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Excellence in Real Estate

Determine your housing needs.

How long do you intend to live in your new home? Will you be starting or adding to your family? Do you have any special requirements such as proximity to stores, public transportation, recreation facilities, etc.? These are the sort of things you should consider when deciding what kind of housing you will need--not just now, but also five years from now. Remember, if you intend on moving again relatively soon, you should get a shorter term when choosing your mortgage.

Figure out your finances.

That means determining how much money you can raise for your down payment and how much you can afford to pay on a monthly basis. Go to a lender to find out the size of mortgage you qualify for and get pre-approved. Better yet, use a mortgage broker to find you the best mortgage rate possible. When calculating the costs of home ownership, remember to plan for homeowner's insurance, property taxes, private mortgage insurance (if required), utilities, repairs, and maintenance.

Let your agent know what you expect.

It's up to you to tell your agent what you want and how you want to be involved in the home search process. Some buyers prefer their agents to handpick properties for their consideration; others want to receive the hotsheets on a daily basis so they can comb through the new listings themselves. You should listen to your Realtor's advice, but always remember that you're the boss. And speaking of bosses, it's a good idea for ALL decision-makers to visit the properties your Realtor shows you.