8 Steps for Buyers
Once you have decided that it is time to begin the exciting journey of finding the next place to call home, it is vital that you are well prepared for the home buying process. Here are a few items to consider that will help in the process of buying your next property.
- Professional Representation: This step is listed as number one because it is arguably the most important of the steps. Choosing a competent, professional real estate broker that understands the real estate market as well as your personal needs and vision sets the foundation for success. See “Why Use a Realtor as a Buyer” for more detail on this point.
- Loan Pre-Qualification & Approval Letter: If a bank loan is required, it is extremely important that you understand how much you will be able to afford. A mortgage broker can provide you with this information. Once you understand how much you can afford, you will need to get a Pre-Approval letter from your lender. The Pre-Approval letter will show sellers that you are a strong buyer and can afford the property they are selling. This makes your offer much stronger and increases the chances your offer will be accepted. We have Mortgage Brokers who are excellent at finding clients financing that we can recommend to you if desired. Reputable mortgage brokers offer this service for free.
- Geographical Area’s of Interest: Try to map out the geographical areas you are interested in living. Take into consideration items such as, travel time to work, access to shopping, a particular school or anything else that may be of interest to you. Once you have your geographical areas mapped out, your broker can quickly find properties that meet your criteria. If you haven’t decided between a few areas and feel looking at properties in multiple areas would help you decide, that is OK too. Your broker can choose homes in different areas and take you around on a guided tour to help you in your decision making process.
- List of Needs and Wants: Make 2 lists. The first list should include items you must have, for instance; the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, yard or no yard, size to accommodate your family, one story vs. two story, accessibility, etc. The second list is your wishes, things you would like to have but that are not absolutely necessary; den, bonus room, pool, acreage, etc. Realistically, for first-time buyers, you probably won’t get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.
- Organization: Keep items handy that will assist you in your home search efforts. Such items may include:
- Paper and pen for taking notes.
- Detailed maps with areas of interest highlighted.
- A file with all the homes your broker has shown you and ads or clippings of homes you have seen or are interested in.
- A digital file of images or videos of properties you have seen to help refresh your memory.
- Notes on homes in areas you have looked with an emphasis on looking at the home as a seller. Would a potential buyer find the home attractive based on schools, crime rate, next to a source of noise, proximity to shopping, parks or freeway access? When buying a home it is important to also look at your ability to re-sell the home sometime in the future.
- Have Vision: More than likely you will not walk into a home that is furnished exactly the way you want it, may not have the paint colors on the wall that you like, the carpet may be the wrong color, the yard may have too many plants or not enough. Most of these items are easily correctable to your liking. You must visualize the home with your furniture and personal touch. Easily fixable cosmetic items should not necessarily be the deciding factor on whether a home will meet your needs. With vision, you may be looking at the home of your dreams.
- Be Smart and Objective: Instead of thinking with your heart, think with your head. Does the home meet your needs? Are there enough items from your list of needs to justify purchasing the property? There is no rush to buying a home, as there are always other homes to choose from. The most important thing is that you purchase a home you are comfortable with no matter how long it takes to find it.
- Be Thorough: When writing the offer it is important to include a few essential items and to spend a few dollars to save potential heartache. Although your broker should remind you of these items, here are a few to be prepared for.
- Include inspection and mortgage contingencies in your offer.
- Have the home inspected by a licensed professional inspector. There are several types of inspections to consider depending on the property and situation.
- Request a walk-through 24 hours before closing.
- Confirm the home is being delivered as agreed upon. For instance; the shelving that was attached to the walls hasn’t been removed, the light fixtures haven’t been replaced by inferior ones, etc.
These are just a few of the many items that are required to properly prepare for purchasing a new home. The entire process can be overwhelming if attempted without the help of a real estate professional. Please contact us to discuss some of these points and others in more detail. Again, all of these services and many others are provided to buyers at no cost to the buyer and are essential to completing a successful real estate transaction.