So you are pre-approved, now for the FUN PART…SHOPPING!
Before you just hit the streets on a mad house hunting venture, you need to do some preparing. You don’t just want to pick up the phone, call the number on a sign, and venture out by yourself. Number 1, it is unsafe. You also may waste a lot of time looking at properties that don’t meet your search criteria or price range. Lastly, you appear unrepresented, which gives the seller the impression of having greater bargaining leverage than you.
BASICALLY, YOU NEED A PLAN AND YOU NEED REPRESENTATION.
Find a Realtor to REPRESENT you. As the Buyer, you are not paying the Realtor for their assistance, so why not take advantage of the expert services they have to offer. And you are going to be communicating with him/her A LOT, so make sure you choose someone that is not only professional, but easy to communicate with. You need to be comfortable. If you prefer texting, choose a realtor that is comfortable texting. If you have a stringent schedule, find someone that can accommodate that.
Then you and your Realtor will help you create a House Hunting Plan.
You need to shop within your BUDGET so establish that out of the gate. Try to avoid painting a picture in your head. The homes within your budget will never live up to it. If there’s a big discrepancy between (A) what you can afford and (B) what you see in your head, you’re going to have a long and frustrating home search.
Next, make a List of NEEDS and WANTS. The truth is you will never find a house that has EVERY SINGLE thing you want. You can find a home that has most of the things you want, and possibly all of the things you need. So flexibility is important.
In establishing your list, NEEDS are deal-breakers. Focus on the things you CANNOT change. You can change carpet and paint, down the road. So indicate the things that would be hard or impossible to change such as the location, the lot, the size of the home, etc. Examples of needs list items are:
- The number of bedrooms
- The number of bathrooms
- Garage Spaces
You’re well on your way! Here are some things to keep in mind as you start to look at homes:
Take pictures with your phone or digital camera of contenders. Make sure to note the address. When you get home you can review them, and compare the details of the home to assist in the decision process.
Bring your CHECKLIST with you. Use a separate checklist for each house, so you can make notes on them.
Don’t just focus on the home. Pay attention to the neighborhood as well. Does the house back up to a busy street? Can you hear the noise inside the home? Do the neighbors take care of the their lawns? Is there any major construction planned in the area? Remember, neighborhoods affect your property values.
Focus on the things you can’t change. This includes the size of the home, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the lot, the view and the location. Don’t worry about the decor — you can change all of that. Who cares if the house has ugly wallpaper and carpet? You can change those things in a couple of days, and without a huge investment. Look beyond the surface.
House-hunting tip: Schools affect property values. Homes that are located within desirable school districts generally appreciate faster than comparable homes outside of those districts. The same goes for the desirability of neighborhoods. So start researching schools and neighborhoods in the area where you want to buy. Find out which ones are the most sought after.
Let your Realtor do their job. If you see a home, contact your agent. They will investigate the property to ensure it meets your criteria, as well as the loan program.
Whenever possible don’t schedule something right after your showing. You want to be able to take your time.
Be open and honest with your Realtor, it’s NOT their house. The input helps them perform their job as they get more familiar with your style and taste.
There are usually two rounds of house-hunting visits. The first time around, you’re looking at homes you may have pre-screened online. The goal is to create a shorter list of actual contenders. The purpose of the second visit is to decide if you want to make an offer for one of the contenders.
You won’t be as excited the second time you visit. You’ll be calmer and more analytical. This is a good thing. This is how you spot things you might’ve missed the first time around.
Once, you identify a home you want to make an offer on, your Realtor will work with you to draw up the necessary paperwork to make a formal offer. Not all offers are accepted, so don’t get discouraged. It will happen and then once you have an accepted offer, its on to the ESCROW PROCESS. WHOOT!WHOOT!
Tezra Rogers is a Real Estate Broker/Loan Officer (CA DRE #01744515/NMLS #01466173) with 17 years experience and at last count, 816 transactions under her belt . Her clients become family, and in this house there is always room for more. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the corporate office in Suisun City, CA at 707.759.4251. Follow her on IG @pacbaybroker.