Prequalify for a loan
Being prequalified for a loan determines how
much house you can afford. It also allows you to move more
swiftly when you find the right house, especially when you
aren't the only interested buyer.
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Shop for mortgage rates
A difference of even half a percentage point
can make a huge difference in how much you pay over the life
of a loan. For example, the difference in the monthly payment
on a $100,000 mortgage at 8 percent vs. 7.5 percent is about
$35 per month. Over 30 years, that's $12,600.
Using a buyer agent
A buyer agent is legally responsible for representing
the buyer's interest in a real estate transaction. Generally,
the buyer agent is compensated by the seller at the time you
purchase a new home. There are some limitations to using a
buyer agent, however. Before you decide, have a Realtor explain
the advantages and disadvantages of using a buyer agent.
Features that help
or hurt resale value
In some areas, a swimming pool actually detracts
from a home's value and makes the home harder to sell. In
neighborhoods with two-car, attached garages, a single-car
or detached garage may impact the home sale and future value.
Your Realtor can point out features that hurt, as well as
those that help, resale value.
Rate the houses you
After touring each home, write down what you
liked and didn't like. Develop a rating system which will
help you narrow the field down to the house that's the best