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HomeHomes
Published: Friday, 5/15/2009

Five Tips to Help You Gear Up for the Homebuying Season



(ARA) - It's time to gear up for the busy spring and summer homebuying season. Buyers and sellers alike have come to expect that there are greater options available during this time of year as more people tend to be in the market for a new home. So what is behind this trend and how can you make the most of the buying and selling season? Why now?

The Kids.

Many homeowners, especially those with school-aged children, prefer to plan their move around the summer. By starting the homebuying process in spring, most children can finish the year at their current school and start fresh at their new school in the fall.

The IRS.

Tax refund checks start hitting mailboxes in spring. For people in the market for a new home, a tax refund is an added bonus that they can put towards the down payment.

The Weather.

For people living in northern climates, the thought of moving during winter holds little to no appeal. As the weather turns milder, the idea of making a move becomes more realistic for many.

How Do I Make the Most of the Season?

If you're one of the many millions of Americans buying or selling a home this year, you'd probably prefer to make the move as smooth as possible. Start early.

"From searching and touring houses to the negotiation, home inspection and closing, buying the home that perfectly fits your needs can take a lot of time, especially if you don't know the process," says Frank Destra, managing director and senior vice president of national sales for Ditech, one of the nation's leading online mortgage lenders. "By learning and understanding the steps in buying a home, you will be ready to go through the process and complete it efficiently so you can soon begin enjoying your new home."

Here are some tips from Ditech that will help make your spring or summer move stress-free.

1) Review Your Credit Report. Whether this is your first time buying a home or your 10th time, it is always in your best interest to keep an eye on your credit report to make sure your credit history is accurately reported. Your credit history has an impact on what loans you can qualify for as well as the interest rate you will be offered. Report any errors to the credit reporting agencies right away, so that your credit report is accurate when you're ready to apply for home financing.

2) Get pre-approved. Getting pre-approved is one of the first steps in the home buying process. By getting pre-approved, you will receive a loan commitment for up to a certain amount from your lender before you find a home, based on a review of your credit and finances. Pre-approval makes your home search more efficient by allowing you to focus only on the homes you know you can afford. It also is beneficial to have a pre-approval letter in your possession when you submit an offer on a home, so the seller knows you are serious about buying the home.

3) Know what you want. Sitting down and figuring out what kind of home and neighborhood you would prefer in the beginning of your home search will save you a lot of time. Make a list of the features that are most important to you. Start with determining the number of bedrooms and bathrooms as well as other personal requirements you might have such as an office versus a den, one or two stories, etc. Also, think resale before you ever set foot in a home. The neighborhood, schools, parks, shopping, transportation accessibility, and proximity to key points in the city are all characteristics that will remain important when you decide to sell your home at some point in the future.

4) Review financing solutions. There are a variety of financing options available to homebuyers, and your particular situation will play a factor in figuring out what financing solution might work best for you. An experienced loan officer will take the time to review the home financing process, define terms, and listen to your concerns to get you a loan that fits your needs. In addition, home lenders offer a number of online resources, such as payment calculators, glossaries, etc. to help homebuyers better understand which financing options might be right for them.

5) Negotiate. Once you find the home of your dreams, work with a real estate agent to negotiate the price and present your offer. Motivated sellers may be willing to reduce their price, or even pay part of the closing costs. Also, if you are looking at new construction, make sure any incentives being offered are tied to the home. For example, if a builder offers a cruise or flat-screen TV, ask for the value of the item to be discounted from the purchase price of the home. You are purchasing a home and that should be your focus -- not the giveaways. Courtesy of ARAcontent



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