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Deciding to buy a house is one of the biggest decisions you'll make in your life. There's a lot that has to be done before you receive the keys to your new house and move in. To better ensure you do everything right the first time and run into as few real estate roadblocks as possible, here are my top 10 tips for buying a home. 

1. Take Care of Debt

There's no question that owning a home is a financial undertaking. That's why it's best that you pay off as much of your existing debt as possible, so you'll have more money to funnel into your home and be better qualified for a mortgage. Tips for quickly paying off debt include:

  • Create (and stick to) a budget
  • Focus on one strategy: Either focus on high interest rates first or focus on smaller balances first. There are advantages to both and your financial adviser can tell you more.
  • Pay more than the minimum balance on all your debts.

2. Know How Much Home You Can Afford 

Before you explore your options for a home, get a solid idea of how much home you can afford. Consider that number along with mortgage interest rates, home insurance, home maintenance, property taxes and any other costs that go along with owning a home in the Roanoke Valley. 

3. Hire a Realtor 

With the help of a Roanoke real estate professional, you have a well-informed idea of the selection of homes in your area that suit your desires. Realtors also help speed up the buying process. [Read more about the services I provide to buyers and sellers.]

4. Build a Sizable Down Payment 

If you plan on getting a mortgage, put together as large a down payment as you can afford. It's best to aim for at least 20% of the cost of the home, because you can avoid private mortgage insurance. But don't worry. If that's out of reach right now, I can point you to a lender who can talk with you about low- or no-down payment mortgages. 

5. Get Loan Preapproval 

Sellers love nothing more than potential buyers who are fully prepared to follow through on an offer. Help them by seeking loan preapproval. Once you have a preapproval letter, be sure to take it with you to show home sellers. 

6. Prepare for Closing Costs 

As you're budgeting for buying a home, calculate closing costs, including inspections, title insurance and a number of other expenses. [I've got a good blog post about closing costs.]

7. Get inside Your Top Picks

A house has to do more than look good on paper and photograph well for the listing. Let's schedule a showing, or you can attend an open house to get a true feel for a property. 

8. Consider the Neighborhood

You should love the neighborhood your house is in just as much as you love the house itself. Research the area your dream home is in to ensure you find an ideal match for your family's lifestyle. Take a couple of drives around the neighborhood at different times a day to get a sense of the pace.  

9. Get Competitive With Your Offer 

Work with your Realtor to decide what would be the most competitive offer, which could involve negotiations over price, repairs, items that convey, closing costs … you name it. This increases your chances of also remaining within your personal price range. 

10. Get Proactive About Closing 

After you celebrate your offer being accepted, go ahead and shift your focus to the closing process. Keep the process moving by submitting required paperwork on time, getting your inspections scheduled and attending a walkthrough. 

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 12/07/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 12/07/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of Roanoke Valley MLs (last updated Wed 12/07/2022 5:23:17 PM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than MKB, REALTORS may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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