Buying a home is one of the most exciting and most stressful times of your life. It is exciting! But it can be heartbreaking too. I will tell my buyers that “if it’s meant to be, it will be”. Cheesy? Maybe! But this is what gets buyers (and me!) through the process of buying a home without losing their mind.
Here are the steps that I always tell my buyers to take before even stepping foot inside a home:
1.) Talk to a bank/mortgage lender
When you are ready to buy a home this is the first thing that needs to be done but for some reason is always the first thing that buyers skip. Most people think they can afford a certain priced house when 9 times out of 10 they are not correct. To avoid wasting your time and the Realtors time, get a pre-approval letter! It will take about 15 minutes and can be done over the phone. The lender will ask you a series of questions and they will provide you with the maximum sales price that you can afford. A lender will provide a pre-approval letter that is submitted with any offer on a home. Don’t waste your time by looking for homes you can’t afford! Plus, Realtors will not show you homes without a pre-approval letter.
2.) Research areas
Do the research! Research the areas that you think you want to live in. Find all public information pertaining to the area including crime records. A buyer might think they want to live in a certain area until they do their research. A Realtor cannot tell you certain information that might steer you to or away from an area. There are federal, state and local laws to protect fair housing for all people. We cannot steer buyers. You’re on your own with researching the area!
3.) Drive around
Once you have researched the areas, now it’s time to drive around. If you have a handful of neighborhoods or streets that you want to live in, drive around them! See what is in the area, see what the vibes are. This will eliminate the areas that you may not like. Time is of the essence when you are finally ready to make an offer on a home. Eliminating the areas you thought you liked but once driving around realizing you hate the area will save so much time!
4.) Make a list
Sit down with the members in your family that will be living in the home and make a list of all the “needs” in a home. This should include desired areas, price range, bedrooms, bathrooms, acreage, style of house and etc. Make sure to include in the list any needs your family or you may need. This will help eliminate homes that will not work for you or your family.
5.) Find a Realtor/Broker
A follow up from my previous post about selling your home, finding a good Realtor is so important! When buying a home a Realtor can make or break the deal. When looking for a Realtor make sure they always answer their phone or text messages. If they leave you hanging for more than a few hours, move onward! They aren’t serious, have another job or aren’t organized. All three of those things are bad in today’s market! Find a Realtor that fits with you and that will work hard for you!
6.) Get set-up on the MLS Search
All the steps above are done for this reason! To receive only the homes that best fit you and your family! There are 100’s of homes listed and this will help to eliminate the homes that do not fit your needs. Also, avoid any and all third party websites when looking for a home (i.e. Zillow!). I love Zillow but I also know that Zillow has a delay or doesn’t have the information 100% correct. In this market, you need to know when a home is listed within minutes. It is that crazy right now! Have your Realtor set you up to receive emails of all listings (old & new) from the MLS system. Make sure you are set-up to receive emails ASAP when a new listing comes on the market.
Right now it is a sellers market. Home are going for above the listed sales price within hours of being on the market. Buyers need to make sure they are 100% prepared before even stepping foot inside a home. Do not waste your time or your Realtors time. Time is of the essence! Happy House Hunting!