Home Buyer Tips
Find The Right Buyers Agent
Protect your interests by calling Sage Realty, a specialized buyers agent, before beginning your home search. We have your goals in mind and will act as your personal advocate to develop real estate strategies for you, the buyer. In fact, we’ll help you through each of the steps below!
Your credit score is a determining factor in whether you obtain financing and at what cost.
The three-digit score is commonly known as a FICO, or Fair Isaac & Co., score. Each of the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) have assigned you one. The higher the score, the lower your presumed risk of default. By law, you may obtain one free report annually from each bureau online. By accessing your credit information one agency at a time, you can get a free credit report three times a year.
The average U.S. credit score is 694. FICO credit scores can range from 300 to 850 and are based on the length of your credit history, the mix of credit you already have, and your number of recent credit applications.
Here are some ways to improve your credit score:
-Pay your bills on time. Your payment history, including late payments and foreclosures, can count for one-third of your credit score. Accounts more than 60 days past due will be indicated on your credit report.
-Check your credit report for errors. Removing errors is one of the easiest ways to improve a credit score.
-Reduce your balances. Try to keep your balances less than 80% of your credit limit to maximize your score benefit. Start with those credit cards that are closest to their limits.
-Keep older credit lines open. Having a long history of active accounts indicate to lenders that you are a good credit risk. Use your oldest cards regularly for small purchases and pay balances each month.
-Avoid new credit. Opening new credit will lower your average account age. Take on new credit only when you need it.
Make Use of Technology
There’s a lot of information out there to help you make a wise decision when buying a home. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find or easy to use. At Sage, we’re experts in today’s technology and will make sure you get all the information you need, including daily listings with addresses and photos, contract forms, floor plans, seller disclosure materials and community information.
Decide What You Want
Your home is much more than a collection of bedrooms, bathrooms and an outdoor deck. It’s where you relax, work, entertain friends and raise your family. Before you begin your search, take the time to evaluate what is most important to you in a home. By defining what you want and the right location, you won’t be tempted to purchase a house that feels right, but is lacking some essential element. See some popular home styles and decide what suits you, click here for examples from HGTV.com.
Talk to Lenders
Even in today’s market, there are many mortgage options available: you can get financing through mortgage bankers and brokers, mutual savings banks, commercial banks, credit unions, savings and loan associations and insurance companies. At Sage, we’ll help you evaluate the terms various lenders can give you to find a loan that is in your best interest. Most people make assumptions about the way lenders will look at them which are incorrect. For a guide on what to ask a potential lender check out our Choosing a Lender page.
Work Out Your Budget
Before you start looking, determine how much house you can afford. What monthly payments would you be comfortable with? Remember to factor in any down payment, taxes, association fees, home insurance, etc. By working the numbers ahead of time, you can buy with confidence. We can help you by looking up local taxes, typical utility costs, transportation expenses and other items you might not consider.
Pre-approval helps you in several ways: you will know exactly the price range you need to work within, you will be able to provide a letter indicating preliminary approval to demonstrate to sellers that you are financially strong enough to buy their home, and you won’t be rushed into making a less-than-perfect financing decision in order to close a deal.
Shop the Market
At Sage, we guarantee that we will show you all the houses that meet your criteria, regardless of the commission. We’re looking for the right home for you, so we’ll help you shop around to see everything that’s available, including homes that have low commissions or are “For Sale By Owner.” Many agents will not do this.
Analyze the Offer Price
You can’t assume that homes are priced correctly on the market. You do not want to be victimized by unknowingly offering too much for a home. Once you’ve shopped around, we’ll help you analyze comparable homes to determine the right offer price.
Negotiate Wisely and With Help
People buy perhaps 3 or 4 homes in a lifetime. Even buyers with negotiating skills should not go it alone. Your Sage Realty agent has negotiated in the residential real estate arena with many of the local selling agents and knows all the techniques you will need to get the best deal. We’ll be there for you every step of the way.
For a trouble-free buying experience,
Contact us or call today at 610.687.4000
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