Buying a new home is serious business. It’s likely the largest purchase you’ll make, which means you want to make sure you’re buying a home for a good price. More importantly, however, you want to make sure you’re getting a good deal.
That means not massively overpaying for a home just because that’s the price on the listing, or because you got caught up in a bidding war. Even if you absolutely love a place, this is a decision that requires your head, not just your heart.
How do you know whether you’re paying the right price or you’re just getting ripped off? To make sure you’re getting a good deal:
-Find a good realtor
-Check out comps in the area
-Note how long the house has been on the market
-Verify the tax value
Know Your Real Estate Agent
If you’re able to get a real estate agent you know and trust, it could be easier for you to get genuine information out of that agent. True, you will need to invest some money into the real estate agent. But for a relatively small amount, he or she will represent your interests and can help you determine if you’re making the right decision.
Real estate agents provide the expertise and negotiation skills needed during the house-buying process. This is the person that will guide you safely through this process. So, it’s very important to find a real estate agent that you can talk to one-on-one, someone with whom you feel comfortable sharing your wants and needs.
You can technically purchase a home without a real estate agent, However, you may find that–after all the paperwork and stress–not having an agent is something of a false economy. You will likely find that any agent fees are worth it, in that this real estate professional will often help you avoid much more costly pitfalls in the process of buying a home.
Look at Similar Homes in the Area
What are other homes in the area selling for? It doesn’t matter if you think it’s a good deal, You should research the home, comparing it to similarly sized and located homes. That way, you’ll know what these homes probably sell for, and you’ll know if the asking price is normal for the area or not.
Hop on a home selling site and look for homes with the same square footage and the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Use ZIP codes within a few miles of the home you’re looking at. Of course, you’ll see homes on both the higher and lower ends. But if every home you see is listed at a lower price than the one you’re interested in, consider whether it’s worth it.
See How Long the House Has Been Listed
If you’re interested in a home, you should try to learn a bit more about how long the home’s been on the market. Whether the home’s been available for a few days or over a year, it’s a good idea to at least know. This can give you some insight into the pricing of the home and your chances of getting into a bidding war with someone else.
There are no cut-and-dried guidelines regarding the length of a house listing. However, a home that’s been on the market for a very long time may be more open to negotiation, whereas a home that’s brand new is more likely to attract attention. In these situations, it’s generally a good idea to talk to your real estate agent and see what impact the listing length might have.
Look at the Tax Value of the Home and Surrounding Homes
A good shortcut to understanding a home’s actual value is understanding the tax value of the property. The tax value isn’t always exactly parallel to the amount that a seller can hope to get on the market. So, you can’t assume it’s overpriced just because the tax value is lower than the market price. However, it can be a good starting point, especially if you have a good real estate agent.
Anytime you’re interested in moving, you should check out a property’s vital information on a public records site. On that site, perform an address lookup to get more information about the home in which you’re interested. This includes its tax history, ownership background, and so on.
You can even perform address lookups on surrounding homes. That way, you can get the fuller picture about the neighborhood as a whole, and you can learn more about the people living in those homes.
You don’t just have to take a homeowner at their word when it comes to the list price they’re asking for a home. In fact, it’s possible for you to get information for yourself and make sure you know more about what’s going on behind the scenes. Having the right people and information at hand can help you make the right decision…for you and your pocketbook.
For real estate matters and beyond, read the PeopleFinders blog to find out how else to use these powerful tools to keep yourself and your family safe.
Image attribution: Breadmaker – shutterstock.com