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Archive for Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Home-buying season begins

February 19, 2002

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The best time to put your house on the market is now until the end of August, area real estate professionals say.

"Buyers and sellers want to get their kids situated before a new school year starts," said Bryan Hedges, president of Realty Executives Hedges Real Estate, 1037 Vt.

Homebuyers Stephanie and Joe Berns are searching for more space
following the arrival of their son, Liam. Mark Hess, an agent for
Realty Executives Hedges Real Estate, center, showed the Bernses a
home last week in northwest Lawrence.

Homebuyers Stephanie and Joe Berns are searching for more space following the arrival of their son, Liam. Mark Hess, an agent for Realty Executives Hedges Real Estate, center, showed the Bernses a home last week in northwest Lawrence.

The market is good for both sides right now, but before you set your sights on a house to buy, it's best to do a little research.

"Have an idea what you are looking for, if you are not certain," he said. "Start by comparing the advantages and disadvantages of each house you look at."

If you are seriously considering making a house purchase, you can jump start the process by getting preapproved by a mortgage lender.

"We are seeing buyers get credit reports so they know what loan they qualify for before they go house hunting," Hedges said.

It's important to get a preapproved loan, he said, because that could make the difference if going up against a competing offer for a house you want.

"It's the next best thing to a cash offer," Hedges said.

When reviewing prospective properties, it's good to remember that each house is different.

Depending on what year the house is you want to by, "buyers should be looking for different criteria for a new and old construction," said Alan Miller, sales manager for Re/Max Professionals, 600 Lawrence Ave.

For a new home, he said, be sure to check out what isn't always easily visible. Look for a level foundation, adequate drainage and true steps and porches.

"If it's not constructed properly, it can place a burden on the buyer," said Miller, who added that talking with the home's builder can be a big help.

In an older home, maintenance is key.

"Buyers should look at what's been updated like the heater, air conditioner, plumbing," says Chris Earl, an agent for Stephens Real Estate.

When the buyer and agent do a walk through, it's important to notice all aspects of the property's maintenance both consistent and inconsistent inside and outside the house.

And to help get you the home of your dreams, it's always good to have a little help.

Choosing a buyer's agent means having a professional who works on your behalf.

That means locating prospects, negotiating a price, ironing out contract details and helping you through closing and beyond.

"If you're loyal to them, they'll spend more time working for you and know what you are looking for," Hedges said.

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