Angie's list

SHREVEPORT, La. - Home buying can be one of the most exciting times in your life. However, finding a place that you love that’s also within your budget can quickly turn it from exciting to stressful. To navigate the process successfully, there are some key points to keep in mind, according to Angie Hicks of Angie’s List.

"Before you start shopping seriously for your new home, make sure you research the loan process and pre-approval process for your mortgage," Angie List's co-founder Angie Hicks said. "That way, you’ll know how much buying power you have and you’ll be ready to make an offer when you find the house you love. You don't want to be stuck scrambling to get pre-approval on your mortgage and miss your perfect home. 

Having your financing confidently in place is important for getting you started on the right path, but it’s just the first step.

"Work with an experienced realtor you trust because they will be able to guide you though the process, from start ti finish, or buying your new home," Hicks said. When researching your realtors, be sure they have experience with buyers, and not just sellers. Also, make sure they have a good understanding of the neighborhood you want to buy in. 

Having a knowledgeable ally is crucial as you submit offers, negotiate with sellers and work towards a deal. But even the best realtor can’t get every deal to close, especially if the housing market is hot.

"Be prepared for a lengthy process when shopping and buying your home, especially in a competitive real estate market," Hicks said. "You’re going to have to prepare yourself for some “no’s” along the way, so keep a sensible head and don’t just fall in love with the first house you see."

Once you do have an offer that is accepted by the seller, now is the time for due diligence.

"It’s the responsibility of the buyer to make sure you’re not buying someone else’s problems, so make sure that you’ve researched and identified an experienced, qualified home inspector to help guide you through this process," Hicks said. 

Don’t be afraid to ask the seller for more information.

"Don’t miss out on transferable warranties for large projects the seller might have already done, such as putting in windows or roofing," Hicks said. "So be sure to ask your realtor to inquire about those types of projects."

As you move from an accepted offer towards your closing date, keep in mind that your financing isn’t final yet.

"During the homebuying process, try not to make large purchases or co-sign on any items because that can impact your borrowing capacity," Hicks said. "And it’s not just you that you need to keep in mind—also your partner."

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