t like buying a new car or a tablet. It may seem like all the information you need is available online or through real estate apps. But there’s more to a home purchase than simply comparing two products. It’s a huge investment of money and time, a personal and emotional process, and a transaction you’ll probably only make a few times in your life. Here’s how to buy a house in 2017, and beyond.
Dream, discover, explore online
Viewing photos and reading listing descriptions online gives you a chance to imagine all the things you’d want in a house. You can get an idea what’s on the market, what pricing looks like in different towns, and how long homes typically take to sell—without having to commit to a real estate agent. It’s like the freedom of going into a store to look around without being bothered by the salesperson.
Check things out in person
Your research will inevitably lead you to an excellent house, a great deal, or both. You’ll be motivated to attend the open house or contact the listing agent to ask questions.
Actually stepping inside a house takes the search to the next level, but the first home you see probably isn’t the one you’ll buy. Most buyers see a dozen homes before they even make an offer. It’s part of the process.
Find a great local agent
Clicking that “Contact Agent” button or showing up at an open house might lead you to the next step of the process: meeting a great real estate agent .
Buyers don’t pay a fee to work with an agent, and they rarely need to formally a formal contract with an agent. Smart agents work for free until someone buys a house, all the while serving as an invaluable resource.
If your search is heating up before you connect with a great agent, start looking at agent reviews online or ask friends or family for a referral. Ask plenty of questions as you get to know a prospective agent.
Go with your gut
Sometimes your reaction to what you see online won’t jibe with what you feel when you tour a home. Be open to letting your feelings and emotions spill out. You might feel remorse later if you don’t listen to your instincts.
Case in point: First-time buyers in Bedford, NY fell in love with a home that has an amazing kitchen and views as far as the eye could see. The data online told them they should pay no more than 96 percent of the asking price, and they stuck to their guns.
The home sold at the asking price, and they kicked themselves months later when they were still looking for a home. In this case, the home was worth every last penny, and they missed out.
Learn the market
Before long, you’ll find yourself looking at listings online every day and on the open house circuit every week. At this stage, work closely with your agent to monitor new listings and see as many homes as you can. The more you see, the more you’ll learn about the market.
And so, when the right home comes along, you’ll know it. But it takes some time digging in and learning the market to build up the confidence to get to this place.