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The 3 things you should know before buying a home

Community Voice

The La Grange area is still hot for people wanting to buy a home. How do I know? In September 2012, there were 33 homes put on the market. In September of 2013, there were only 26. These same single family homes in averaged 101 days on the market in 2012. In September 2013, they were only on the market for 68 days. So, what does that mean? It means that there are less homes on the market, and they are selling faster. 

Here are some simple tips to help make your home shopping experience a pleasant one. 

Figure out what you can afford

After selecting your local real estate expert, getting pre-approved is the next step. Most local banks and financial institutions will be glad to sit down with you and discuss getting pre-approved for a mortgage, so you know exactly how much you can spend. This will eliminate 90 percent of possible frustrations.

The next thing to think about is your monthly payment. Will you still be comfortable spending that amount on a monthly basis? Have you considered what your monthly bills may be? Other monthly costs can include electricity, gas, garbage, internet service, cable, phone bills, a home repair fund and so on. Spending every nickel you have on the biggest home may look impressive but being able to live comfortably within your means is the key to long term happiness.

Location, Location, Location 

There are many factors that go into location: Commute, affordability, schools, friends, safety ... these are just some of the few things that could matter to you. Now that you know how much home you can afford, your agent will be able to show you homes that fit your criteria. Even though the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings, most new buyers (and many more experienced ones) are better off using a professional agent.

Identify any roadblocks

One of the worst feelings in the world is when you have fallen in love with a home that sits on the perfect street, in the perfect school system, close to your favorite pizza place and right around the corner from the best park in the neighborhood and have the deal that you are working on fall apart for something that could have been avoided. The roadblock could be insufficient down payment, your job, inability to sell your own property, a poor credit score or something else that is fixable. With time, any roadblock can be removed. A competent agent will know how to work most roadblocks out.

Steve Jasinski is president of the La Grange Business Association and a realtor with the Dean Rouso Home Team at Baird & Warner.

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