You have been planning to purchase a second car and have saved $7,000. It's Saturday morning and you have time to shop and make your purchase. You drive to a nearby dealer and find only two cars for sale. Both are the same year, make and model. Both have a price tag of $7,000. They are identical - until you begin to inspect them more closely. The first appears to be "good transportation" at best. The car's finish shows neglect, with nicks, scratches and "dings" abundantly displayed. The windows are smudged, the tires under-inflated, and the radio antenna is missing. Inside, key in the ignition, it grudgingly starts on the second try. Books and papers litter the back seat, the ashtray over-flows with an assortment of items, and the floor mats are missing. After an abbreviated inspection, you turn your attention to the second car. You notice that the morning sun reflects brightly off the spotless windows and gleaming finish. This car seems to promise satisfaction. The chrome and trim are flawless, and the tires have been scrubbed clean. It invites a closer inspection. Sitting at the wheel, the engine jumps to life, then settles down to an imperceptible idle. The interior sparkles. You feel good just sitting there at idle speed. You make your choice. This car wins hands down. Home buyers experience similar situations daily. With plans to purchase a home, buyers inspect a number of similar homes at similar prices. They begin making value judgements from the moment they drive up to each home. Their first impressions begin with the yard, the driveway, and the front door. Once inside an attractive, well- maintained home, buyers can sense the presence of "pride-of-ownership" - or its absence. It has been said that buyers make up their minds in the first five minutes, then spend the rest of the time rationalizing their decision. For those who plan to sell their home - a word of advice: place great emphasis on providing a home in impeccable, move-in condition. For more details on the best way to showcase your home, contact a REALTOR.

Have you ever shopped a "bargain basement" sale at a large department store? Merchandise from throughout the store which has not sold at full retail price is offered along with lower quality merchandise on the "basement" level of the store at real bargain prices. Many people are attracted to the "Bargain Basement Sale". They try on the merchandise, point out flaws to sales clerks, and bargain for an even better price. On the upper floors of the store, it is "business as usual". Serious shoppers looking for quality merchandise at fair prices quietly make their purchases from service-minded attendants. Real estate is sometimes sold and purchased in much the same way. At the bargain basement level, a few sellers attempt to sell "by owner". With a For Sale sign and a few newspaper ads, they attract the real estate bargain-hunters of the world, those who want to buy below the market by dealing directly with the owner. They expect to save the real estate commission and a few thousand extra for good measure. They may or may not buy, but they will certainly look, inspect, bargain, knit-pick, and otherwise take up the valuable time of the seller. Serious real estate buyers, on the other hand, are likely to choose a REALTOR to help them locate a suitable home. They understand that a REALTOR can show them a wide variety of available homes, priced fairly. Buyers are also likely to receive other services such as help with mortgage financing, advice on schools, shopping, churches, etc., and other community information. Services are generally offered to buyers at no cost because the REALTOR usually represents and receives a fee directly from the sellers. Are you willing to sacrifice the equity in your home to bargain hunters? Are you prepared to open your home to inspection by a variety of unqualified lookers? Wouldn't you prefer to sell your home to a qualified buyer with little inconvenience to you and your family? When selling your home, consider the importance of showcasing your home to the right clientele. A full fair price sale can be the result - the benefit of a wise decision.

I want a bargain on a home. Is there anything I should be aware of?

I'm a first time home buyer. What should I be aware of?

Is there anything I should prepare for when buying a home?

There are a lot of homes on the market now. How should I be searching for MY new home?

Buying a home soon? Whether you plan to purchase your first home, move up to a larger one or buy a new one, what steps can be taken to insure a satisfying, successful home buying experience? The first step might be to evaluate your present situation. Do you currently own a home? If so, will it be necessary to sell before making another purchase? Are you renting? How much time is left on your lease? If you already own a home, start by asking a REALTOR to provide a "market analysis" of your home. It should include a suggested price range, terms, a list of needed improvements, probable selling time, and a "net" sheet showing the proceeds you may expect to receive when it sells. Once you know what to expect from the sale of your present home, you will be better prepared to make an informed decision about another home. If you are leasing or renting now, the expiration date of the lease will help you set a timetable for your purchase. Step two, ask a REALTOR for a list of mortgage lenders who perform "pre-qualification" interviews. This procedure allows the lender to determine the maximum mortgage for which you qualify. By obtaining this pre-purchase determination of available mortgage loans, you can begin your home search with the advance knowledge needed to purchase the home of your choice. You will also know the amount of your down-payment and other closing costs. Next, make a list of features you would like included in your next home. Write down desirable locations you would like to consider, an acceptable price range, number of bedrooms and baths, and any other amenities. Be specific. It is unlikely that you will find a home that offers every single feature you desire, however, without a list, it will be more difficult to recognize homes which meet your expectations. Finally, provide the information you have gathered to the REALTOR of your choice, and ask to be shown a selection of homes which match your criteria. By following a logical, step-by-step, purchase agenda, you can enjoy a worry-free home purchase.

Have you ever seen an eye-catching advertisement in the local newspaper picturing an attractive dress or suit which interested you? Imagine your surprise and frustration as you respond to the ad and find only that one item in stock, in only one size? The store offers no wide selection of styles and no color choices. In fact, the price seems high for the advertised item, yet there is no other merchandise against which to compare the price. You leave the store in confusion. A ridiculous story? Of course. When buying merchandise, you will probably go first to a store that offers a wide range of clothing in many sizes, styles and at various price levels. A helpful attendant will ask about your interests in clothing, then show you the way to the right department. After comparing styles, quality and prices, you make your purchase. When you buy a home, you could really face the first situation. Each time you respond to a "by owner" advertisement, you are making a trip to a store with only one piece of inventory. You face a "take it or leave it" situation. The owner has only one home to sell, making price comparisons difficult. You must visit several "by owners" just to get a feel for price, quality, etc. You are literally "on your own", and each owner is biased toward the one home being offered for sale. Look at home buying as a process, not a single act. It requires knowledge of your buying power and your ability to secure mortgage financing. It requires a knowledge of the area, and of your needs and preferences as to size, style and features. Finally, you should be able to comparison shop, sizing up a number of fairly priced homes before making your decision. To accomplish all the steps in the home buying process, select a REALTOR to help you locate the right home. REALTORS are committed to a Code of Ethics, and to treating all parties fairly. They will lead you through the buying process, help with financing, and locate a variety of suitable homes at fair prices. Because they can show you virtually any home being offered for sale, you only need the services of one REALTOR.

Buyer's Information and Tips