keys to happy home-buying
friend was buying a house. The closing date was a few weeks away.
His parents were visiting from out of state, and he wanted them
to see the inside of the house. His real estate agent called the
seller on Thanksgiving morning to ask permission. The seller was
so annoyed to be called on a holiday that she threatened to cancel
buddy wanted to placate the seller. "I'm a personable guy,"
he told his agent. "I can clear this up." He asked for
the seller's unlisted phone number.
agent convinced him (correctly) that this was a bad idea. The seller
calmed down and the mini-crisis withered away.
moral of this story is that you should trust the judgment of a competent
real-estate agent. My friend's agent goofed by calling on Thanksgiving,
but otherwise she was capable. She displayed good judgment when
she refused to give out the seller's phone number, averting a possible
personality clash that could have scuttled the sale.
are other do's and don'ts for getting a mortgage and for buying
and selling a house. Here are a few of them, expressed as New Year's
resolutions for 2003:
buying a house, I will watch what I say to "my" real estate
Know who your agent works for. The agent works for the seller, unless
your agent has signed a contract (called a buyer agency agreement)
that specifies that he or she works exclusively for the buyer. These
contracts are popular, and you can confide in a buyer's agent who
has signed such an agreement.
a buyer agency agreement, the agent you deal with ultimately works
on the seller's behalf. If you say something like, "We would
be willing to pay $260,000, but we'll offer $240,000," a seller's
agent is obligated to pass along that information.
will check my credit report before getting a mortgage.
When you plan to buy a house or refinance, the first thing to do
is check your credit report for errors, so you'll have plenty of
time to fix any mistakes.
reporting errors take many forms: Your report might say that you
have declared bankruptcy, when in fact someone else with the same
name filed for bankruptcy. It might list closed accounts as open.
It might omit a credit card account that you have been paying on
time. It might say falsely you're late in your payments.
but wrong, information on your credit report can cost time and money
when you're getting a mortgage. If you find out about it too late,
you might have to delay the closing while the errors are fixed.
Or you might end up paying a higher interest rate than you deserve.
will count the cost of taxes, insurance, repairs and maintenance
into the home-buying equation.
A rough rule of thumb goes like this: Figure out how much the mortgage's
principal and interest will cost each month, and assume that taxes,
insurance, repairs and maintenance will cost about the same. Keep
this in mind and you're less likely to buy more house than you can
will save for repairs and maintenance.
Let's say you will need to re-do your kitchen in five years, at
a cost of $5,000. If you set aside $80.50 a month in a moey market
account paying 1.4 percent interest compounded daily, you will have
$5,000 in five years.
continued at http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/mortgages/20021226a.asp?page