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Homebuyer Guidelines

At Andrew Mitchell & Company we want all homebuyers to be informed. While your sales agent can answer questions for you one-on-one, our online search features pull data from many resources to give you the data to start finding the right home and location all wrapped up in one neat package. This gives you a great head start.

We invite you to check out our comprehensive search options and complete our free registration to benefit from saved searches and other interactive features. You can begine on the home page by clicking a county or region or by using the Quick Search toolbar. You can also visit our Search Page.

From here, you can find detailed information that would likely take you searching a dozen different sites to compile. Some of the features include all of the MLS data and photos, area attractions, community demographics (average income, homes with children, marital status percentages, etc.), neighborhood schools, street views and market trends, etc. If you like what you see, you can print a flyer, save the property, schedule a showing, and even make an offer.

For more info on finding the right home for you, the National Association of REALTORSprovides these eight tips:

1. Know thyself Understand the type of home that suits your personality. Do you prefer a new or existing home? A ranch or a multistory? If youre leaning toward a fixer-upper, are you truly handy, or will you need to budget for contractors?

2. Research before you look List the features you most want in a home and identify which are necessities and which are extras. Identify three to four neighborhoods youd like to live in based on commute time, schools, recreation, crime and price. Prioritize your wants and needs so you can add in and weed out properties from the inventory youd like to view.

3. Get your finances in order Generally, lenders say you can afford a home priced two to three times your gross income. Create a budget so you know how much youre comfortable spending each month. Dont wait until youve found a home and made an offer.Gather your financial records and meet with a lender to get a prequalification letter spelling out how much youre eligible to borrow. The lender wont necessarily consider the extra fees youll pay when you purchase or your plans to begin a family or purchase a new car, so shop in a comfortable price range. Also, presenting an offer contingent on financing will make your bid less attractive to sellers.

4. Set a moving timeline Do you have blemishes on your credit that will take time to clear up? If you already own, have you sold your current home? If not, youll need to factor in the time needed to sell. If you rent, when is your lease up? Do you expect interest rates to jump anytime soon?

5. Think long term Your future plans may dictate the type of home youll buy. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in the home for five to 10 years? With a starter, you may need to adjust your expectations. If you plan to nest, be sure your priority list helps you identify a home youll still love years from now.

6. Work with a REALTOR Ask people you trust for referrals to a real estate professional they trust. Interview agents to determine which have expertise in the neighborhoods and type of homes youre interested in. Because home buying triggers many emotions, consider whether an agents style meshes with your personality.Also ask if the agent specializes in buyer representation. Unlike listing agents, whose first duty is to the seller, buyers reps work only for you even though theyre typically paid by the seller. Finally, check whether agents are REALTORS, which means theyre members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS. NAR has been a champion of homeownership rights for more than a century.

7. Be realistic Its OK to be picky, but dont be close-minded, unrealistic, or blinded by minor imperfections. If you insist on living in a cul-de-sac, you may miss out on great homes on streets that are just as quiet.On the flip side, dont be so swayed by a wow feature that you forget about other issueslike noise levelsthat can impact your life. Use your priority list to evaluate each property, remembering theres no such thing as the perfect home.

8. Limit the opinions you solicit Its natural to seek reassurance when making a big financial decision. But you know that saying about too many cooks in the kitchen. If you need a second opinion, select one or two people. But remain true to your list of wants and needs so the final decision is based on criteria youve identified as important.

Copyright National Association of REALTORS. Reprinted with Permission.