1. Inspect, Inspect and Inspect - Go over the inspection report with a fine toothcomb. Make sure the report was done by a professional organization. For condo purchases go over the CC&Rís, By-Laws, and Association Fees. Donít take anything for granted... inspect everything!
2. Imagine the Property Vacant - Your furnishings and decorations will be the ones filling this new residence. Donít be swayed by beautiful furniture; it leaves with the owner.
3. Income + Lifestyle = Mortgage Payment - Sit down with your professional real estate agent and honestly discuss your income level and living expenses. Take into account future considerations, children, add-ons, amenities, and fix-ups. Your dream home is certainly worth a sacrifice but donít mortgage your entire future.
4. View Several Homes - See at least 7-10 properties. Donít move too slowly but donít move on the first property you see. With your agentís help you should be able to view enough properties to get a good overall perspective of the home market. When you find the right property all the legwork will be worth it.
5. Utilize Your Team - By aligning yourself with the right real estate professional you will have an entire team at your disposal. Utilize your lender, title rep and agent. Each of them should work hand in hand for your benefit. Explore all the options before you sign.
6. Be Columbo - Check out all costs and expenses before you sign. Utilities, taxes, insurance, maintenance and homeowner dues if applicable. Make sure all utilities (gas, electricity, and water) are on during tour walk-through so you can inspect everything in working order. Ask lots of questions and be very detail conscious.
7. Do a Final Walk-Through - Visit the property after all furnishings have been moved out to be sure there are no surprises. Be absolutely positive the property was left exactly as you had agreed upon in the contract. Things that could have been spotted in a final walk-through are often unintentionally overlooked.
8. Plan For Flexibility - Closing dates are not written in stone. Allow for contingencies and have a back-up plan. If you or the sellers need a little more time to conclude the final arrangements, donít let these delays upset or frustrate you. These types of circumstances are not uncommon in a real estate transaction.
9. If Itís Not In Writing, It Doesnít Exist - All promises and discussions should be in writing. Donít make any assumptions or believe any assurances. Even the best intentions can be misinterpreted. Have your professional keep an ongoing log in writing of all discussions and get the sellerís written approval on all agreements.
10. Loyalty Breeds Loyalty - Be open, honest and up front with your team. Hard feelings and disloyalty will cause head aches, delays or may even keep you from getting into the home you worked so hard to locate. Take the time to select the right team in the beginning and your first home purchase will be a pleasing and memorable experience.