The smartest way to buy a home is what I call the “passive/aggressive approach”.
Get pre-approved from the bank/lender/mortgage broker before looking for a home. It doesn’t cost you anything and the reason is twofold. The first is that you need to know exactly what you can afford up front, not how much you can get a loan for, but what the payments will be. Treat this like a business and take the emotion out of it. Emotion will always cost you money. Make sure you can handle the payment.
The second reason is that you want to have as much leverage as possible when making an offer and being pre-approved makes your offer almost the same as cash. If you are not pre-approved, the seller and their agent won’t take your offer seriously.
Then be patient! You need to take your time and see as many homes as possible. View them on the internet as well as going to as many open houses as possible.
Once you see the home you want, it’s time to be aggressive. When you see a good buy, everyone else usually sees the same thing.
Hire a Realtor who has good negotiating skills and is well respected. Make sure he/she will not make you feel like you have to make an offer. This is the biggest transaction of your life. You don’t need any more pressure than there already is.
Feel free to email or call with any real estate questions you may have.
David “Tap” Tapper