For those buyers who have just begun your search there are a few steps that you should take in order to make this process as enjoyable and stress free as possible!
- Go thru the pre-approval process, and get a PRE APPROVAL LETTER & YOUR ESTIMATED CLOSING COSTS
- Find an agent that you are comfortable with, and understand your wants & needs, this is a BUYERS BROKER
- Sign up for a LISTINGBOOK ACCOUNT
- What are YOUR WANTS VS YOUR NEEDS
I have heard many reason why a potential home-buyer does not want to go thru the pre-approval process, not often have any of the reason been reasonable. The problem with not getting your pre-approval is that sometimes you end up looking at homes that are not a possibility for you, there are a few different variable when it comes to your pre-approval it is not only about price but is about your taxes as well. Once you have looked at these homes, nothing will ever compare to them. On the flip side of that, I have had clients that were able to afford more than they had originally thought they would be able to, and were able to look at better homes than before. You also must take into consideration that all money that changes hands during a real estate transaction must be accounted for, the bank wants to know where you got the money from. You don't want to find that once your in contract on a home, that you will be unable to afford the closing costs, and go thru the process of proving to the bank how you ended up coming up with the money they required.
Now, finding an agent that you are comfortable with is also very important I talk about this in every blog I write for my buyers and I am always asked why. Just like there are 2 sides to every story, there are 2 sides to every deal! In whichever home you choose to buy you are paying for the broker to work for you, so wouldn't it make more sense if your paying that person to make sure you get what you paid for ? Another aspect to using a buyer broker is of course the legalities of disclosure, and fiduciary duties that we must abide by but think about what they do for you in between! It is always good to have a 2nd set of eyes looking for that perfect home, someone to call to find out the answer to your question you have about the house you drove by, or what about someone to drive you around to look at homes ?
This agent will more than likely offer you a listingbook account and if they don't I suggest you ask for one! This website is much better than MLS because it saves your preferences. When you have to do a "fresh search" each time you go onto MLS, Trulia, or Zillow you are seeing many homes that you have already seen, and many times will overlook a new listing because of it. Listingbook also allows easy communication with your Realtor by leaving property notes, so you can receive a response online if you are unable to be on the phone. It also allows you to watch homes, mark favorites, set up open house itinerary, or reject homes completely!
Now this last one is tricky for alot of people because they can not clearly define what they want, and what they need for a home to have. There is only 1 thing about a home that you can not change, and that is location so clearly if you find a dream home for a great price but it is not the location where you NEED to be than the house is obviously not your perfect house. Now let's say you find a nice home, in the area you want, but it is missing a fire-place or jacuzzi tub - those are not needs they are wants be sure to understand that in each price range there is a home to fit all your needs, but your wants usually come down to personal preference and style. You also can not penalize a homeowner because of their style or personal preference when it came to renovating/updating their home.
Once you have gone ahead and done these first few steps you are able to begin the hard work of going out and finding that perfect home. This means weekends of open houses, appointments for private viewings with your broker, conversations with your broker that you may not like but have to have. I will never tell you that finding your dream home will be easy, but I do believe as Realtor our job is to make sure you have the best experience possible. You will walk into homes that the owners couldn't pay you to buy it, you will sometimes have yourself a good private joke at the thanks to a homeowners taste in color, or style, maybe even a few free lunches courtesy of your broker!
The most important piece of advice I could give any buyer is let it be an enjoyable experience by having open and honest communication with your Realtor, you may not always like what we have to say but you will love us when we hand you the keys to your perfect home!