Home buying for some people represents the biggest investment they would ever made. Here is something to consider as you plan ahead for 2007... especially, if you've been thinking about buying a home for awhile.
/1/ Find a real estate professional who's simpatico.
Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It's critical that the practitioner you choose is both skilled and a good fit with your personality.
/2/ Remember, there's no "right" time to buy, any more than there's a right time to sell.
If you find a home now, don't try to second-guess the interest rates or the housing market by waiting. Changes don't usually occur fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won't stay on the market long.
/3/ Don't ask for too many opinions.
It's natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas will make it much harder to make a decision.
/4/ Accept that no house is ever perfect.
Focus in on the things that are most important to you and let the minor ones go.
/5/ Don't try to be a killer negotiator.
Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to "win" by getting an extra-low price may lose you the home you love.
/6/ Remember your home doesn't exist in a vacuum.
Don't get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself -- room size, kitchen -- that you forget such issues as amenities, noise level, etc., that have a big impact on what it's like to live in your new home.
/7/ Don't wait until you've found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate insurance availability, and consider a schedule for moving.
Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your big much less attractive to sellers.
/8/ Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-homebuying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be some costs. Don't leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.
/9/ Accept that a little buyer's remorse is inevitable and will probably pass.
Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big commitment, but it also yields big benefits.
/10/ Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation.
While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4% annually from 1998 to 2002, a home's most important role is as a comfortable, sage place to live.
I agree with some of the things here, especially on the importance to have extra money after you move in to your new home. There are few times when things that were in good conditions before going to settlement -- suddenly falls apart after you moved in. The take home message is: Don't leave yourself broke to the pennies! You want to have a little bit of safety net.
If you're ready to make the jump, you can start here.