Take the Stress Out of Homebuying

Buying a home should be fun, not stressful. As you look for your dream home, keep in mind these tips for making the process as peaceful as possible.

1. Find a real estate agent who you connect with.
Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. Itís critical that the REALTORģ you chose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality.

2. Remember, thereís no ďrightĒ time to buy, just as thereís no perfect time to sell.
If you find a home now, donít try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer ó you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. The housing market usually doesnít change fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home wonít stay on the market long.

3. Donít ask for too many opinions.
Itís natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of your immediate family ó the people who will be living in the home.

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect.
If itís in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go.

5. Donít try to be a killer negotiator.
Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to ďwinĒ by getting an extra-low price or by refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love. Negotiation is give and take.

6. Remember your home doesnít exist in a vacuum.
Donít get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself ó room size, kitchen, etc. ó that you forget about important issues as noise level, location to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.

7. Plan ahead.
Donít wait until youíve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.

8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget.
Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Donít leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

9. Accept that a little buyerís remorse is inevitable and will probably pass.
Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment. But it also yields big benefits. Donít lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased.

10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually over from 1998 to 2002, a homeís most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live.