The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now offering resources to help home owners and home buyers gain more information about mortgages. The new service, called Owning a Home, offers several features, including tips for learning about loan options, advice on understanding closing forms and tools for getting ready for closing.
If you’re currently in the market to purchase a home, here are five tips for getting a good deal:
1. Get top-notch representation. A real estate agent will help you navigate the negotiation process by letting you in on pricing trends in the neighborhood where you’re house hunting.
2. Avoid a dual agency agreement. A dual agency agreement is a situation where the same company represents the seller and the buyer. This is not the best situation for you as a buyer because the agent cannot provide advice on what to offer. He or she can only write the offer. However, know that laws about dual agents vary by state.
3. Don’t shop blindly. Make sure you do your research. Start by knowing how much the seller paid for the property. You can do this by looking at county tax records or doing research on websites like Zillow.com. The more equity a seller has, the more flexible he or she will be with the price. It would also be to your advantage to find out why the home is being sold. For example, if the seller is in the middle of a divorce and trying to move out of the state, he or she will be more likely to take less money in order to move as soon as possible. Finally, know how long the home has been on the market. The longer the home has been up for sale, the more negotiating power you have.
4. Tame your emotions. Refrain from letting the seller know that you have been desiring the home for years. This might make it harder to negotiate a lower price. And don’t tell the seller that you don’t have enough money to meet the offer. He or she will most likely tell you to look for another home that you can afford.
5. Prioritize your needs. Don’t enter a negotiation with a list of 15 different things you want. This most likely will not sit well with the seller—and you might not get anything you ask for. This tactic rarely works. Rather, present a short list of what you’d like. For example, you could request closing cost assistance or a lower price.