Whether you’ve spent years saving and preparing to buy a home, or are unsure if you can afford it, the questions surrounding a house purchase can feel endless.

You can find the answers – and peace of mind – by working with ERAKA at BEAR Realty, the industry leader in experience and service.

If you’re a renter who isn’t quite ready to make the homeownership leap, use ERAKA SIMS to compile a game plan and earn credits toward your closing costs.

Here are some tips to help you become your own landlord.

1. Hire a real estate professional.
The first step is to ask ERAKA SIMS to help you find your dream home and fine-tune your financial expectations. Alabama has Agency Laws. We have to determine if we are working with a buyer, seller or just as a “transaction agent.”Working with a buyer agent is worth consideration since he or she is legally responsible for representing the buyer’s interest in a real estate transaction. Before making a decision, schedule an “orientation” meeting with ERAKA explain the pros and cons of using a buyer agent versus a sales or dual agent. ERAKA can guide you through every step to buying a home.  At that time you will probably want to “Retain” Eraka as your Realtor.

2. Shop for mortgage rates and terms.
A difference of even half a percentage point can make a huge difference in how much you pay over the life of a loan. For example, the difference in the monthly payment on a $100,000 mortgage at 4 percent vs. 5 percent is about $59. per month.

3. Prequalify for a loan.
PREQUALIFICATION FOR A LOAN-THIS SHULD BE DONE BEFORE YOU EVER LOOK FOR A PROPERTY!!!  Pre-qualification determines how much you can afford and it can ALSO determine which type of property that you purchase.  It allows you to move swiftly when you find the right home, especially when there are other interested buyers. It also indicates to the seller that you are serious and really can afford to buy the property. Some properties today will not even look at an offer without a pre-approval letter.

4. Define what you want.
The next step is to create a realistic idea of the property you’d like to buy. What features are most important to you? Make two lists: one of the items you can’t live without and one of the features you would enjoy. Refine the lists as you house hunt. It is also helpful to search online to see what is currently available on the market. ERAKA being a Professional can then show you houses that meet your expectations.

5. Visit properties.
Now you’re ready to visit houses. Ask ERAKA to arrange showings, and keep track of the properties you’ve seen.

6. Know the features that help or hurt resale.
In some areas, a swimming pool actually detracts from a home’s value and makes it harder to sell. In neighborhoods with two-car, attached garages, a single-car or detached garage may impact the home sale and future value. ERAKA your BEAR Realty professional can point out features that hurt, and those that help, resale value.

7. Rate the houses you tour.
After touring each home, write down what you liked and didn’t like. Develop a rating system that will help narrow the field down. For example, pick the house you like best on day one and compare all other houses to it. When you find a better one, use the new favorite as the standard.

8. Make an offer.
Once you’ve pinpointed your dream house, it’s time to get serious about the financial and contractual side of the purchase. ERAKA your BEAR Realty Consultant will be a strong advantage since you and the seller have different goals. Rememer, “The House You Looked at Today and Want to Think About Until Tomorrow May Be the Same Home Someone Else Looked at Yesterday and Will Buy Today.” Todays market in the Birmingham-Tuscaloosa Metro areas are very fast. We are seeing alot of multiple contracts on the same property. What this means is that we may have several contracts come in on the same property within minutes of each other….at that point you need a professional that will put you in the best position possible.

9. Arrange for a home inspection.
After your offer is accepted, set up a home inspection. It’s common to find problems, including leaky roofs, cracked walls, insect infestations and foundation problems. If you negotiate repairs as part of the purchase, ask for a “;walk through” before finalizing the paperwork. Ask ERAKA about home protection plans, which may save you money in the near future.

10. Close.
Before your closing date, make sure you’ve made all necessary deposits and completed the paperwork – including mortgage, title, homeowners insurance and any other paperwork required by local or state governments. When ERAKA is your Realtor she usually sets closing up with a professional closing attorney for you.

11. Prepare for life in your new home.
Before rolling out the welcome mat, consider some moving basics: arranging for an alarm company, turning on electricity, water and gas, cleaning or replacing the carpet, and notifying your local post office of your new address. The best time for renovations is often before you move in.