What Every Buyer Needs To Know:Because buying a home is one of the single greatest investments most people make during their entire life time, it is important that you avoid costly mistakes and make informed decisions throughout the entire buying process. Whether you are a first time home buyer or an experienced investor, you should ask as many questions as you can and obtain as much information as possible. The articles below contain some valuable information about "buying real estate" that you might find helpful. If you have any additional questions or need more information, click here to contact us.
Finding The Right Property:One of the first steps in buying real estate (that many buyers often overlook) is knowing what you are looking for. We suggest you make a written list of the things that are important to you (for example: does the home need to be on one level, do you prefer a certain area, how many rooms do you need, what price range are you in, etc. If you're not sure what you want or what you can afford, then you need to do some research and get prequalified by a good lender before you meet with your real estate agent. Once you have a "wish list" or a clear idea of what you want, prioritize the list. Put the most important things at the top of the list. Once you and your spouse have a clear understanding of what you want and what is most important (and you know what you can afford), then you're ready to put your real estate agent to work for you.
To receive a FREE list of all MLS listings that meet your criteria or to receive auto-email notices when new listings come on the market, click here!
Negotiating With The SellerHere's a few tips to help you negotiate with the seller.
- Know the market and negotiate accordingly. Your agent is the best source of advice in this area.
- Never negotiate directly with the seller. That's what your real estate agent is for!
- Always provide a prequalification letter from the lender with your offer if you will be getting a loan.
- Always have your agent prepare a Seller's Net Sheet to present with the offer.
- Make a list of things that will need to be fixed, replaced, or that are damaged.
- Find out as much as you can about the seller's motivation and reason for selling.
- Never let the seller know how much you like the property.
- In a hot market, ask for an acceptance/counter upon presentation of offer.
- The more you put down as earnest money (without conditions) the easier it is to negotiate terms.
Doing Your Due DiligenceOnce you have an accepted offer (hopefully with a due diligence clause), you should consider hiring a property inspector to inspect the property. You can also do a walk through to visually inspect the property. During the due diligence period, you should check all appliances, water faucets, hoses, toilets, AC, Heater, Hot Water, etc. You will also be able to review a Seller's Disclosure with your agent to see what the Seller knows about the property. By law, the Seller must disclose in writing any material fact that would adversly effect the value of the property. You should also meet with a title company or escrow officer and review the title to make sure that the person selling the property is the legal owner and that there are no unknown encumberances or problems with the title.
10 Reasons To Use A Buyer's AgentFollowing are 10 great reasons to use a buyer's agent when buying real estate:
#1. Having a buyer's agent is FREE to the buyer. Some people think they can save money by not using a buyer's agent. In most cases, this is simply not true; and in fact, it is usually just the opposite. In residential real estate, the commission is usually paid by the seller whether or not a buyer's agent is involved. Where else can you employ the services and receive the benefits of a trained and experience professional on your side for free!
#2. Having a buyer's agent gives you more negotiating power. Having a buyer's agent helps you hold all the cards when negotiating with the seller. The buyers agent may know you can afford more than you offer and how much you love the home but won't disclose this to the listing agent or seller. This keeps the listing agent and seller in the dark about your intentions and makes them all the more willing to accept lower offers. If the listing agent knew how much you loved the home and that you could afford more than you are offering, they may not agree to the price you are offering.
#3. It gives you full access to the MLS. As a member of the multiple listing service (MLS), your agent has full access to the searchable database of MLS listings. We can ask you the right questions to determine what you are looking for and what areas you are most interested in. Once we know your price range and what you are looking for, we will use the full power of the MLS to help you find it. We can provide printouts, email reports, and do custom searches to find available homes that meet your criteria. We can also setup auto emails to notify you automatically if a listing comes on the market that meets your criteria. To request auto emails, click here. Sometimes we can even tell you about new listings before they come on the market.
#4. A buyer's agent will save you valuable time. Why do something yourself when you can have a professional buyer's agent do it for you? A Buyer's agent spends a lot of time previewing homes and staying familiar with the current listing inventories. This knowledge -- as well as useful technologies such as virtual tours, interactive maps, Internet websites, and use of the MLS system -- will save you from waisting valuable time previewing homes that don't meet your needs. Your agent will also perform a lot of the services that you otherwise might have to do your self such as writing up offers, delivering earnest money, contracts, etc. to the title companies and lenders.
#5. It makes life easier and reduces stress. When you have a buyer's agent, you don't have to worry about driving neighborhoods for hours or worrying that you're missing the house that would be perfect for you. You can spend your time doing the things you enjoy while the search is being handled by someone else who is a professional. We've helped hundreds of people with their real estate needs, and our experience will help keep you from any unpleasant surprises throughout the entire buying process. When you use us as your buyer's agent, you'll actually be surprised at how much we do for you behind the scenes. You don't have to worry about the deadlines and "what ifs" because we do it for you.
#6. Your agent takes care of all the paperwork. From writing up the offer, to reviewing seller disclosures, to filling out escrow instructions, to reviewing the titlework and closing documents. . . it's nice to have a trained professional by your side to handle the paperwork and to help answer any questions you might have. We done this more than a time or two, and we'll help you cross your t's and dot your i's and follow up with all the parties involved to make sure everyone meets their deadlines.
#7. A buyer's agent is a great resource of knowledge and information. Not only are we very familiar with the history and demographics of the area, but we know a lot about real estate. We will educate you about market conditions, and answer any questions you hav about the home buying process, including explaining fair housing laws and agency relationships. Our goal is give you the best and most accurate information to help you make the best possible informed decisions.
#8. You benefit from a network of professionals. Over the years, we've developed good working relationships with several home inspecters, mortgage lenders, title companies,and other professional tax and legal advisors. We know from experience which ones have delivered on time consistently and which ones have fallen short of the bar. We'll help you find the right professionals to help ensure a successful buying process without any regrets.
#9. A buyer's agent looks out for your best interest at all times. Your buyer's agent has a legal and ethical responsibility to represent your best interest at all times. Some of the duties that your agent has to you include: loyalty to you, promoting your best interests, disclosing known material facts, maintaining confidential information, and accounting for any money they handle in the transaction. If your agent knows something about the seller that might influence your decision to buy or not or to alter your offering price, they have a duty to disclose that to you subject to federal and fair housing laws. In shot, it's nice to know that someone has your back when you're in the trenches of buying real estate.
#10. It's nice to have a friend in the business. One of the things we enjoy most about working with buyers is the friendships and relationships that are formed. Our goal is to provide you with the services and be the type of person that you feel the same way about us when the transaction is completed. Your friendship and trust mean more to us than any compensation we get from selling real estate. We hope that if you ever need help buying or selling real estate in the future, or if you know anyone that needs help buying or selling real estate, that you'll give us a call!