Monday, June 30, 2014

Your Journey “Home” – Get good advice.

It’s time, you have decided to purchase that first home.  Excitement, Anticipation, A little anxiety. You’re probably feeling a mix of all these emotions, especially if you have started to look at houses online, but what do you need to know about the process? After years of working with buyers I get the same questions over and over …. And they are good questions.   So here goes the first in a “Road Map” to purchasing your home.

Up front there are 2 big decisions that you must make and they go hand in hand.  The choice of a Buyer’s Agent (your Realtor) and your choice of a lender.  You need to feel confident that these individuals are truly looking out for you. They should be willing to spend the time that you want and need to find you your home.  You will probably be spending several days with that your realtor looking at houses, and hours talking to them when it comes to negotiating the purchase and bringing the transaction to a close. As for your lender, you will be telling them all about your finances as they work to get you the best financing available. 

Your Buyer’s Agent should have a “counseling session” and walk you thru the process.  Purchasing a home isn’t just about looking at houses and writing an offer.  When selecting a Buyer’s agent ask about their experience and if they have any advanced real estate certification.  Now don’t get me wrong, we all had to start in this profession somewhere and being a new agent isn’t terrible, but you want your agent to be able to answer your questions and give you the right information.  If your agent is new to the business ask him or her if they have a mentor.   A good Realtor will be able to spot possible pitfalls before they even occur.   It’s about thinking “down the line”  - as I tell buyers while they are looking at the size of the closets and updates, I’m looking at a Seller’s Disclosure to see how old the mechanicals are, and was the roof replaced in the last 10 years.  No matter how good a home looks, there will be some kind of issues that come forth after an inspection.  While I’m not an inspector, it’s my job to point out that yes, there is new granite in the kitchen, and the seller (who says they’ve lived in the house for 10 years) cannot tell you how old the roof is – or when the furnace was last cleaned.  I’d much rather sell a house, that while may not be updated with the current “must haves” does have new mechanicals and other big-ticket items. 

As for a lender … this again needs to be someone that will take the time to “walk-you” through the process.  Mortgage lending has become so very complicated with changes to lending regulations (yes, there are regulations that the lenders MUST adhere to) that the process can be very intimidating.  It always seems as if there is one more document that the lender wants, and sometimes it’s not the lender that you are talking to who wants some obscure document, but the dreaded “underwriter”.  Now in 25+ years I’ve never spoken to an underwriter, but they seem to always want something and that something can derail a purchase in a heartbeat. 

So my advice is to “interview” several Realtors and Lenders.  Start first by asking for referrals - we all know someone who has just finished purchasing a home – so ask, were they happy with their realtor and or lender?  If not, why? Purchasing a home is an emotional journey and you need to understand that there may be some diversions along the way. 

It’s the role of the Realtor and the Lender to keep the transaction on track and reach a successful conclusion.  Once you have chosen a Realtor and Lender the fun begins ….  Searching for a home,  and we’ll cover that in the next post....

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