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1. Narrow your search down to houses that can be sold using FHA financing.
The Federal Housing Association only offers loans for houses that are up to code, so the houses that qualify for this type of loan are in better condition than conventional loans. FHA financing is also easier to qualify for than conventional financing. If you have over a 520 credit rating, without defaults or foreclosures, you may qualify. You don't need to have a perfect credit score to get qualified.
2. Less populated areas are great deals.
The benefits of moving into an area that is more secluded are that you usually get more acreage, peace and quiet, and often purchase your property at a much lower price. Plus, if you choose a house with extra land, you can live there for a number of years and then sell part of the land, but still keep your house and some of the land for yourself. The only downside to these properties is they are usually a little farther away from shopping centers, freeways, schools, and the like.
3. Foreclosed homes are priced low to sell fast.
The lenders are not trying to make money off these deals. They just want them sold quickly, so they can stop losing on an investment that is sitting vacant. This is a great opportunity for you to buy one for yourself. While it's true that some are in bad condition, many are also in great condition and can easily sell through FHA financing.
4. Short Sales.
These deals are just as good as foreclosed homes because the bank is still the one doing the selling, even though the owner still has possession of the property. These types of sales occur when a home owner is in default on their loan, so they come to an agreement where the lender sells the house for them. In such an instance, the bank pays for all the costs of selling the house and the owner does not have a foreclosure looming on their credit. The bank/lender also wants to sell these homes fast just like foreclosed homes, and prices them to sell fast.
5. HUD repos.
These are also great deals because HUD lowers the prices of their houses periodically until they sell. Some HUD repos that are in poor condition can be sold with 203k financing, which allows the buyer to get a loan in excess of what the house is worth in order to make improvements. This allows the buyer to have the house redone to match their own tastes and still pay a low price.In addtion, if you are a full time police officer, fire figher, EMT, or a K - 12 teacher, you can get 50 percent off the appraised value of a property as long as you reside in it for the next 36 months. It is called the Good Neighbor Next Door (GNND) Sales Program. You must use a certified broker in order to purchase a HUD repo.
6. Searching the MLS.
Always include the maximum price you're willing to pay when searching online for houses, but never include a minimum price in your query. There might be something perfect for you that is a better deal than what you expected.
7. Consider buying in a neighboring city.
Don't dedicate your property search to one small area, like looking only in the West side of one city. If you don't like one particular area, then try adding in a neighboring city that might be appealing. Otherwise, you are limiting your search to a fraction of great houses out there that could be perfect for you.
8. Get an agent who will work hard to find you the perfect house.
Real estate agents are free to buyers, so take advantage of their knowledge. Real estate agents also keep you out of legal trouble and make the entire buying process easier. Have an agent search houses for you after you've searched on your own because they might find some great properties that you missed.