Home Buying and Technology for Today’s Consumer

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Home buyers today are doing more to educate themselves on the market.  With the assistance of technology and online tools at their disposal, handling more of the home buying task themselves is a significant advantage. However, the process is still very complicated, especially for the first-time homebuyer.

There are key areas where technology can benefit the home buyer or seller.   Just be sure to assess practical considerations such as; interest rates, the condition of the market – is this a good time to buy? (although, it’s always a right time to purchase a home!), what financing options are available and which ones do I qualify?

The major areas where due diligence, technology, and information can help home buyers become more informed on the process and secure the best deal on their transaction.

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Finding a Home

There are many sites available for consumers to search home listings and for the home buyer, this is golden!  Websites such as Realtor.com and HAR.com (in the Houston area) are updated in real-time and offer the most accurate information.  Consumers have an opportunity to custom tailor their search options and target a specific zip code, community or school district they desire plus many other options.  You can do your research on pricing options, future neighborhood value dynamics, and scheduling showing appointments.

Be careful with sites such as Trulia, Zillow, and others as their listings may not be up-to-date and you will spend a lot of time inquiring on properties that sold.  A licensed real estate agent could be of service with this.

While it is true that consumers have some great tools to help facilitate the transaction, there are still some technical and legal aspects that a licensed real estate agent will be able to help navigate.

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Finding Financing Options

The home buying transaction is one of the largest single financial transaction in a person’s life.   Being knowledgeable about the process will save the homebuyer from a confusing event.  From doing your due diligence to finding out how much home you can afford, knowing your credit situation and score, considerations such as; are you a veteran & the options available, are you a public servant (teacher, police officer, firefighter) – financing proposals may be available.  There are many types of loans – FHA, conventional, 30 years fixed, 15 years fixed and more.

Bankrate.com is a great place to start.  They offer information on various types of loans, mortgage rate trend analysis, mortgage lender reviews and a mortgage calculator to help you figure your monthly payment.

A licensed real estate agent can help save tons of time by explaining the mortgage process and helping you find a lender that you will be comfortable working with (if you do not already have one). The lender will guide you through the process, but you can always ask your Realtor® for assistance.

In any event, it is important for the home buyer to realize that buying a home is a legal process that has many layers.  Whether you attempt to go at it alone or hire an attorney or licensed real estate agent; make sure to do your research so that you make an informed decision that will benefit you for years to come.

Anyone can buy a home without a real estate agent, but since the seller is normally the one who pays the commission. why would anyone not want an agent helping them?

Jewel Johnson, Realtor®, Champions Real Estate Group, Ph:  832-800-4760, www.JewelJohnson.com
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