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Closing tips for a first-time homebuyer

Date posted:  11/17/15 12:00:00 AM

Interested homebuyers need to make sure they are prepared before embarking on their search for the perfect house. After becoming familiar with the processes and requirements for investing in real estate, it's finally time to begin looking for property. 

Follow these tips when looking for the house that can become a true home:

Hire a professional real estate agent
One of the most important aspects of buying a home is hiring a professional who is familiar with the real estate industry and can help with the process of buying a new house.

According to Forbes, a real estate agent can provide access to a substantial pool of resources. With a professional, buyers will be connected with multiple properties that meet their specific requirements in the neighborhoods they want.

In addition, a real estate agent has a great deal of experience negotiating prices between buyers and sellers and can inform buyers whether a price is fair for the current market value.

Professionals working in the industry also have strong relationships with other individuals involved in real estate. This may become useful when it comes time to hire someone, such as a home inspector, to evaluate the condition of a home.

"Buying a house also means investing in the neighborhood."

Tour available homes
The most exciting part of the process is looking at available properties. With the help of their agents, buyers can attend multiple showings and open houses and become familiar with what is currently available and market prices for homes similar to what they are looking for. 

When looking at homes, buyers should take notes and check out the surrounding area. Buying a house also means investing in the neighborhood, so making sure the region is safe and meets the buyer's requirements is a must.

Get a home inspection
Once buyers settle on a house they would like to make an offer on, it's important to complete a home inspection. According to Bankrate, individuals should always hire a professional to inspect a home before moving in to ensure safety. Even recently-constructed homes can have major issues that could cause a homeowner a great deal of money down the road.

When selecting a home inspector, buyers should ask about experience, what is included in the inspection and whether the professional would allow them to follow him or her during the process. Joining the inspector for the evaluation gives the potential buyer a clearer idea of what they are working with and provides the opportunity to ask questions.

"Don't be tempted to make an offer that's too low."

"I did one inspection where the buyer didn't come along, and he ended up getting worked up about first-floor plugs that weren't grounded and completely ignored that the water tank was drafting carbon monoxide," Aaron Flook, owner of an inspection company, told Bankrate. "You really need to go along with the inspector, ask questions and listen when he gives you his professional opinion on the house."

The home inspection will also give buyers the ability to better negotiate a final selling price for the home should the evaluation determine the house has no major issues.

Making an offer and negotiating a final price
Once buyers decide on a home they would like to purchase, they must provide an offer. This is when being pre-approved for a mortgage is especially helpful because it demonstrates that the interested buyers are qualified to make the purchase.

In addition, U.S. News & World Report noted having a professional real estate agent on your side with significant experience working in the industry will help a great deal during this part of the process. 

"This will probably be the single largest purchase that you'll ever make," Sheila Rugege Dantzler, a real estate broker, told U.S. News & World Report. "You need a trusted party negotiating on your behalf."

When negotiating an offer with a seller, consider the market value of the home instead of the listing price. A real estate agent can help buyers determine the best course of action when it comes to making a fair offer that will be attractive to the seller while still getting a good deal for the buyers. 

Don't be tempted to make an offer that's too low, because sellers won't take it seriously and buyers may lose out on the house altogether. 

Closing on a home
If the buyers' offer is accepted by the seller, the closing process can begin. Because this is such a delicate time, Bankrate noted that buyers should ask questions and make sure they know exactly what is needed from them in terms of having the loan cleared. 

"Stay on them," Jeff Richardson, a real estate professional, told Bankrate. "Ask them 'Do you have everything you need?' Don't assume everyone knows what they are doing."

Buyers should be in close communication with their loan officer and real estate agent during this time. 

Once the buyers receive the final loan documents, they should carefully review them to ensure they understand them completely. It might be tempting to quickly sign and open the doors to a brand new home, but disregard for the documents can lead to substantial future issues regarding the terms of agreement. 

Make the move
After all is said and done, buyers can finally move into their new home. Arrange to have all locks changed and new keys made right away, noted Forbes. Throughout the home selling process, a number of people have access to those keys, and restoring security to a new home is crucial. 

New homeowners can hire a professional moving crew to relocate all belongings to the new house. After the process of applying for a mortgage and finding a home, buyers will likely want to alleviate a bit of the stress by outsourcing the heavy lifting.

Purchasing a new home is a great investment and can be quite the adventure. By arming themselves with proper understanding, first-time buyers can make sure the process goes smoothly.