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The process of searching for and finding the right home to call yours has many different steps. It is not simply a matter of finding a house, writing an offer, taking money to closing, and moving in. Listed below are the most important ones, although each homebuyer’s journey is unique.
Buying a Home: Preparation
Whether you are a first time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate investor, preparation is the best way to begin our home search. Preparation allows you search for homes within your budget, includes your needs, and be ready to make an offer when you walk in the door of the home you are ready to call yours.
Here are some things to keep in mind as we are in the Preparation stage.
We will begin with an informal meeting where I will ask you about what you are looking for, reviewing your wants and needs. I will also ask you if you have met with a lender and give you referrals for one if you have not yet met with one. When the market is fast you may need to act very quickly if the right home comes on the market. It is imperative to get pre-approved for a loan and get all your funding ducks in a row. Good communication matters and a good working relationship with a strong lender is critical to a successful transaction.
In addition, I will also review all the purchase and sale contracts with you to make sure you are familiar with them along with terms we will encounter along the way such as contingencies, title, escrow, disclosure, and more. My business is based on education, and I want to make sure you have a thorough understanding of these items now before we go out and view properties as there may not be enough time later when we make an offer for you to get comfortable with the documents.
Buying a Home: Viewing Homes
Although the MLS is set up for buyers to review individual houses, buyers often choose their home based on the area or neighborhood it is in. Therefore, your first step will be to drive different neighborhoods on your own to learn what appeals to you. What do you think about the restaurants, proximity to shopping and parks, etc that you encounter in your tour? Once you find a few areas you like, drive through at different times of the day to see if there are issues with noise, traffic, or even how much light an area receives!
Once you have settled on these areas, we will set up a meeting to review what you liked, what you didn’t, and why. I will set up automated searches that generate listings from the MLS based on these areas and your needs/wants criteria. We will both receive this information daily. If you see something you like, send it my way and we will set up a time to view the property. Alternatively, I will dig through the MLS daily. If I see something that meets your criteria, I will send it to you for your review.
We will set up two to three intensive viewing sessions where we will view a lot of homes. This should allow us to see most of the available inventory in one session. Usually this helps to refine your wants and needs list, helping me to hone in on your priorities.
I will also go to work analyzing your preferred areas to learn what is happening in the real estate markets there in terms of price and market time. In the event you find a home to call yours, this research is critical so we can address your offer strategy up front. I keep up-to-date on the subtle changes in these areas of focus as the markets constantly change and keeping a clear head is necessary when dealing with the emotion of finding a home.
I have a very good track record with buyers in making a good match of home and client’s requirements. That is why I have such good client satisfaction and a strong referral business that many brokers would love to have.
Buying a Home: Finding the Right Home
When you have found the right home, in the right area, and you are ready to make it yours, I will conduct extensive research on a number of different online data resources to verify the list price is within the ballpark of the market. From there, we can determine the offer specifics such as offer price, any closing cost you may ask for, closing timeline, and what you would like to do about inspecting the property and with financing. There are a number of items that can be included on the initial offer paperwork.
I also work proactively prior to making an offer by analyzing the market, establishing rapport with the listing agent and finding out what is important to the seller, talking to the lender to find out how we need to structure the deal for financing to work, etc.
If the seller accepts the offer as written – congratulations! If not, that is completely normal and that is where my negotiation skills shine. I believe in a collaborative, problem-solving approach which serves all parties well during the negotiation period. I have also built strong relationships with both lenders and with the agents in our community who know that if I am working with a buyer, we have crossed our “t”s and dotted our “i”s.