Have you made a list of New Year’s resolutions? That’s a difficult, painful, and ultimately pointless task, because few people keep them for long. It’s far more effective to make resolutions for what other people should do. So here are some 2011 resolutions for Burbed readers.
- Visit at least ten open houses this year – This is a good idea for several reasons. One, if you want to become a homeowner, you need to start thinking like one. Two, the more homes you visit, the better you will become at telling a bargain from a disaster. And three, if the place you visit is an absolute piece of crap, you can send it in to Burbed so we have more material.
- Take a real estate class – Real estate is a fascinating field, with its own language, customs, paperwork and buzzwords. Not only will you learn something about the homebuying process, you will be able to pepper your Burbed comments with useful phrases such as “leverage” and “negative equity.”
- Choose a trade-up area – Even if you already own a home, there’s probably someplace more Special than where you live. Find one of those places and learn about it. Follow new listings that appear from your designated “new” neighborhood. Figure out how much it will take to trade to this new neighborhood and then justify your staying put in comments.
- Create your home budget – Calculate how much discretionary income you have. Take your gross paycheck, subtract all required payments out such as taxes, utilities, coffee and sushi. You can list discretionary expenses such as clothing and movie money, but don’t include them in your budget. Is your number positive? Take the rent out too. Once you buy a home you won’t be paying rent to a landlord anymore when you can rent your money from a bank!
- Determine how much home you can afford – Did you create your budget in the previous resolution? Of course you didn’t. Why don’t you go back and do that one for real?
- Make an offer – Learn about the homebuying process by working with an agent, visiting homes, and submitting an offer to buy property. The key to not having to actually buy a house is to only submit lowball offers. In a healthy market, a lowball offer is usually more than 12% under asking price. In today’s market, the wishing prices are usually much more than 12% over actual market prices, so you are going to only offer 25% or more under asking. Otherwise, you’re in danger of having your offer accepted. In the event it is, remind the seller’s agent that she won’t be earning her full commission. If your (buyer’s) agent objects to your approach, assure her that Suzanne researched this.
Well? What are you waiting for? It’s 2011! The time to buy is NOW!