1. Unless paying cash, get pre approved.  Get a pre approval letter from a reputable mortgage company, preferably local, so you and your agent know your limitations.  When making an offer, the listing agent and seller may consider the source of your pre approval letter when making their decision.
  2. Buyer’s market or a seller’s market?  As of late it’s been a seller’s market, but some areas are not as extreme as others.  An agent can get up to date market activity for specific neighborhoods, often by way of the multiple listing service or by contacting agents who have handled recent sales there.

The Search

  1. Online Searches.  Most home buyers go online to search for homes before contacting their agent, or the listing agent for more information.  When doing searches, consider rounding high with your price range, and low with things like bedrooms, baths and home size.  I can explain in more detail, but to share a few examples: Searching for 4 or more bedrooms may eliminate some good homes that are 3 bedrooms and an office (a bedroom without a closet).  Lowering the minimum square feet in the home may result in homes that feel larger than homes with larger square footage.  Single story homes often feel larger and not as chopped up compared to a 2 or 3 story home with the same square footage.  If willing, you can add-on to some homes as well.
  2. Must Haves.  The minimum number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square feet of living space and lot size are often examples of this.  But consider some leeway if possible to potentially include homes that can be altered.
  3. Would Likes.  A garden, a pool, a new kitchen, hardwood floors and vaulted ceilings are examples of parameters that can reduce the number of homes on a home search. Some items on the wish list can be done after moving in.  With vaulted ceilings as an example, a home with larger windows or slightly higher ceilings can sometimes suffice.

Getting Started

  1. HOME SEARCH if you would like to access the online home search I provide.
  2. Educate.  Online searches are a good way to educate yourself to prices and neighborhoods.  Utilize the street view to see surrounding homes in the neighborhood.  Utilize the satellite view to see home positioning and it’s proximity to things such as busy roads.
  3. Location is still Paramount.  But what really is a good location?  A home with a view….. but with freeway noise?  A home near a great school…..but at the intersection of school traffic?  A great neighborhood…..but the home backs to a busy road?  Share your search parameters with your agent and allow some latitude to include homes that may be a bit outside your parameters.  Exceptions are sometimes made for a great property or price.

Getting The Home

  1. Once a home is chosen, your agent can prove more value.  The goal is to get your offer accepted at the lowest possible price and a possession date that works with the move from your existing residence.  Inspections and disclosures are important to review, and your agent should have experience with this.  Inviting designers, contractors and others to view the home can be helpful too.  

Multiple Offers

  1. Getting your offer accepted without overpaying.  Your financial qualifications will play a role.  Your agent’s ability to know the number of competing offers will play a role, and can help in offering the best price and terms, without paying well above all the other offers.
  2. Pre-emptive offer.  Getting an offer accepted before an offer date is another way go .  Easier said than done, but with the right offer and an influential agent, it can be an option.
  3. Strategy.  Agents may vary when it comes to strategy on multiple offers.  Approaches by the same agent may vary as well.  No two properties, listing agents or sellers are exactly alike, and a certain agents will adjust strategy if it will help.

Inspections & Escrow

  1. Your Best Interest.  Once an offer is accepted, it is key to having an agent with your best interest in mind .  You might think the home looks great, but sometimes things are not as they seem.  You need to be aware of factors that can impact value and the comforts you expect.  

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