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Home hunting and buying: tips to help you

April is the Home Builders Association of Dayton’s New Home Month. Your Better Business Bureau offers potential home buyers house-hunting tips. Buying a home is one of the largest purchases you’ll make, so take your time.

One decision to make is whether to build a new home or buy an existing home. There are pros and cons for each. For instance, a new home often offers more amenities, but it may cost more than an existing comparable home. On the other hand, existing homes have landscaping already installed and are in established neighborhoods, whereas in a new home you could be unpleasantly surprised with what goes into undeveloped land nearby.

Your BBB offers additional tips:

• Determine your budget and decide which type of loan you want, fixed or adjustable, and get pre-approved for a mortgage.

• Save for a down-payment. Putting at least 20 percent down can help you avoid paying Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), which protects the lender if you default on the loan.

• Research homes online to narrow down your target neighborhood, home style and what’s in your price range.

• Ask family and friends to recommend lenders, realtors, home builders, etc. If they’re pleased with who they used, you’ll likely be too.

• Make a list of things you need versus things you want. The things you need are deal breakers, while wants can be sacrificed.

• Talk to a real estate professional. They can talk you through the process. They know the market well and what realistic contingencies you can get with your offer.

• Inspect the property thoroughly and consider hiring a professional inspector. Make sure you know what you’re getting for the price; some repairs may not be visible.

• Don’t be pressured into signing documents with blank lines and ask questions about items you don’t understand.

However, there may be other factors affecting your choice, like the school district or commute to work. Don’t focus on things that can be changed like paint or carpet. Instead, look for things like the neighborhood or home size.

Looking for a home can be time-consuming, but take your time and do your research. Remember, you can get help from your BBB, such as a list of BBB Accredited realtors, mortgage companies or home inspectors and reviews on ones you’re considering. Contact your BBB by calling (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301 or visiting

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