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Home Buying 101 Buying a home is a process somewhat similar to buying a new car -- it’s a lofty investment that requires a large capital, tons of negotiating power and a willingness to be okay with possibly losing money in the short term. If you’re one of those people about to embark on their first home buying experience, consider the items below to help you make the smooth out the process. Make the home a long term investment. The longer you remain in the home, the more equity and/or value it will generate. Selling it too soon ultimately ends up at a loss if you add up the multiple fees and costs that go into buying a home. Check your credit beforehand. Look over your report. Is there something unusual that might cause a lender to think twice? Remove anything that could cause you to be turned down or better yet, consider obtaining a mortgage pre-approval. Work within your means. Living in a Miami Beach condo is a dream shared by many and realized by few. Look for a property that you like but that you know you’ll be able to pay off along with all the other bills that often come with it, (i.e., utilities, telephone, cable) and your other monthly expenses. A 20% down payment is not final. You may have to do additional legwork and have spotless credit but there are private lenders who will approve a mortgage at five percent or less of the home’s asking price which should make the whole thing much more affordable for you. Check out the local schools. You may not care for a school if you don’t have kids but living near one of them means your home will build more value than one that doesn’t. Come the day you decide to sell your home, not only can you can set a higher selling price, your chances of finding willing buyers is substantially increased. A real estate agent saves you time and money. The entire purchasing process can be confusing what with will all the legalities, fees and paperwork. Real estate agents are trained to assist buyers and can explain to you all the pertinent information in plain English. Strongly consider paying the closing interest. Paying this interest equals a lower monthly home mortgage payment which makes sense if the home will become your permanent residence.

Understanding an MLS Listing Sheet MLS is also known as Multiple Listing Service. It is basically a service where all Realtors from different companies, franchises, and cities can come to share information about their properties for sale.

As a consumer - and, prior to the Internet -- you had to talk to a real estate agent to get any information about properties. Luckily with the technology we have today, a consumer can get loads of information about homes and the neighborhood before they even drive by.

When looking at any MLS listing sheet - buyers need to zero in on several things that give you the most information about the property. 1. Price 2. Taxes. This is vitally important in not only figuring your monthly payment but also your debt to income ratio which factors into what loans and interest rates you will ultimately be able to afford. Make sure the semi tax isn't out of your budget. 3. Utilities - some MLS systems allow for the actual averages of gas, water, and electric bills. Others do not. Scan down and find out the companies because high gas or electric bills could indicate other problems down the road. 4. Utility Options: Depending on the system that is used (and they aren't all the same) typically lists what is available as in high speed internet, cable, etc. If you work from home - this is vital to your productivity. 5. Square footage. Everyone gets hung up on square footage. Truth be told - it's not as important as the amenity value in relation to it. 6. Many systems are now implementing a longitude /latitude value of which you can map yourself right to the front door. This is an invaluable service especially if you are considering any purchase that involves acreage or waterfront. Don't trust the landscaping or the mowing lines - these are oftentimes wrong. There is a great deal of valuable information on an MLS sheet so be sure and check it over carefully for each home you are considering.