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By Belinda Wilson

So do you have a New Year’s Resolutions to move into your own home in 2016? Well one of the ways to make your home-buying process easier is by advance planning. For example

1: Decide What You Want
The first step is to decide what you are looking for – what and where. Are you looking for a house or a condo? Which area would you like to live in? It can be helpful to make notes. Consider factors such as pricing, location, size, amenities (such as pool or extra-large kitchen) and design (one floor or two, colonial or modern). You may want to list your priorities so that you are prepared to make difficult decisions quickly.  If you can’t get a home at your price with all the features you want, then what features are the most important? Would you trade fewer bedrooms for a larger kitchen?

2: Get Your Financial House in Order 
Once you have an idea of what you are looking for it’s time to get realistic and determine what you can afford. Do you have enough money to meet not only the cost of the property but also all the associated costs? If not you need to start looking at loan options to find what best meets your needs and how much you can afford for repayments.

3: Find Your Estate Agent/Realtor
Buying and selling real estate is a complex matter. At first it might seem that by checking local pictures and online sites you can quickly find the right home at the right price. But homes differ and so do contract terms and closing costs so it makes sense to work with professionals . Look at the chosen estate agents’ websites and Facebook pages and don’t forget to actually make an appointment to talk to a representative. Often by forming a good relationship your agent will suggest properties that maybe you haven’t yet seen as they have only just come on to the market. Or perhaps they have realised that what you are after in the area you are after, doesn’t fall within your budget and so suggest alternatives in an area nearby that does.

Again keeping a notebook or folder on your computer with what you have seen is a good idea especially if you go for the best approach which is to look at as many homes as possible

.4: Make An Offer

At the moment it is a buyer’s market so don’t be afraid to make an offer or have your agent make it on your behalf. Again forming a good relationship with your realtor/estate agent will reap dividends in that they can give you background information on the seller to assess whether they may be amenable to a reduced price offer –perhaps because they are keen for a quick sale. Or alternatively letting you know if there has already been interest in the property that might lead them to reject your offer if it is too far removed from the asking price. However it is always good to remember “Nothing ventured nothing gained”.

5: Close On Your New Home
When all the necessary paperwork needed to complete the transaction is signed, title to the property is transferred from seller, the buyer receives the keys and the seller receives payment for the home you are then given all he necessary paperwork and remember it is extremely valuable - so hold on to it!

Also after closing, determine the status of the utilities required such as water, and electric where you will want utility bills to be paid in full by owners as of closing date with the services transferred to your name for billing.

When you move in, you may want to replace all the locks just to be safe and organise fire, theft and liability insurance.

Most importantly you should then - enjoy your new home !