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Sounds like this was written by a real estate agent.
1st Ok get preapproved it will let you know how much you can borrow, but you need to know what you want to can afford to spend. even if you tell them you don't want to spend that much it is hard if not impossible to get them to show them the best in what you want to spend. if you tell them you are approved for a 200K loan but your top is 150K you will see everything in the 140 to 175 range even though you told them you would really like to spend 125. with a few 200K plus houses just so you could see what you could buy.
2nd Never and I mean never tell the agent what you are approved for or what your top price is. Most agents work on commission the higher the selling price the more their commission. This is true for listing agent, buyers agent or a random agent.
3rd Most houses don't sell over night so unless it is the perfect house in the perfect location with the perfect price don't get into a bidding war the only ones to "win" this is the seller and sells people.
4th . Easy fixes are not always so easy, quick or cheap, many agents will tell you that is easy to change or fix this or that but are not in the business of repairing homes. they are in the business of selling on commission.
5th while new appliances are nice but if you have them put in the house and included in the price of the house you will be paying for them long after they have been replaced. buy them separate if possible.
6th A rule of thumb is the monthly payment will be 1% of the cost of the house. Interest, principle, taxes.
There are more homes out there than you can shake a stick at so shop...Willow is a great site for a birds eye view...lol.
Some excellent suggestions in both the article and the comments. The secret is the buyer has to be realistic. You should have a basic needs list and a wish list, and don't confuse the two. Being over extended on a house is not just a financial issue, it can effect the family relationships and how safe and secure children feel. You are not just buying a house. but creating a home.
True that you shouldn't buy the max you are qualified for. Remember you might have had utilities covered in your rent but now you have to pay for them. You are also responsible for repairs and upkeep now so budget accordingly. Big homes are all the rage but a family of three doesn't need a six bedroom home. Seperate what you need from what you want and be smart with the features you choose and let go of. Keep in mind your mortgage stays the same but property and local taxes do go up and increase your monthly payment. Check the hell out of the community statistics and visit the neighborhood on a weekend and a weekday. Make sure you get an inspection done by a good qualified inspection company. Make sure you find a good agent. Be good to your agent because they will be looking out for your best interest.
Stop worrying so much. You'll be happy once your moved in and wonder why you stressed out soo much during the process. Make sure you can justify why your bid is lower than asking price. The home may be priced high but you shouldn't low ball and throw the seller an offer 30% lower than asking just because you want to save money. All homes have problems, they can be fixed. Don't let a scary looking inspection report turn you away. Don't let a bad roof cause you to miss out on the home of your dreams and for god sakes stop asking for a ten thousand dollar reduction for a three thousand dollar roof job. Always ask questions because regardless of how many articles youv'e read your not a professional. Don't call your realtor at three in the morning to ask the question.