Last week, we offered you some advice to consider when trying to sell a home. This week, we’re going to provide you with some advice to follow when buying a home. Just like with selling a home, buying one is a time-consuming process. You search through several homes as you look for the one that will fit your tastes and make you happy, so the final home you decide upon should justify the amount of time you put into your search. The tips we’ll provide will surely help you as you go through this journey.
We’ll start off with something that you’ll be familiar with from the last article, and that is to be familiar with the market. While doing research, take your time in figuring out what you want in your new home, but don’t spend too much time in contemplation. Once you have the market information you need, it’s time to get to work.
When thinking about searching for a home, it’s highly recommended that you work with a buyer’s agent.
“Too many buyers try to ‘play the field,’ which is a terrible idea because any buyer agent in the market can show you any house in the market,” said Joseph W. Rand, Managing Partner and General Counsel at Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. “It’s not like buying a car, where each dealer has a different inventory. Working with one buyer agent helps you because your agent learns your likes and dislikes and can advise you better on potential homes to buy.”
When you begin your search for a home, it’s important that you have an idea of what you’re looking for. This is your chance to express to your agent what you would like to see in your new home. When you meet with your agent, you should be able to tell them why you are moving, what you are looking for in your new home, how familiar you are with the home buying process, and what you want from your agent.
During the home buying process, your agent will be your guide, however, there are other roles to be filled when searching for a home, such as a loan officer. In order to make this process more efficient, it would be wise for you to begin forming your team as soon as possible, and there’s a way to go about doing this.
“The best thing to do is ask your agent for recommendations,” said Joe. “Don’t go looking for a loan officer on the internet or anything like that. Your agent works in the business everyday and knows who the best people are. Plus, it’s good to work with other professionals who already have a good relationship with your agent.”
As you go through your home search, you’ll eventually have to become pre-qualified for a mortgage. This might sound difficult, but in reality, it’s easier than anticipated.
“Just spend a few minutes with any good loan officer and you’ll get a better sense of how much home you can afford, and a pre-qualification letter is crucial as the market heats up, because you want sellers to know that you’re qualified to purchase their home,” said Joe.
As for the steps that are more fun in the home buying process, the showing of the home is definitely one of them. When you get to a home, it’s important to keep an open mind. Don’t judge the exterior and make a rapid decision of whether you do/don’t like it. Venture inside to know for sure if this is a home that you’ll contemplate buying.
Another thing you should do when looking at a home is visualize yourself living there. Go through each of the rooms and imagine yourself in that space. If you like what you envision, keep this house in consideration.
Similar to selling a home, it’s imperative that you have great communication with your agent while searching for a home. Whenever you need assistance while looking, your agent is there to help, so always feel free to contact them. Also, when you visit a property, be honest about what you like and what you don’t like, because agents can use that feedback to find homes that better suit your tastes. Lastly, although you might want to do some search work on your own time, be it a drive-by through a neighborhood, getting a quick look at a home, or attending open houses, it’s still more beneficial to visit a home with an agent to get a professional opinion.
As you begin forming an idea of an offer, you should display yourself as someone whom the current homeowner will feel comfortable selling to.
“Try to personalize your offer,” said Joe. “While many sellers don’t care who buys their home, and for them it’s just a matter of price, other sellers do have a personal attachment to their home, and they want to see that it goes to someone they like. Sending the seller a personal letter that explains how much you love the home, and are looking forward to living there, can make a difference. Otherwise, if you want to win out in a bidding war, you have to be aggressive with your bid and be prepared to waive conditions, like a mortgage contingency.”
Once you reach the transactional stage, you won’t only be working with your agent, but with the rest of your team as well, so you’ll have to stay focused on each individual.
“Your agent is your quarterback on your deal and should be the person who’s coordinating all of the moving parts of the transaction,” said Rand. “You should be in regular contact with your agent, as well as with every other member of your team. Keep those lines of communication open — that will keep your level of frustration lower because you’ll have a better sense of what’s happening.”
If you remain diligent in following these steps, you will surely have a satisfying adventure when searching for a new home.