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Tip 1


Finding the Perfect Neighborhood

The neighborhood you choose can have a big impact on your lifestyle, safety, available amenities, and convenience all play their part.

1. Make a list of the activities movies, health club, church you engage in regularly and stores you visit frequently. See how far you would have to travel from each neighborhood you're considering to engaging in your most common activities.

2. Check out the school district. The Department of Education in your town can probably provide information on test scores, class size, percentage of students who attend college, and special enrichment programs. If you have school-age children, also consider paying a visit to schools in the neighborhoods you're considering. Even if you don't have children, a house in a good school district will be easier to sell in the future.

3. Find out if the neighborhood is safe. Ask the police department for neighborhood crime statistics. Consider not only the number of crimes but also the type of burglaries, armed robberies and the trend of increasing or decreasing crime. Also, is crime centered in only one part of the neighborhood, such as near a retail area?

4. Determine if the neighborhood is economically stable. Check with your local city economic development office to see if income and property values in the neighborhood are stable or rising. What is the percentage of homes to apartments? Apartments don't necessarily diminish value, but they do mean a more transient population. Do you see vacant businesses or homes that have been for sale for months?

5. See if you'll make money. Ask a local REALTOR or call the local REALTOR association to get information about price appreciation trends in the neighborhood. Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, this information may give you a sense of how good an investment your home will be. A REALTOR or the government planning agency also may be able to tell you about planned developments or other changes in the neighborhood like a new school or highway that might affect value.

6. See for yourself. Once you've narrowed your focus to two or three neighborhoods, go there, and walk around. Are homes tidy and well maintained? Are streets quiet? Pick a warm day if you can and chat with people working or playing outside. Are they friendly? Are their children to play with your family?
 

Tip 2


Take the Trauma Out of Homebuying

1. Find a real estate professional who's simpatico. Homebuying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It's critical that the practitioner you chose is both skilled and a good fit with your personality.

2. Remember, there's no "right" time to buy, any more than there's a right time to sell. If you find a home now, don't try to second-guess the interest rates or the housing market by waiting. Changes don't usually occur fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won't stay on the market long.

3. Don't ask for too many opinions. It's natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas will make it much harder to make a decision.

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect. Focus in on the things that are most important to you and let the minor ones go.

5. Don't try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to "win" by getting an extra-low price may lose you the home you love.

6. Remember your home doesn't exist in a vacuum. Don't get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself-room size, kitchen-that you forget such issues as amenities, noise level, etc., that have a big impact on what it's like to live in your new home.

7. Don't wait until you've found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate insurance availability, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.

8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-homebuying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be some costs. Don't leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

9. Accept that a little buyer's remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big commitment, but it also yields big benefits.

10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually from 1998 to 2002, a home's most important role is as a comfortable, safe place to live.

Tip 3


5 Credit Score Factors

5 Factors That Decide Your Credit Score

Credit scores range between 200 and 800. Scores above 620 are considered desirable for obtaining a mortgage. These factors will affect your score.

1. Your payment history. Whether you paid credit card obligations on time.

2. How much you owe. Owing a great deal of money on numerous accounts can indicate that you are overextended.

3. The length of your credit history. In general, the longer the better.

4. How much new credit you have. New credit, either installment payments or new credit cards, are considered more risky, even if you pay promptly.

5. The types of credit you use. Generally, it's desirable to have more than one type of credit-installment loans, credit cards, and a mortgage, for example.

Tip 4


8 Ways to Improve Your Credit


Credit scores, along with your overall income and debt, are a big factor in determining if you'll qualify for a loan and what loan terms you'll be able to qualify for.

1. Check for and correct errors in your credit report. Mistakes happen, and you could be paying for someone else's poor financial management.

2. Pay down credit card bills. If possible, pay off the entire balance every month. However, transferring credit card debt from one card to another could lower your score.

3. Don't charge your credit cards to the maximum limit.

4. Wait 12 months after credit difficulties to apply for a mortgage. You're penalized less for problems after a year.

5. Don't purchase big-ticket items for your new home on credit cards until after the loan is approved. The amounts will add to your debt.

6. Don't open new credit card accounts before applying for a mortgage. Having too much available credit can lower your score.

7. Shop for mortgage rates all at once. Too many credit applications can lower your score, but multiple inquiries from the same type of lender are counted as one inquiry if submitted over a short period of time.

8. Avoid finance companies. Even if you pay the loan on time, the interest is high and it will probably be considered a sign of poor credit management.


Century 21 Gemini Realty, 86 Wolfeboro Road, Alton, NH 03809      Cell: (603) 651-8806      Office: (603) 875-2100      Fax: (603) 875-2166
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Century 21 Real Estate LLC and its parent company, Realogy Corporation (NYSE:H), fully support the principles of the Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968).

Each CENTURY 21 Office Is Independently Owned And Operated. All rights reserved. Information appearing on this site has been produced by or obtained primarily from Century 21 Real Estate LLC and its representatives and from CENTURY 21 franchisees. Century 21 Real Estate LLC is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of the broker information, sales associate information, listing information or other information provided by our franchisees appearing on or through this site. Such information has been provided by independent third parties who are solely responsible for such content. Certain conditions and restrictions apply to System promotions.
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