Tips for Home Buyers – What You Really Should Know

    Tips for Home Buyers – What You Really Should Know

    Sep 21, 2018

    There are a number of things to consider when buying (and financing) a home. Are we in a

    buyers’ market? Are the interest rates low? Are home prices going to go up or down? Although

    these are good questions and worthy of exploration, it often comes down to one question… Am

    I comfortable with going through the process of obtaining financing, searching for a home and

    moving at this moment in my life, RIGHT NOW?

    Buying a new home or property is a serious venture. It can be an exciting time or a difficult

    process. This is why it is so important to find a REALTOR® who you are comfortable with and is

    willing to guide you through every step of the transaction. The savvy homebuyer should ask a

    lot of questions and inquire about what resources and assistance your agent will provide,

    including their availability. Sometimes homes come on the market and are sold in a matter of

    days, so it is critical that your agent is readily available to show you listings as they are placed

    on the market. The way an agent does business can make or break your transaction and your

    chances of getting the home of your dreams. Think about these common issues that you should

    be aware of:

    When you come into contact with an agent, do they ask you if you have been working

    with another agent? If you are already working with someone, there could be a serious

    conflict if the new agent shows you a home without the other agent’s

    knowledge/presence. Industry etiquette is to always ask first before starting a working

    relationship with a new client. If an agent does not do this, it could be a red flag about

    their ethics and the way they conduct themselves professionally.

    Once you begin a working relationship with an agent, are they difficult to get in touch

    with? Do they return your texts/emails promptly? Do they answer their phone, or are

    you constantly leaving messages? Being a real estate agent is a full-time job. Buying a

    home is stressful enough, do you really want to be chasing around after your agent to

    answer some of your phone calls?

    If you’ve been working with an agent for a few months, and at first, they show you a ton

    of properties, seemingly talking up every one of them, in the hopes you would just pick

    one, then after a short while, you don’t hear from them anymore, you may be dealing

    with an agent who applies an expiration date on clients. Showing homes is time

    consuming; it takes a lot of coordination to make the appointments and set aside a large

    block of time to show homes; and it puts miles on the car and consumes gas, so for

    some agents, two to three months of showings is just about all they can handle.

    Although it does happen from time to time that a client finds the perfect home after

    only a few showings, with reduced inventory however in the marketplace, it could take a

    very long time, even up to a year, for a client to find the perfect fit. If you’re feeling

    pressured early on in your search to just pick a house and “make an offer”, you may

    want to pick a new agent instead.

    If you are not constantly buying and selling properties, you will probably have several

    questions about the process. Some agents either don’t have the time to cater to their

    clients (especially if they are working alone) or they are too busy acquiring new

    business, so once you have entered into a contract to buy, they are too busy working

    with the next client to deal with many of your concerns. If an agent is constantly

    boasting about their numbers and that seems to be the most important thing to

    him/her, it’s because it probably is. If you are accustomed to buying and selling every

    few years perhaps a high-volume agent is fine, because you know the drill. But, if you

    are like most, and don’t have half a dozen real estate purchases under your belt, you

    may want to consider working with a TEAM that offers boutique-style services, and can

    treat your transaction as if it were their ONLY transaction at that time.

    A little bit now about the way Aileen and I do business (shameless plug here). We have a team

    working with us, to make this less stressful on our clients. We work with our buyers for as long

    as it takes, to find the right home at the right price. We don’t use pressure tactics to convince a

    buyer to submit an offer. On the contrary, we have even been known to talk our clients OUT of

    buying a home if we felt that we could find another property that was a better fit! We are less

    concerned about the time it takes to find a property, and far more concerned about our client’s

    satisfaction. We negotiate relentlessly for our clients’ best interests, at every turn in the

    transaction. We’ll argue with a lender to get you a better rate. We’ll work with the listing agent

    in an aggressive yet diplomatic manner to achieve the best possible outcome for our client,

    without turning the transaction into an adversarial situation. With round-the-clock

    communication, a step-by-step discussion about the process, referrals for lenders, inspectors

    and industry professionals, relocation assistance, and at the close of escrow, a USB drive

    containing pertinent real estate documents with a special closing day gift, our TEAM is here for

    you, handling all the details, so you can focus on other matters. This attention to detail helps

    alleviate the stress from what could be a very stressful process.

    Here's a brief overview of the buying process:

     Get a pre-approval letter from a lender.

     Identify the neighborhood, type of property and price of property.

     Begin receiving daily emails containing new listings that you may be interested in seeing.

     Schedule viewings of those listings with your REALTOR®.

     Negotiate price and terms.

     Submit an offer if you like the property (lender pre-approval letter, proof of funds &

    FICO scores are usually also required). The offer can be accepted, countered or rejected.

     Upon acceptance of your offer, begin inspections, appraisal and the loan process.

     Once inspections are completed, you may accept the property “as is”, ask for credits or

    repairs, or back out of the contract. Generally, this can take up to 17 days.

     Negotiate some more.

     Complete a large amount of paperwork for the purchase, escrow and your lender.

     Prepare to move to your new home (movers, change of address, utilities, etc.).

     Near the end of the escrow period, your lender will send documents to the escrow

    company. Once completed and verified, your lender will fund the loan and transfer

    proceeds to the escrow company.

     A new deed will be recorded at the County Assessor’s Office and the property transfers

    title to YOU!

    Things to Expect:

     Closing costs will be approximately 2.5-3% of the purchase price. This includes

    escrow fees, prorated property tax, and other miscellaneous costs associated with

    acquiring financing and transferring title. In most cases, this is the money you will

    need to bring to the table, just before escrow closes.

     There may be some issues that could arise during the escrow period (often during

    inspections and/or when your loan application is being reviewed in underwriting).

    As you can see, it’s a complicated deal. Make sure you work with an agent you trust to

    negotiate the best price and terms for you, who is available for you and is willing to work with

    your timelines. Selecting the right agent can help you make it a positive life experience.

    Selecting the wrong agent can leave you without a house or with one that’s less of a dream

    home and more of a nightmare.

    By Suzana Delis