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  Buying a Home

Prepare to Buy
First Home
Buyer's Checklist
Condo / Co-op
Common Mistakes
Picking a Home
R.E. Taxes
Inspecting






Picking a Home

1. Find a real estate professional who's simpatico. Homebuying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It's critical that the practitioner you choose is both skilled and a good fit with your personality.

2. Remember, there's no "right" time to buy, any more than there's a right time to sell. If you find a home now, don't try to second-guess the interest rates or the housing market by waiting. Changes don't usually occur fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won't stay on the market long.

3. Don't ask for too many opinions. It's natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas will make it much harder to make a decision.

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect. Focus in on the things that are most important to you and let the minor ones go.

5. Don't try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to "win" by getting an extra-low price may lose you the home you love.

6. Remember your home doesn't exist in a vacuum. Don't get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself-room size, kitchen-that you forget such issues as amenities, noise level, etc., that have a big impact on what it's like to live in your new home.

7. Don't wait until you've found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate insurance availability, 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-homebuying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be some costs. Don't leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

9. Accept that a little buyer's remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big commitment, but it also yields big benefits.

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 from 1998 to 2002, a home's most important role is as a comfortable, safe place to live.


How High Tech Is That Home?

If the latest technology or entertainment options are important in your new home, add the following questions.

1. Are there enough jacks in every room for cable TV and high-speed Internet hookups?
2. Are there enough telephone extensions or jacks?
3. Is the home prewired for a home theater or multi-room audio and video?
4. Does the home have a local area network for linking computers?
5. Does the home already have wiring for DSL or other high-speed Internet connection?
6. Does the home have multizoning heating and cooling controls with programmable thermostats?
7. Does the home have multi-room lighting controls, window-covering controls, or other home automation features?
8. Is the home wired with multi-purpose in-wall wiring that allows for reconfigurations to update services as technology changes?

Visit the Consumer Electronics Association (www.ce.org/techhomerating) for a complete Tech Home Rating Checklist.