Looking to buy a home here in Lancaster PA? Have you searching Homes for sale in Lancaster PA and found that right now, there are only a few to see at a time before they go pending? How on earth can someone make a decision to buy a certain home in less than 24 hours from the time they first see it? The Answer: Real Preparedness!

Here are 5 tips for making the process of Searching through homes for sale in Lancaster PA as smooth as possible.

To know your home’s current market value, check out our free Home Valuation Tool

1. Get your finances in order.

Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report right away. Make sure all facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Next, find a lender (maybe even interview a few) in order to get preapproved for your home loan. You wouldn’t believe how many clients I’ve worked with over the years that discover inaccurate information on their credit report and don’t even know until they start the home-buying process. Once you receive your preapproval letter in hand, you will be in a better position to make a serious offer and get it accepted when you do find the right house.

2. Find a house you can afford.

As with engagement rings, there are generals rule of thumb out there when it comes to buying a home. I’ve heard some general advice of “two-and-a-half times your annual salary”. Well, for a lot of the clients I’ve helped over the years, that would be complete overkill! There are a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can actually afford. Don’t forget, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc.

3. Do your homework.

Before making your offer, do your research of homes for sale in Lancaster PA or around the area you’ve selected to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? At the time of this writing, the Lancaster market is very favorable for the seller in certain price ranges and leans more toward the buyer in other price ranges. Next, look at overall sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at historical prices over the last few months. You’ll need to come up with an asking price that’s competitive AND realistic. Otherwise, you may end up ticking off the seller.

4. Always think long term.

You shouldn’t buy unless you’re sure you’ll be staying put for a couple of years. Beyond that, you should buy in a neighborhood with good schools. Whether you have children or not, this will have an impact on your new home’s resale value down the line. When it comes to the house itself, you should always hire a home inspector. They will help you to see potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future.

I you need to sell your current home before you can buy your next one, be sure to check out the post: Preparing to Sell Your Home.

5. Hire a pro! Get setup with a top notch REALTOR®

While today’s Internet gives buyers never-before-seen access to homes for sale in Lancaster PA and there are numerous ‘resources’ out there, most aspects of the actual buying process require a level of expertise you’ll never pick up from casually surfing the web. That is why you’re better off using a professional agent than going it alone. You must find an agent who will not only have your interests at heart but can also help you with strategies during the process of negotiating the buy. The tools and strategies that we are using right now to secure homes for our buyers we weren’t even using just a couple of years ago. The only way to have this competitive edge, is to be practicing in it everyday.

To know what your home’s current market value is, click here to check out our free Home Valuation Tool.

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