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Hire A Buyer's Agent
There currently are more homes for sale than there are eligible buyers, making now a good time to purchase a house or condominium. To avoid overpaying for that purchase, borrowers should be certain to obtain written mortgage pre-approval from a lender. Taking this step will ensure that the house-hunters are considering only those properties that they can afford.

Prospective homebuyers also should visit many other homes in a neighborhood before making a decision to buy a house there. One good way to accomplish this is by visiting as many Sunday open houses as possible.

While many homebuyers launch their search for property online, the Internet still is merely a starting point. For this reason, the assistance of a savvy buyer's agent ? who represents the interests of the buyer alone ? who is familiar with the targeted community is critical. This professional also will prove invaluable in finding out the seller's motivation for unloading the property as well as what price the owners paid for the residence ? information that will give the buyer leverage for negotiations.

Also with the help of the buyer's agent, home bidders should craft an initial bid that is fair but not their best offer. Buyers must remember that they can always increase their purchase offer later, but they cannot lower it.

"Five Rules to Avoid Overpaying for Your Next House or Condo," Inman News Features Online (01/04/02); Bruss, Robert J.

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