The thought of buying a home makes many people nervous. For too long, the real estate industry enriched itself by operating behind closed doors and generally keeping the public in the dark. While the internet has made the steps to homeownership infinitely more transparent than in the past, there are still far too many ambiguities associated with buying a home.
Ready to buy a home? Who should you trust and where should you start?
Partner with a Local Realtor
Take the time to interview more than one Realtor and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Some questions to ask: How long have you been a Realtor? Are you a full-time Realtor or do you work another job? How long do you take to respond to an email, text or phone call? How many houses did you sell last year? Will you make yourself available to show as many homes as I want to see? Do you receive financial incentives for recommending a certain lender or title company?
For many people, buying a home is the boldest financial move they will make in a lifetime. A buyer’s agent should be a tireless advocate and a tough negotiator with a working knowledge of trends in local communities. Communication is critical during a real estate transaction. You want to work with a Realtor who is readily accessible,can address your concerns, and has the experience needed to solve problems as they arise.
The process of finding your dream home, negotiating a contract, procuring a loan, and going to settlement will typically take several months. Select a Realtor that you trust and feel very comfortable working with.
You are probably asking yourself Who pays the commission received by a buyer’s agent? Answer: the seller does.
Get Pre-Approved for a loan before looking at homes
For a seller to take you seriously as a buyer, your pre-approval letter must be attached to any offer submitted. By involving a lender upfront, you will be confident of your purchasing power and not waste time looking at properties that you can’t afford. Your Realtor should be able to provide a list of local loan officers who can explain the differences between loan programs and make suggestions that are in your best interest. I like to arrange for a face-to-face meeting between my buyer clients and any loan officers I recommend.
Keep in mind – you have the right to select the lender of your choice.
Make Realistic Offers
After finding a home that you love, ( I often feel more like a match-maker than a salesperson ) it’s time to negotiate a price by making a written offer. This is when the advice of an experienced local Realtor becomes invaluable.
Many buyers feel that all homes are priced to allow room for negotiations. I don’t necessarily agree. The internet has eliminated some of the guesswork as far property valuations are concerned. An unrealistically low offer on a well-priced home will offend some sellers and possibly hamper future negotiations. At the same time, you have no way of knowing how motivated the seller is and you don’t want to pay more than you need to.
Trust your Realtor to determine the actual value of the house in the current market and the best strategy for moving forward. If the property is priced properly, you may need to make an offer at or near the asking sellers asking price.
Try to remain patient and rely on the expertise of your Realtor during every step of your real estate purchase. The rewards of homeownership are well worth the effort.
If you are thinking about buying a home in Harford County or Cecil County, don’t hesitate to contact me.