One of the most frequent real estate questions that I get from Pasadena real estate buyers is "How can we get more house for our money?"

Here are the top 5 home buying tips:

Home Buying Tip #1: Do not be afraid to ask the seller to contribute towards your closing costs. Most banks will allow up to 6% of non-recurring costs to be contributed by the seller. These dollars can be best applied towards buying down the interest rate on your home loan. The lower the interest rate, the lower the payment, the more house you can afford.

READ MORE: Recurring and Non - Recurring Closing Costs

Home Buying Tip #2: Always get a home inspection before buying a home. A home inspection is different from a home appraisal. A home inspection will help you not only understand the condition of the home's major systems, but will also help in negotiating concessions, repairs or to renegotiate the price if problems are found. It is also very important to get a separate sewer line inspection since most general inspectors will not be able to tell the condition of the sewer lines. There are specialized inspectors that will snake the lines and will give a home buyer pretty good idea what is going on under the house.

Home Buying Tip #3: Don't just shop for a home loan rate. Ensure that you find a knowledgeable and reputable lender that can discuss various options available to the home buyer. There are still wonderful down payment assistance programs and first time home buyer programs available. Also, there are various conventional loan programs that can be tailored to the home buyer's specific needs and lots of school districts like LAUSD have negotiated special home buying loans with various lenders.

Another consideration in today's real estate market is that banks are much tighter with their money. Once you find a Pasadena home that you love, a buyer needs to ensure that the lender can follow through on what he or she promised and close the loan. Otherwise, you will be out of pocket for appraisal, home inspections and other fees. Your Pasadena real estate agent will be able to provide you with references to lenders with proven results.

Home Buying Tip #4: Look for homes that have been on the market for awhile. Real Estate agents, as well as home buyers tend to only look at homes that are newly listed. That is all nice and well, but the home sellers that have possibly overpriced their homes originally and have reduced since or waiting for an offer, any offer, might be willing to negotiate the home price more aggressively than the ones that just put their Pasadena home for sale. Check my monthly Dusty Deals list for these "stale" homes for sale.

Home Buying Tip #5: Work with an experienced real estate agent. A real estate agent can make or break a home sale. She is the resource for reputable lenders, inspectors, contractors and others critical parties to the home buying process. A real estate agent that is knowledgeable will be able to write a home sale contract in a way that will protect the buyer and bring the positive aspect of buyer's offer to the seller. A local real estate expert will be able to provide a home buyer with home selling trends and advise on the appropriate offer price and negotiate like a bulldog to ensure that you get the most home for your dollar.

READ MORE: What can you expect from a great real estate agent? This post has a really funny video to entertain you, but underneath is a list of what I would expect from my real estate agent.

Posted by Irina Netchaev, Pasadena Real Estate Agent - 626-629-8439