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CEO and founder of HouseRebate.com

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Brian Yui on Home Buying

Brian Yui on Home Buying

He’s best known as the CEO and founder of HouseRebate.com, a full-service discount real estate agency established in 1999. But before that, Brian Yui had more than 15 years experience working for leading real estate companies, including Sunroad Enterprises and The Dermot Company. In 2004, HouseRebate.com was named a finalist for the Inman Innovator Award, which recognizes technology-driven real estate ventures, at the annual Real Estate Connect Conference. Also, he co-authored Home Buying by the Experts: The Pros Make Your Dream Home a Reality, which was released in 2005. Yui discusses his thoughts on buying a home.

What are the typical fears and questions that most homebuyers have as they start the home buying process?

One of the biggest fears or questions is: “Will I be able to afford the payments?” First-time homebuyers also wonder if it’s a good investment and if they’re buying at the right time. The whole home buying process can feel daunting, so many homebuyers fear it in general.

What are the most important questions to ask yourself before buying a home?

There are three really important questions to ask yourself: “Can I see myself living here for several years?;

” “Is this property in the right location?;” and “Is the monthly mortgage in my budget?”

What are the advantages of buying a home?

When you own your home, you’re paying rent to yourself, not a landlord. Also, as a homeowner, you’re no longer beholden to a landlord. You’re not subject to rent increases or eviction. You can redecorate and remodel as you please without having to get permission. Not only can you make improvements, the value of those improvements is all yours. Owning your own home also brings about a sense of pride. Few accomplishments in life are as enduring or enriching as the experience of owning a home.

What must be done during the first 30 days of buying a home?

First, get pre-qualified for a loan. That way, you can see how much you can afford to buy before you become emotionally invested in any property you view. Also, this will give you an idea of your monthly payments and you can figure out how much you’re willing to pay each month. Then, look only at homes in your price range.

Use the first 30 days to do tons of research. Look at schools; entertainment options, including neighborhood restaurants, for example; and potential commutes to and from work. Also, once you’ve narrowed down some neighborhoods you like, just spend some time hanging out there to get a feel of the people and the vibe.

How can people really succeed during the first 30 days of buying a home?

Be prepared and research the market, interest rates and neighborhoods. Don't take rejection of offers personally.

After your house bid is accepted, how do you prepare yourself for the next steps?

Start the loan process immediately and make sure your down payment is in place. Hire a home inspector and make arrangements with movers and utility companies.

Take everything else a week at a time: Five to six weeks prior to moving, start planning the move and consider whether you’re going to hire movers or do it yourself. Four weeks prior to closing, plan a garage sale. This is a natural time to liquidate clothes and household items that are rarely used to make your move easier and help pay for all of the little expenses that add up so quickly.

With three weeks to go, begin packing if you’re packing yourself. Work room-by-room and try to group items that you use frequently. Numbering boxes such as “Kitchen, 1 of 10, utensils” helps keep track of the boxes you need to find and open first. Keep all medical, insurance and legal records in a safe, accessible place. When paying your bills for the last time at your old address, be sure to mark address changes on the return portion. Send change-of-address cards to family and friends, magazines and newspapers, as well as any other periodic billing companies.

Two weeks prior to closing, plan meals using fresh and frozen foods already in the fridge and freezer so there is minimum waste. Call utilities (phone, cable TV, electric and gas) to disconnect services at your current address connect services at your new address. If making a long-distance move, have your vehicles tuned up and inspect the tires, brakes, lights and check all fluids.

Several days prior to the move, pack luggage that will accompany you and include anything that you will need before your household goods are delivered. Defrost and clean your refrigerator.

On your last day at your old address, consider having children visit friends or a daycare center while you or the movers are loading and unloading at your destination. Make room for the moving truck and be there to supervise the movers, point out fragile items and answer any questions they may have. If possible, pack your computer, monitor and printer in their original boxes. If not, moving companies have boxes especially for computers.

What is most important beyond the first 30 days of buying a home?

Take a deep breath and enjoy the home. Don't stress out by thinking you have to fix or remodel everything right away. Take each new project, including painting, decorating and landscaping, one step at a time—the same way you took the process of buying your home step-by-step.

SIGNATURE QUESTIONS

What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?

Change happens for a reason.

The best thing about change is…

…that it takes me to a better place.

What is the best change you have ever made?

Leaving corporate America to become an entrepreneur.

For more information about Brian Yui, visit www.houserebate.com.

Posted: 10/3/07
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