Everyone loves to save a few bucks when possible. During the process of finding the right home, contracting, and then closing it helps to have a few tips for where you can get the best value.
Here are my top 5:
1. Mortgage rate/terms-always obtain at least two GFE’s (good faith estimates) from reputable lenders. My favorite Lender is Todd Pruitt at Cherry Creek Mortgage.
A slightly better rate can save you thousands over the life of your loan, and just as importantly you want to know that you’re heading down the path towards success with a lender that will ensure the money will be ready for you on the day of closing. Competitive closing costs to ensure a low APR are another important consideration.
2. Writing the appropriate offer for the market and the Seller- obtaining guidance from an experienced Realtor who is familiar with your area of interest is key-but you want to do your best to offer up favorable terms to help the Seller and then in return get as much as possible regarding price or specifics to fit your needs. So for starters your agent should find out what they can about the Seller’s situation (is timing of the closing important? Is a possible post closing occupancy a way the Buyer could curry favor? Is the type of financing most important? Would they appreciate a quick turnaround on inspection objection? etc, etc) and then write the offer to suit the situation. If you make the offer appealing then you as the Buyer are in a stronger position to get a bit better price.
3. Do homework about the condition of the home BEFORE you write… if you wait until the inspection objection to bring up 12 items that you want replaced or repaired it will be met with resistance. Take your time (if possible, it’s not always in the market we’ve had lately) even if it means a 2nd showing and do your best to put into the original offer a few items you are concerned with and you expect the Seller to take care of. (ie clean and certify the furnace, provide a seller-paid home warranty for 12 months, etc).
4. Buy a fixer upper- A premium is always paid for nice, new, modern things-whether it’s a car, a boat or a home you can always save money when you buy used. Doing a good quality paint job or replacing flooring is something most of us can tackle (or you can hire and still save money), so try not to overlook creating some equity with a bit of work. If you have to have a brand new kitchen and you don’t want to deal with getting it done after you buy then that’s OK, you just have to realize you are paying for that convenience.
5. Have a good home inspector-Keep in mind a home inspector’s job is to create a long laundry-list of items (even on newer construction), and you can’t typically ask for everything and expect a Seller to comply. But finding out about defects that aren’t immediately apparent in a roof, the heating system, etc. is very valuable. One of the best insurance policies around is an add-on to your inspection where your home’s plumbing pipes get an endoscopy: the sewer line scope. This service only adds about $100 to your inspection and yet can save you many thousands if it reveals problems.
Some additional thoughts:
- If the situation fits you may get the Sellers to agree to a concession for closings costs and/or pre-paid items which will free up some cash at closing.
- Remember to do your walk-through to ensure items the Seller agreed to repair or replace have been completed.
- Have your agent check on certain personal property that perhaps you want and the Seller would love to get rid of.
- Ensure the Seller pays for any HOA transfer fees or status letters (if applicable and if possible).
- Double check that the Seller (required by state law) has operable CO alarms in the home.
- Have your agent double-check on due diligence documents that may include warranties on appliances, roof, mechanical systems or work performed on the home.
Call me with questions or if I can help you find just the right home!
Sandy Hopper, CRS, GRI