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Six things to do to ensure a smooth home purchase

Buying a home can be an emotional, time-consuming, and complex process. There are a few things that you can do to help make the process go as smooth as possible:

1. Check your credit

Before you apply for a home loan, it's a good idea to obtain a copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus and review the information. If there are errors or things that need to be addressed, it's easier to address them before you have found a house, than after you have found a house and are trying to close your loan.

2. Get pre-approved before you start viewing properties

An approval means that a lender has reviewed your credit history, verified your assets and employment, and has approved your loan before you have found a home to purchase. As long as the home appraises for at least the purchase price, the loan should close.

3. Find a great buyer's agent

A buyer's agent's job and responsibility is to you, the buyer. Before working with an agent, establish if they are a buyer's agent or a seller's agent. After spending a lot of time with a Realtor, it's natural to feel like you're a team. But if they are not negotiating for you, then they are not on your team.

4. Learn about the neighborhood

Often times the house you find may be in a neighborhood that you're not familiar with, which is ok. It just means that you'll have to do a little more research. If you find a house that you like, ask for a list of the neighborhood properties that sold in the last year. How does your home rank? Is it at the top of the price range? If so, it might be hard to resell. Is it average or on the low end? If so, great - as the other home prices go up in value, they will pull your home's value up as well.

Check out the schools - are they sought after? A good school district means your neighborhood will always be valued by families that are a great reassurance to purchase, not to mention the value-add if you have school-age children.

Talk to the neighbors. The more people you talk to, the better sense you will get of who makes up the neighborhood and how they will effect your time spent in it.

Check out the location of the shopping, police and fire stations, schools, and air traffic overhead. These are all things that might affect your property value or quality of your life.

5. Protect Yourself

Ask your Realtor for a copy of the documents you will be asked to sign if you decide to buy a house. Read them upon receipt to understand the questions that you will be asked, the things you need to know, and the decisions you will need to make. This will make the process a smooth home purchase since you will already know the contract that is being filled out.

6. Have reasonable expectations

Always get an inspection. It might be a few hundred dollars, but it is money well spent. It's the inspector's job to find any problems with the house that could cost you thousands to repair down the road. Some inspectors have a tendency to over play the importance of their role and the items that they find. Get objective opinions that you trust before making a decision on an inspection report. Likewise, if an inspector says a foundation is cracked but its nothing to worry about - get a second opinion. Ask a handyman for an idea of how much repairs will cost and how complicated they are. The home buying process is an emotional, complex and time-consuming process, but it is worth it. Nothing compares to owning your own home in a neighborhood that you chose.

These things will ensure that you have a Smooth home purchase.

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