With great opportunities abounding in the housing market and historically-low interest rates still intact, consumers can secure record-breaking values on a home purchase, according to New York-based real estate attorney Adam Leitman Bailey.
“Incredible deals are on the market and ready to be made, but only for those buyers who know how to seize them,” says Leitman Bailey, author of the New York Times best-selling book, “Finding The Uncommon Deal” (Jon Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2010). “You can buy your dream home at the price you want if you are just willing to take the necessary steps that will give you an uncommon advantage.”
To help buy a home at the best possible price, Bailey offers his top 5 home buying tips:
• Do a Credit Check—On Yourself: Check your credit report long before you start shopping for a home, as it may take several months to resolve any mistakes or complications. Challenge negative remarks in your credit report, even if they are debatably true. Under federal law, if the company placing the negative remark on your report does not respond within 30 days, the remark must be removed.
• Know Your Total Budget: Don’t Home Shop Without It: Your budget includes the total purchase price of your new home, moving costs and your total monthly and annual expenses. Don’t forget to include real estate and local taxes and the policies that affect potential changes in local taxes. Once you know your budget, call lenders to shop for a loan and also learn about the different products available to finance your home.
• Visit the Neighborhood, Not Just the Home: Everyone and everything in town can potentially provide insight into your prospective neighborhood’s character. It’s always worth spending time and money in local coffee shops and restaurants, and participating in events and entertainment to learn more about the area. Read the community newspapers and supermarket bulletin board postings to gain further understanding of the neighborhood. Be sure to consider factors such as local community crime rates, access to medical facilities, religious venues, and any other considerations that are applicable to your personal preferences.
• Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate: Ask the owners of your potential new home for the minimum price they would accept to close the deal. You may be pleasantly surprised by the answer and a deal may not be far off, especially if the property has been sitting on the market. Some items are easier to negotiate than others. If both sides are stuck on the purchase price, ask the seller to include furniture or cosmetic improvements at a certain price. For newly constructed condominiums, ask the seller to pay any taxes involved in the transfer.
• Hire—and Accompany—the Inspector: Ask for referrals from people who have experienced a satisfactory home inspection or who are intimately involved in the home-buying or -selling process. Cross out waivers and any limitation of liability when signing a contract with an inspector or engineer. Your inspector should be held responsible for missing any major repair items during the inspection. Also, be sure to accompany the inspector on the site visit. You will learn about your potential new home and its structure, as well as important information about the lifespan of its systems and major components. Also, make sure your inspector or engineer checks the big ticket items, which can include the boiler, the roof, and the elevators, if applicable.