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Homebuying advice from the Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors

by: SUBMITTED LOGO - PMARResearch shows that by the end of January, a third of New Year’s resolutions are already a fading memory. Consumers whose goal is to buy a home in 2013 can follow a specific plan of action to make this one resolution that can be kept.

Step 1: It’s the money, honey

Portland Metropolitan Association real estate experts agree that before all else, buyers should meet with a lender or mortgage broker.

“The No. 1 most important thing buyers can do before they start their home search is to meet with a lender and determine their qualifications for and type of loan program they will be using,” said Franki Keefe, RE/MAX Equity Group. “Without the price range determination, it is impossible for their agent to properly represent them in their purchase of a new home.”

The sooner potential buyers meet with their lenders the better. Buyers may need several months to allow time for fixing credit errors and time to develop a financial strategy, according to Gary Majors, Markram Properties LLC.

“Simply paying off debt may not be the best use of available funds, and often times potential buyers may hamstring their ability to qualify for a home purchase by addressing the wrong items,” Majors said. “Working with a lender ahead of time also provides an opportunity to find and fix any credit issues, many of which the buyer may not realize are present.”

Once your finances are in order, it’s time to decide what type of loan will work best for you. Earline Penson, Coldwell Banker Seal, suggests buyers proactively research their options. Penson encourages potential buyers to visit hownw.com — a public service website — to review finance products.

Step 2: Your new best friend

Buying a home is a complicated process and you’ll need an expert to help you.

“Find a qualified Realtor who will work with you from property search to closing — every step of the way — and guide you through the many stages of the homebuying process,” said Keefe.

Ask friends and family for recommendations. Perhaps you’ve seen a Realtor or two selling homes in your neighborhood. Interview a few until you find one you are comfortable with.

Penson advises first-time homebuyers to supplement the education they might receive from their Realtor by attending a class or workshop.

Visit http://hownw.com/education.php for a list of avaible classes in the Portland metropolitan area.

Step 3: Know what you want

Penson suggests potential buyers stop by open houses in the areas where they want to live, so they can get an idea of prices.

“Be prepared to act quickly as the inventory of homes is at all-time lows,” said Steve Ticknor, of Summa Real Estate Group. “The good homes go very quickly, and we have seen multiple offers more often than not recently. Should you make a full price offer? Offer more? How many other offers are on the table? This is where your Realtors’ expertise in negotiations will prove invaluable.”

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