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Buying A Home

Because we are a real estate agency, it goes without saying that we would recommend hiring an agent to help you find your new home. But you don't have to if you prefer to go to open houses and look through a plethora of homes online. Mostly, an agent will save you time and cost you NOTHING! Some of the things and agent can do for include:

  • An agent can send you listings directly from the MLS that fit your specific parameters.
  • Agents often know of new listings coming up that are not yet on the market.
  • Agents will preview homes for you.
  • An agent can generally spot overpriced listings and advise you accordingly.

Additionally, just because you may feel restricted by price ranges -- especially if this is your first or second home purchase -- don't let anybody tell you that you can't afford to be choosy when looking for a home to buy! You are unique. You have needs and wants for your new home that are different from everyone else. With that in mind, let's define the process and some of the homebuying parameters.

Find a Home to Buy

Buying a home can be an overwhelming process and emotionally draining. Finding the right home is not always an easy task. We advise buyers to look at a maximum of 5-7 homes at a time because any more than that will make a buyer's head spin.

Most buyers conduct a lot of research online before ever stepping foot in a home. Buyers spend an average of 6 to 8 weeks, according to the National Association of REALTORS, trying to figure out where they want to live. But once the neighborhood is selected, most buyers end up buying a home after 2 or 3 home tours.

Get a Loan

It's not always necessary to have a mortgage broker or bank pre-approval before buying a home, but it's definitely smarter to get one in advance. This way you know for certain how much home to buy.

Popular first-time buyer loans are FHA loans because the minimum down payment requirement is much less than a conventional loan. However, if you are thinking about buying foreclosures or short sales, for example, conventional buyers tend to get priority with REO banks and sellers.

Pick a Location & Neighborhood

  • Suburbs or Country.

Pros: Generally less expensive. Often newer. Tract homes are conforming. More home for the money.
Cons: More time in traffic if driving to town for work. Further away from entertainment options cities offer.

  • Urban.

Pros: Closer to many employers. Walking distance to theaters, restaurants, schools. Many period homes offer more distinctiveness in styles.
Cons: Often noisier. Higher crime rates. More expensive.

  • Busy Streets.

Pros: Often homes on streets with more traffic are thousands of dollars cheaper. If noise doesn't bother you, don't pass up homes on busy streets. Drive by at different times of the day / week to ascertain noise levels.
Cons: These types of homes will always sell for less than others in the same area. If bedrooms are located near the front of the home, sleep may be disturbed.

  • Cul de sac.

Pros: Number one choice of buyers with children.
Cons: Less privacy, neighbors know more about you.

  • Corner lots.

Pros: Often larger lots. Fewer neighbors. More visibility.
Cons: More traffic noise. More vulnerable to vehicles jumping the curb. Kids might trespass at the corner. More sidewalk to shovel in winter.

Choose the Type of Home

  • Single Family.

Pros: Good appreciation. Opportunity for gardens. More privacy. Quieter.
Cons: More expensive than our next category. More maintenance.

  • Condos, Townhomes, Cooperatives.

Pros: Less expensive than comparable single-family homes. Generally newer so fewer repairs. Lock-n-go lifestyle. No yard or exterior maintenance.
Cons: Less privacy. Noisier. Common walls and/or floors and ceilings. Sometimes no private yard or balcony.

Pick the Number of Stories

  • Single Story.

Pros: Easy wheelchair access. Some medical conditions such as bad knees make it hard for certain individuals to climb stairs. Easier to clean.
Cons: Can be noisier if stereos or televisions are located on the same floor as bedrooms. Some people feel safety is compromised if bedrooms are located at ground level. More of the lot is absorbed by living quarters.

  • More than One Story.

Pros: More living space on same foundation than a ranch home. Less noise if entertaining on lower level while other family members sleep upstairs.
Cons: More trips up and down the stairs to carry stuff to bedrooms. If laundry rooms are on the second floor, washer leaks are major. Might need dual vacuum cleaners. It is difficult to maintain consistent temperatures on each level without dual heating and cooling units.

  • Split Levels.

Pros: Often less expensive if purchased with lower level unfinished. Higher ceilings are appealing. Downstairs family room separates noise levels from upstairs. More square footage on same size lots as ranch homes.
Cons: Less storage space. Hassle to take trash downstairs and carry groceries upstairs or vice versa. Kitchens tend to be smaller.

Define Interior Specifications

  • Number of Bedrooms.

Pros: Common minimum requested configurations are 3 bedrooms. Newer parents prefer bedrooms located on one level.
Cons: 2 bedrooms appeal primarily to first-time home buyers, singles or seniors. However, don't discount a two bedroom if an extra den will satisfy your space requirements.

  • Number of Bathrooms.

Pros: More than one bath is preferred by most people. One bath homes are often less expensive.
Cons: Don't pass up a one bath home is there is room to add a second bath. Sometimes it costs less to put in an extra bath than it does to buy a two-bath home.

  • Square Footage.

Pros: larger spaces offer more room and cost less per square foot than smaller spaces.
Cons: Don't be misled as lay-out is more important than actual square footage. Sometimes well designed smaller spaces appear larger.

  • Bonus Rooms.

Pros: Extra space for media rooms, art studios, children's playrooms, gyms, den/study.
Cons: More expensive

Decide How Many Garages & Type

  • Attached.

Pros: Cheaper to build. Convenient if raining or snowing.
Cons: Higher noise levels inside the home from cars. Some people feel they are an eye sore. If the garage door to the house self locks, you could get locked out at an inopportune time.

  • Detached.

Pros: Can be tucked away from site lines. Quieter.
Cons: More expensive to build. Farther to walk in bad weather.

Additional Considerations

  • School districts.
  • Special amenities such as fireplaces, pools or spas.
  • Condition of plumbing, electrical, heating & cooling units.
  • Available utilities such as cable or DSL, satellite.
  • Sewer, cesspool or septic connections.
  • Fixers. If you're handy with tools, you might save a lot of money.

Finally, Negotiate the Offer

Buyers sometimes make the mistake of comparing the sales price of a home to other homes they have seen. It's a mistake to compare sales prices among homes for sale. That's because sellers can ask any price they want. It doesn't mean the home will sell at that price.

An agent can provide comparable sales and examine the pending sales. Comparable sales are similar type homes in the same condition and location that have sold within the past 3 months. Pending sales will become the comparable sales by the time your home closes.

You may need to pay over list price in a seller's market, especially if many buyers are vying for the same inventory. Your agent can give you a reasonable price range and help to manage your expectations. A good buyer's agent knows there is always more to an offer than its price, but price is paramount.

If you are ready to buy a home, Please This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it today for your FREE consultation on buying a home in Arizona.  An Artisan Real Estate Group representative will contact you within the 24 hours to discuss your specific needs.

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