Emily Merkley, association executive, Cache-Rich Association of REALTORS®

Aiming to help homeowners avoid the common pitfalls of a real estate transaction when buying or selling a home, this issue details the process of contracts, counter offers, and negotiations.

There are countless details that need to be taken care of between an offer and a closing, which leaves room and opportunity for time-consuming and costly mistakes. Navigating contracts, negotiating offers and counter offers, and juggling multi-offer scenarios are just a few of those important details. Further complications often arise when buyers make offers without first being pre-approved or pre-qualified, when offers are contingent on the sale of an existing home, or if an appraisal does not support the offer price, in which case, additional negotiation may be necessary. Any of these can be overwhelming, and the possibility of error becomes high.

A REALTOR© is a professional who navigates the process and has the experience to help you avoid many of these setbacks. In fact, the ideal scenario is that a real estate transaction involves a willing buyer and willing seller, both of whom utilize REALTOR© representation.

Kristine Fronk, of Dwell Realty Group, explains the complexity of real estate transactions and the advantage of using a licensed REALTOR©. “Rates have continued to remain low, prices have continued to rise, and we currently only have one-third of our average home inventory on the market. The competition is fierce, and pricing, staging, photos, and listing a home is just the tip of the iceberg in this seller’s market,” she said. “Knowing how to navigate this competitive market is crucial for both sellers and buyers. Understanding contracts and knowing how to protect yourself and your investment makes all the difference in your success.”

During the buying and selling process of your home, you will find yourself in a position to negotiate many different things, but peace of mind and security of your investment shouldn’t be included.

Four New Year’s Resolutions to Help You Buy a Home This Year

Put your savings goals first.

Instead of just thinking about saving, start the New Year off right with a resolution to jump-start your savings for a down payment on your first home. Online mortgage payment calculators and mortgage affordability calculators can help you decide how much you should put away. If you’re worried that the traditional 20 percent down payment may be too difficult to save in a year, don’t be. There are many loan products available that require little money down.

Improve your credit score.

Your credit score is a very important variable that lenders consider when deciding on your mortgage loan. To make sure you get the best possible rates, start improving your credit now. Make it a goal in the new year to keep your credit card balances low, pay your bills on time, and avoid opening new lines of credit.

Pay down your debt.

While improving your credit score will help you secure a better rate, your debt-to-income ratio is still an important factor for lenders. To help you achieve a favorable rate, focus on paying down your existing debt as much as possible. With fewer dollars owed, you will be in a better position to afford a mortgage once you buy a home.

Contact a local REALTOR®.

Buying a home on your own is no easy task, which is why most home buyers opt to utilize the talents of a knowledgeable, local REALTOR®. Talk to a friend or family member who has recently purchased a home and ask for recommendations. Do your research, and choose the right professional for you.