We have turned our home buying expertise and market knowledge into a proven home buying strategy. To learn how we can put our strategy to work for you, please call us at 707.934.5880 or send us an email.
1. KNOW YOUR PRICE POINT
If you are planning to get a mortgage loan in order to purchase property, then getting pre-approved by your lender is one of your very first steps. Knowing how much a lender is willing to loan you directly impacts what properties you should be focusing on. If you are planning to purchase property with cash, it’s still important that you take the time to confirm how much cash you will actually have on hand to make the purchase.
As your agents we don’t need to know your net worth, but if we’re going to represent you well, we do need to understand your price point, and whether you’re planning to use cash or obtain a mortgage. It’s also helpful for us to know any unusual circumstances that might affect your ability to purchase. Any financial information you share with us is kept in strictest confidence.
Sellers will expect that any offer you make will have your letter of pre-approval attached, or will expect to see proof of funds for a cash offer.
And while it is important to know the lender’s loan limit, or your cash limit, there is another number that matters more to us: that’s what amount you are most comfortable borrowing / paying. This number is almost always lower, but this is the number that shapes our search.
We keep a list of recommended loan brokers who consistently do great work for our clients, and will be happy to share that with you. Using local lenders as a competitive edge is a bit old school, but it still does matter.
2. DEFINE YOUR GOALS
What kind of property are you looking for? And what kinds of property do not interest you? Make a list. How many bedrooms? What kind of kitchen? Do you need a pool? Do you need to be close to medical or schools? Are you looking for a project or something turn key? What are your ‘nice-to-have’ amenities that you could live without, but might prefer to have?
Many buyers do some casual online home searching for a few months, to see what’s on the market, and what’s happening with prices and values – and then make their list. Other buyers make their list first and then start the online surfing. Either way works!
3. CHOOSE YOUR REALTOR®
Not so many years ago, home listings were only on paper, in huge 3 ring binders sitting on real estate agents’ desks. Buyers needed agents simply to know what was for sale. These days, buyers get the listing information as quickly as agents do, because MLS data is shared directly out onto the web.
So why do you need to bother having an agent of your own? Why not just go direct to the listing agent and do your own negotiating? Or use the seller’s agent too?
A surprising number of buyers believe that they can somehow “get a deal” if they use the same agent who is already representing the seller. This is almost never the case. The seller’s agent is working hard to get their seller the highest price and the easiest terms for their property.
As your buyer’s agent we work hard to get you the best price and the best terms for you. As experienced buyer’s agents we are looking out for risks and defects, and ensuring that all the purchase paperwork is being completed correctly. And we know that the big online search portals are often significantly wrong when they create computer-generated ‘estimates of value’ for homes, especially custom homes or older homes that are not in a subdivision.
And once you are in contract, we will recommend great inspectors, negotiate repairs or credits, get estimates from trustworthy contractors, and see that you don’t leave any funds on the table.
4. FIND YOUR NEW HOME
Now that you’ve got your pre-approval in hand (or verified your funds), and you’ve made your perfect home wish list, it’s time to hit the road. As we begin to tour homes and drive around neighborhoods and communities, one of the first things you will do naturally is begin to identify where you don’t want to live, and what properties details you don’t want for your home. Buyers often feel at this point that they are wasting their agent’s time, but this is not so. The first part of the home search is usually the process of subtracting out what you are not interested in – that’s how you find the kinds of homes and properties that matter most to you.
Having a professional REALTOR® in your corner can save you time and energy by recommending properties that best match what’s on your list, as well as match what you begin to gravitate to as we see homes together.
If you’d like to know more about the home buying process, we’d love to discuss how we work. Contact us!