If you are new to the home buying process, and considering the complications of the current Real Estate Market, the relationship between an agent and their clients has never been more vital. As a new buyer working with an experienced agent, and doing a little bit of home work on your own you before you start the process, hopefully you can avoid many of the problems and headaches that commonly happen.
The first two things a new buyer should do is to become pre-approved through a lender, and find a good agent, hopefully both will be local to the area that you are looking to move to. By using an agent in the area, you have a better shot gathering useful information about different neighborhoods, school districts, and subtle nuances about neighborhoods that an out of area agent wouldn’t know. They can hopefully better advise and recommend the best options for you with their knowledge of the area. Lenders not familiar with the area that you wish to move to may not be able to give you the best service, or recommend the right loan program for you. With many different loan programs available, not all loans will work with all properties. So determining which program is best for you will help save time when it comes to choosing a house. For example not all condo communities will allow FHA financing, and it would be a waste of time to look at properties that you can’t buy. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have their own loan programs exclusive to their properties that might be a benefit, and make your purchase go smoother. Plus there is no need to look at houses priced at $200,000 when the absolute most you can afford is $170,000. How you plan to purchase a home, and knowing your limits will be valuable information for your agent.
Our current market has changed. Buyers are discovering that good quality homes are selling quickly. Even though prices are still low, and interest rates at never before seen levels, with a lower than average amount of inventory currently available, buyers need to be competitive. Multiple offers on properties, or at the very least having to offer full asking price are becoming common occurrences. Having to have all of your “Ducks in a row” before you start to seriously look will help you position yourself to get the house you want over the competition.
With Internet searching for homes, its quite easy and convenient for a potential home buyer to do some research on their own of properties in the markets they are wanting to live in. Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com are 3 of the most popular websites at the moment, with more information to the consumer than ever before. Websites with real estate listings, first get their information from the local Multiple Listing Systems, all across the country. These are the databases managed by local boards that only agents have exclusive access to. 3rd party sites have been given permission to syndicate out the information, but often times are not very quick to update the statuses of any particular property. If a seller accepted an offer on a property, you may never know that from looking online.
With loans taking 30-45 days (a little more for certain types) to be processed and underwritten, a potential buyer should have as many documents organized and ready to go for you lender, so as to shorten any delays. The vast majority of delays and issues that arise that cause the most stress come from the lending process. Tax records, employment verification, divorce documents, etc. should be found and held on standby. Once your offer is accepted, you will need to get these things to your lender. Inspections will need to be immediately scheduled, earnest monies deposited, and the beginning process can be quite busy and a little unnerving. The saying that “you don’t know, what you don’t know” is very true. There will be moments of hustle and bustle, long periods of nothing, then scrambling around again. Having an agent who has gone through a variety of different deals, that is knowledgeable, who is working on only your best interests can be the difference between have a reasonably smooth experience on one of the most important decisions a person makes, and one where it seems that every possible problem that could come up does, and you feel like you are in a nightmare that you can’t wake up from.
Kirk Keebler, Realtor
Edward Surovell Realtors