Pick ONE Realtor® and stick with that Realtor®. Nothing inspires a professional to work hard to find you the perfect home than knowing that you are relying on him or her exclusively.
When choosing a Realtor® check to ensure that they are full-time and professionally trained to serve your needs. Check out their track record. You should also check to make sure that the Realtor® is experienced in the geographic area and price range that are most important to you. A Realtor® that is inexperienced or unfamiliar with your search area could cost you time and money!
Begin with Financing
Before you begin the process of searching for a home, your first step should be to sit down with a bank or mortgage representative and establish your financial parameters. They should be able to pre-qualify you, or better yet, pre-approve you for a mortgage. Having this conversation before you start the search process will save you time and put you in a much stronger position to achieve your goals. Sellers expect a pre-qualification or pre-approval letter to accompany an offer.
Give Lots of Feedback
Once you begin to look at homes, be frank with your sales agent about your reaction to each property. The more feedback that you provide your Realtor®, the better. This will enable your agent to get a strong sense of your likes and dislikes and they will be able to serve you much more effectively.
Bring your Realtor® Along
Attending open houses unaccompanied by your Realtor® can cause problems. If you do stop in at an open house without your Realtor®, make it a point to let the agent at the property know that you already working with a Realtor®. When you sign into an open house, also leave your Realtor’s® name and number. Not identifying the fact that you are working with an Realtor® upfront could complicate your efforts to buy a property and also to ensure that your Realtor® is compensated.
Schedule your Inspection ASAP
Typically, from the time an offer is accepted, a buyer has a 7-10 day period to conduct various inspections on the property. Once an offer is accepted, try to get the home inspection scheduled within the first few days of the inspection period. That way, if the inspection turns up issues that need further examination, you will have enough time to get the answers. Waiting until the last minute to perform your home inspection could end up complicating your efforts to purchase a house or even causing your deal to fall apart.
Always Use an Attorney
We always recommend that you use a real estate attorney. We have run into buyers who want to save money and don’t think they need an attorney. Over the years we have found that approach to be penny wise and pound foolish, especially when you consider all that is at stake in a real estate transaction. Remember, real estate agents are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice.
Don’t Rely on Websites for Pricing
The internet has been very helpful to both buyers and sellers and has been a positive force helping to revolutionize the real estate industry. However, it does have its limitations. In particular, we have found that sites that attempt to “estimate” the value of a home do a disservice to both buyers and sellers.
Remember, the “estimates” don’t take into account anything about the actual condition or special features of a home. You need to actually be in the home to know what it is really worth. A “estimate” that is too high could mislead you into overpaying while an “estimate” that is too low gives could cause you to lose out on the property. The best way to determine the right price is to know the market and work with an experienced Realtor®.
Put Yourself in the Sellers Shoes
We have found that buyers get the best results when they are perceptive, considerate, and empathetic when dealing with sellers. For instance, when submitting an offer take the time to write a personal note explaining what it is about the house that you and your family really like. Some of our clients have gone so far to include a photo of their family with the letter. Remember, many sellers have a strong personal attachment to their homes having raised families and created countless memories over the years. Sometimes the peace of mind of knowing that they are leaving the home in good hands is an important a consideration when selling.
No Home is Perfect
Finally, when looking at homes, negotiating and working through the home inspection process, remember that no home is perfect. Given the region that we live in, the great majority of our housing stock consists of re-sales. That means that even the most pristine home will have some issues no matter how well cared for.