Do's & Don'ss list for homebuyers

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By Michelle Gillespie

Michelle Gillespie, Realtor

For most people, buying a home is the most significant investment of their lives. And in spite of the doubt and confusion clouding both the financial markets and news headlines, 2011 presents many genuine real estate opportunities – especially for homebuyers.

On average, housing inventory is up and prices are down. Over the years, data has demonstrated that purchasing a home is a sound long-term financial investment. However, home buying can be confusing and anxiety-provoking. This list of Do's and Don'ss will make the process easier for anyone wanting to buy a home in the next several months.

Your DO List:

DO utilize free online tools to arm you with knowledge. Visit my real estate website, www.michellegillespie.com, for the latest real estate news, information on the home buying process, and tools like mortgage calculators.

DO access and closely review your credit score. A sound financial track record and solid credit score can help lock in a loan and lower interest rates. Carefully checking your records in advance can ensure that you catch any errors, and can help you better understand how lenders may perceive you.

DO explore mortgage pre-approval. Getting this early green light can show others involved with your purchase that you are serious about home ownership – and well -qualified.

DO line up your “all-star” team of professionals. A team of experienced professionals is the key to making the home buying process simple and seamless. Start by interviewing a realtor like myself who you can “connect” with. I can help you identify suitable lawyers, mortgage lenders, home inspectors, and others who will play a role in your home buying process.

DO anticipate your future needs and buy for lifestyle. Try to anticipate how long you'sl live in your next home, and plan for major lifestyle changes when possible. What may make a perfect starter home might not work as well when children come into the picture. Remember, people move for lifestyle reasons, and your first home will likely not be your last.

DO hone in on your housing priorities. Your ideal home may have a porch, a pool, and four bedrooms. But before you start looking, separate your “must-haves” from your “nice-to-haves,” so you know where you can compromise to meet your budget

Your DON”T List:

DON”T buy beyond what you can afford. As you look at properties it is easy to “want it all” when it comes to size, amenities, location, etc., but your wants may exceed what you can afford. Make sure that the down payment, closing costs, monthly expenses, and taxes are truly within your income and savings range before you sign the dotted line.

DON”T try to time the market. By the time most consumers sense a major real estate or financial market shift, typically the tables have already turned. Instead of waiting for a slim and unreliable window of time – and potentially missing out on the perfect home – buyers should focus on their own lifestyles and buy when the time is truly right for them.

DON”T underestimate the value of a trustworthy real estate agent's on-the-ground expertise. Although being a savvy buyer and doing your homework will help, a local real estate agent like myself, with years of selling and buying experience, is invaluable when it comes to scouting out the perfect home and especially when closing the deal.

Let me help you…

I have many years of experience helping buyers with their real estate needs. If you are thinking of buying a new home, and would like to discuss the best approach for an easy transition, call me, Michelle Gillespie, at 1-508-934-9818 or e-mail michelle@michellegillespie.com. Visit my website at www.michellegillespie.com for more information.