Buying a home is one of the most important decisions in a person’s life. There is absolutely a process involved, but if you do these five things first, you’ll have a much better experience than some others…
Find a Realtor. Start out with someone who knows what you need and when you need it. Experienced agents can help you understand the entire process start to finish so you know how to prepare. At The Burke Team we give every client a “buyer playbook,” which provides an overview of the entire home-buying process so they understand at each phase what is happening and why.
Some added perks: Many home search websites are full of listings that aren’t updated often or even on the market anymore. An experienced agent will have real-time access to the MLS database and will be able to send you all the homes currently available. Experienced agents know how to negotiate a contract and how to identify red flags. They can recommend reputable professionals like home inspectors, home warranty companies, title companies, and many others, including lenders. So, start out right and get yourself an agent. We can help, whether or not you’re in our area.
Get a Pre-qualification From a Lender. This will save you so much time and cause sellers to take you seriously. Most of the best agents won’t even schedule home showings without know if you’ve been pre-approved by a lender. This is not a bad thing. To buy a home, you need to know your target home price as well as have an understanding what out of pocket costs will be required and what you can afford. Without pre-qualification there is no way for you to know what you’re truly able to buy.
An experienced agent will recommend that you are pre-qualified before showing you properties because your time (and their time) is limited and precious. Sellers won’t accept an offer without a pre-qual letter or proof of funds. Here is a video we created regarding how to choose a lender.
Consider All Contract and Closing Costs when starting your search. Title related costs. Lender origination and other fees. Inspections. Earnest money. Option fee. Survey? Home warranty? Homeowners insurance. Taxes, PID or even MUD. Some of these terms will be new to you.. but not an experienced agent. There are many negotiable items in the contract. Be sure your realtor discusses these potential expenses with you.
Receive a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) on a Potential Home to ensure you will not be overpaying, or risk having an offer above the appraisal (that means the bank thinks the house is worth less than you do and won’t lend you the amount you need.) Don’t Rely on computer generated home values: they are often very broad numbers and inaccurate. A true CMA takes things into consideration that a computer cannot do.
Decide Your Timing Based On What You Want. Every once in a while some personality on a news program or on social media will tell you they know exactly the right time for you to buy or sell a home and create sudden urgency or panic. People will click their articles and share their social media posts. That personality gets attention and a payday, and then their predictions will largely be forgotten once things don’t happen as predicted.
Don’t try to time the market and wait for the “perfect” time. It doesn’t exist. The right timing is more about what you want and need, not about what some talking head on TV is saying. Buyers and sellers are all in the same market. And rates are low right now. The opinion of your lender, and a good assessment of what is available at what cost by your real estate agent is going to impact your timing more than anything on social media.
These five things are crucial before making an offer on any home. Contact us for help!