- First, determine if it’s a buyer’s market or a seller’s market in your area of focus. This can help with expectations.
- Get pre approved for a real estate loan. It is important to have a pre approval letter from a reputable mortgage company, preferably local, so you and your agent know your limitations.
- Choose your target area: Town, zip code, or outlined map area.
- Choose your “must haves”: Minimum number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square feet of living space and lot size as examples.
- Choose your “would likes”: A fourth bedroom, over 2000 square feet of living space, a lot of over 10,000 square feet, vaulted ceilings, a remodeled kitchen, a three-car garage, a swimming pool, a one story home as examples.
- Online searches are great. Redfin and Zillow are popular search sites and there are others. This is 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.
- Share your search parameters with your agent. Allow some latitude so your agent can include homes that may be a bit outside your parameters. In some cases, buyers will make exceptions for a great property or price.
Getting The Home
- Once a home is chosen, this is where your agent often prove even more value. The goal is to get your offer accepted for the lowest price possible, with the best terms, and your possession date to work with the move from your existing residence.
- When competing against more than one buyer for the same property, the goal is to get 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. Your agent’s ability to gauge the best offering price and terms, based on the number of offers and information provided, may be the most important factor of all.
- Getting an offer accepted before an offer date is another way to succeed versus a likely multiple offer situation. Easier said than done, but with the right offer and an influential agent, this is doable.
- Strategy among agents will vary when it comes to multiple offers. My approach often varies from one transaction to the next because no two listing agents, sellers or buyers are alike. Adjustments are often made to improve the odds for success.
Inspections & Escrow
- Having an agent who is looking out for your best interest and not rooting for the deal, just to get paid, is important when it comes to inspections and escrow. You may have chosen a great home, but sometimes things are not as they seem. You need to be protected against excessive repair costs and factors that can hurt resale value.
The information above is a shortened outline to keep it simple. There is a lot more to it of course.