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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on May 20, 2015

It has been a big part of the American Dream for so long, but these days, the American Dream has lots of negotiations and paperwork involved. Buying your first home can be an ordeal, especially since many first-time homebuyers have never explored the terrain of dealing in real estate. Here’s some tips on how to weather the seas of home purchasing.

  • Know what you want. Before even glancing at Zillow or starting your drive around your favorite neighborhoods, make a list of your “must-haves” in a home, such as proximity to work, schools, etc. and then move on to your “it’d be nice to haves” This will help you know what you’re looking for beforehand. While resale value is important, don’t worry too much about flipping, unless you really want to start a career as a real estate mogul.
  • Get financials in order. Next, you should check your credit score, taxes, 401(k)s and your monthly cash flow. After doing that, you should be able to tell how much you’re able to comfortably spend on your mortgage, utilities, maintenance, taxes and insurance. Also, if your credit score’s a bit of a mess, try to improve it beforehand. A bad credit score can affect your rates and even prevent you from getting a mortgage.
  • Get Preapproved. After you’re financially centered, get preapproved by a broker or lender. Doing so tells the sellers you’ll soon be dealing with that you’ve already lined up financing for the purchase.
  • Find a Realtor. Ask around. Talk to friends, neighbors and co-workers. Referrals can be the best way to select someone who has experience with the neighborhood and is a good negotiator. Also, be aware that the person you pick is going to be around a lot over the next several months. Make sure it’s someone you click with.
  • Have Cash at Hand. Once you’ve found a keeper, be aware that a down payment can be 10% of the final price, and you’ll need extra funds for closing costs. Also, be aware that appraisers will tend to under-appraise vs. over-appraise, and you definitely want to do an inspection. If you find something big, you can often get a credit from the seller.
  • Make the Offer. Make an offer and apply for a mortgage. If you’re in a strong bargaining position, (being preapproved helps here) you may be able to negotiate the listed price down, but if the perfect house comes on the market, you may want to offer the full list price (or more) to beat out other early offers. It’s also very helpful to find out why the house is being sold and whether the seller is under pressure. A divorce or an estate sale could make things easier for you, too.
  • Prepare for closing. So you’re about to get the keys, and this is the exciting part, but there’s a lot to prepare first. You’ll have to cover closing costs and down payments and get homeowner’s insurance.

Buying a home is a new chapter in your life, and it’s just the beginning. It’s important to know all of the steps involved and know your rights. If you have legal concerns, speak to an experienced real estate attorney today.