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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

It’s the moment, other than finding Mr./Ms. Right, planning a wedding, and starting a family that you’ve been waiting for. It’s that magic moment when you’re ready to take the plunge and buy your first home, or upgrade from the one you have.

And, while most of us associate looking for a home with location and aesthetics, there's much more to it than that. In fact, the key to opening the door of your new home is learning how to negotiate the purchase.

First, you need to understand what you want and keep in mind that the property must be appraised with the lender considering the fair market value the home.

Because property values tend to fluctuate, you need to educate yourself via online resources or consult a trustworthy and reputable mortgage professional to do a comparative marking analysis. And, this helps you gain insight as to whether the seller’s asking price is realistic, based on location, upgrades, condition of the home, age of home etc.

Keep in mind that while you have a wish list, so does the seller. And, experts suggest tuning in to find out what their hot buttons are. And, they suggest using this information as leverage for getting what you want out of the deal. Consider that they may have already made another purchase and need to cell, or they may need to locate or they may have had the house on the market for quite some time and are eager to “unload” it.

Also, try, if possible, to find out what the current mortgage is and use this also to your advantage. But, remember, if the seller wants to get out because of necessary repairs they don’t want to deal with of problems in the neighborhood, these issues will now belong to you, along with your new home.

Regarding neighborhood issues, experts suggest driving around and walking through the area at various parts of the day, making observations and taking note. You may also want to speak with neighbors and local merchants, as well as the police department about the climate of the area especially in relation to crime. And, you can also check the local paper for such statistics.

If the seller is adamant about getting their requests met, make sure that your needs and wants are being met in return as well.

Note that generally certain amenities such as a dishwasher or garbage disposal stay with the home and you can also negotiate other items in exchange for something on the seller’s wish list that they consider valuable or important.

Finally, and probably most importantly make sure you get EVERYTHING in writing and that it’s all included in the contract of sale to avoid ANY possible or potential misunderstanding.

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