Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Your Journey Home – Finding Your Dream Home

OK, so you have decided on a Realtor, and you have found a Lender that you like.  It is important to get a pre-approval letter from the lender.  Your pre-approval letter will spell out the terms and the price of a property that you can afford.  This is very important information for your realtor.  Buyers should ask a lender 2 things…  what price they qualified to purchase, and what sales amount you can afford at a payment that you are comfortable with.  The difference between these two numbers is really where you need to focus your price point.   

But back to your search, start looking at that sales figure that is within your comfort level first.  If you cannot find the house you want at that amount, then have your Realtor increase the search by an agreed upon amount.  It’s all about choices. 

So now that you have a price range, the next thing to think about is your wants and needs.  Make a list of the things that you HAVE TO HAVE in a house, then make a 2nd list and add on the things that you want – this list can be numbered with the most important want to the least important.  The HAVE TO HAVE list includes location, number of beds/baths, garage configuration etc.  Give both lists to your realtor, who then will be able to set up search criteria.  Now some of the HAVE TO HAVE items may not be searchable.  An example, you have a dog and you have to have a fence … fences may or may not be a searchable item, and maybe the house you are looking at has a fence, but that fence (all sides) could belong to neighbors.  So it’s important to talk to the realtor and ask them what items they will be searching for.  It’s best to cast a “wide net”, keeping searches down to basic’s …. You can look at photos and read descriptions to fine tune the search.

With the advent of the internet many buyers are coming in with a list of houses that they have found. Realtors very much try and honor those showing requests, but it is not unusual for these properties to be already under contract and no longer available to show, so don’t be disappointed.  

So you have your list of requirements, and now your realtor is sending you listings of houses to look at.  It’s time to get into a car and go looking.  Make sure that you have plenty of time to look at what’s available.  I wouldn’t suggest that you make a marathon day of house hunting; even the most organized person can get properties and amenities confused, so limit your house hunting trip to 6-8 houses at a time.  It is also ok for buyers to “stalk” neighborhoods.  If you really like a neighborhood, and your realtor isn’t showing you homes there find out what it is with your list of HAVE TO HAVE’S that is keeping you out of a neighborhood.  If you need to pop up the price, and it’s within that range between your comfort level and what the lender has told you your max loan amount is – then that’s one of the choices.  It may be that the neighborhood you love only has one car garages, and you are telling the realtor that you have to have a 2 car garage; again it’s the choices that have to be made.

It’s also very important that your realtor is listening to you – many buyers become dissatisfied because they feel a realtor is not showing them the houses that meet their needs. If this is the case, ask the realtor why they are not showing them properties that meet their needs, it may be a miscommunication. It may be that the needs do not meet with the reality of purchase price or location that is desired. 

House Hunting should be fun …. You will see some properties that on paper sound just wonderful, but in reality are not, and there is always that sleeper, the photos don’t show well, the description is so-so, but you walk in and it’s perfect.  So remember choices are good, embrace the adventure, and have faith in the realtor you have chosen.

Next … writing an offer and getting it accepted