6 Insider Tips for Home Buyers

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While trading stocks on the basis of insider information could earn you a vacation in one of Uncle Sam’s less desirable destinations, insider info can be just as valuable — and legal — in a lot of other situations. Like buying a house.

We’ve all seen at least one of the cable TV real estate shows in which the potential buyer agonizes over the location versus the price versus the color of the bathroom tile. Everybody’s got problems.

So let’s say you’ve been looking at houses for a while and have finally found one that fills the bill. Now what?

Laura Agadoni at Trulia.com has put together a list of six “insider” tips that could keep you either from making a big mistake or from getting the house you want at the right price. Here’s the list.

Look for flaws in the foundation. Hire a home inspector. A damaged foundation might not be apparent to the untrained eye. There are signs — cracks in the wall, uneven floors, sticking doors — but the big question is how big a deal are they and how much will they cost to fix. Hire a licensed inspector or structural engineer.

Think strategically, especially in a hot housing market. In some markets, homes sell within days — not weeks or months — after receiving multiple offers that are often above the asking price. Give yourself an edge by writing a personal note to the sellers explaining why the house is perfect for you. Also, ask your agent to use social media to let other agents know what you’re looking for.

Get the inside scoop. Do a little digging. Stroll around the neighborhood, and if you see a neighbor out doing a little gardening or washing a car, strike up a conversation about the house down the block that’s for sale. You never know what you’ll find out.

Use pricing psychology. Home price numerology works for buyers as well as sellers. If the house is listed at $239,900 and you know from your agent that the buyer is already considering other offers, make an offer that does not end in 5 or 0 — in this case, say $246,000 or $251,000, if you think the bidding could have gone that high.

Be the likable buyer. The buyer will get to meet you even if only in the paperwork you submit. If you notice something in a tour that indicates a common interest with the seller, make sure to mention it in the personal note you submit with your offer.

Keep an open mind. When a home is for sale because the owner has died or had to move to an assisted living center, chances are the interior is dated and not attractive to many buyers. This may be an opportunity to get a well-maintained, quality home that can be updated.

For more details see the Trulia.com website.