Are You Ready To Buy A House? Read This First.

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We’re not going to lie: Buying a house is a major deal. Even so, it doesn’t need to be scary. Tami Halton Pardee, owner and principal broker of Halton Pardee + Partners, is the number-one broker in the Los Angeles area. She and her team have sold over $2 billion worth of residential and commercial properties. She knows what she’s talking about, and her biggest piece of advice: Relax and enjoy the process. Here, the other need-to-know things before you begin the hunt for your new home.

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You’ve watched enough episodes of House Hunters to know that the couple who can’t verbalize what they want never seems happy with the homes they see. To expedite the process and eliminate frustrations, drive around different areas and get a sense of the lifestyle. Find local restaurants, talk to would-be neighbors (or join a locals-only Facebook group) and even try to drive through your potential commute to get a sense of what it would be like.
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Buying a house is an incredibly personal process, so you have to find a real estate agent who “gets” you and your goals. Schedule a few appointments with different agents; you’re going to be spending a lot of time communicating with each other, so make sure it’s someone you like. Additionally, the agent will be able to walk you through the technical terms of home-buying, including the escrow process and the inspection report, so make sure it’s someone you trust — and who you feel doesn’t brush off your questions or concerns.
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Think your credit score is good? Double-check your exact number before you start the house-buying process. There are some simple things on a credit report that are easy to take care of but which may eliminate you once you’re already in the process of house-buying. Being able to go into escrow immediately is key for getting the home you want, so if your credit score ends up being lower than you'd like, it pays to wait a few months to raise it before embarking on a serious search.
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Sure, some people walk into the first house they see, declare it home, and move in a few weeks later. But for most of us, it’s a months-long process that can get intense. Make sure you have plenty of time to take a look — and make it fun. Find a nearby restaurant you’re dying to check out in the town for an evening date, or grab iced coffees from a nearby café before you start looking at houses.
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You will find a house you love. But good things take time. Often, a client thinks they’ve found the perfect place, but, for whatever reason, that home doesn’t work out. That’s normal!
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Since you’ve already found an agent with whom you have good rapport, trust their judgment and check out a place they recommend, even if it may not check every single one of your boxes. I’m not saying your checklist isn’t important, but sometimes, looking a little outside your vision may help lead you to the home you didn’t even realize was perfect for you.
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Your real estate agent should give you the lowdown on what you’ll expect to lay out: It’s a lot. Besides mortgage, home cost, and taxes, you also have to think about closing costs and insurance requirements. Having a rock-solid idea of your budget and knowing where there is (and isn’t) wiggle room will make the search much smoother.
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Find a house you love, but it’s way outside your price range? Set that as your goal for the house you'll move into five or 10 years down the road. You may have to compromise on a few things to buy a place that fits your budget, and that’s okay. Seeing the positive balance on your bank account should make up for the fact that the patio in your current home isn’t quite as large as you originally envisioned.
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