Buyers’ Checklist: What you need to know before you buy

Thinking of buying a home or an investment property? There are a couple of keys to making your property purchase as successful and efficient as possible.

Know your budget

If you plan on taking out a mortgage to purchase a home, your first step should be to meet with a loan officer. You’ll spend time going over your financials and the loan officer will tell you how much you can afford to pay for a home. He or she will also give you a prequalification letter, which can make a difference in your offer being accepted by a seller.

7 Financial Items a Mortgage Lender will Look at for Pre-approval

  1. Two most recent years of W2
  2. Two most recent years of tax returns
  3. Two most recent years of business federal tax returns (if applicable)
  4. One month of pay stubs
  5. Two months of bank statements for all of your accounts
  6. Your credit reports
  7. Outstanding loans

These items may vary slightly depending on the lender, but be prepared to provide this type of information.

Choose an experienced and professional Realtor

Real estate transactions can get pretty complicated. You’ll want to make the process as easy for yourself as possible by assembling a team of experienced professionals starting with choosing the right Realtor. A Realtor will navigate you through the entire process of purchasing a property, which as everyone knows can be very stressful. They will also protect your best interest and help you negotiate the best price possible.

10 Tips to Choose the Right Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

  1. First and foremost, be sure they are properly licensed. You can verify an individual’s license by visiting Florida Department of Business Professional Regulation.
  2. Ask for references from past clients.
  3. Find out how long they have been in business.
  4. Find out what experience they have in the area you’d like to live in.
  5. Ask what transactions they have completed in your price range. You want to be sure they are comfortable negotiating and knowledgeable of home values.
  6. Choose an agent who is accessible and promptly answers calls/emails.
  7. Ask lots of questions and be clear about expectations.
  8. Make sure the agent will be honest with you. A Realtor who tells you what you want to hear when the reality is something very different is not doing you any favors.
  9. Are you comfortable with them? Are your personalities compatible? You’ll be spending a lot of time speaking with your Realtor and looking at properties with them so be sure you like them.
  10. Make sure the agent is on your side and willing to help you get what you want. You should feel supported, not pressured.