We all like to do research before making
big purchases, right? Our homes should not be an exception here. Your Realtor is the best source of information from which to glean information. He is the expert on your area. I’m going to help you out today with a bit of information to save you and your Realtor a bit of time and sanity when you are searching together for your dream home.
Here are five things you need to know when buying a house:
1.) GO AHEAD AND ASSUME ZILLOW.COM IS WRONG!
Yes. That’s what I said. Zillow is wrong. However interesting and super helpful it seems to be, and often can be, it is a well-known fact in the real estate world that approximately 3434624235% of the time, Zillow isn’t quite sure what it is talking about. You are likely to find homes listed as ‘For Sale’ that are not actually on the market, Zestimates (Zillow’s home estimates) that are completely inaccurate, and homes not listed for sale that are, indeed, on the market. So, before you tell your Realtor, “But, Zillow said…..” Let me stop you right there. Please. Don’t do it. Trust me.
2.) GET PREAPPROVED!
Preapproval. It is an extremely important step in the process. Before showing you homes, your Realtor is likely to recommend a few lenders for you to choose from for your preapproval. What the lender will do is check out your credit and let you know the amount he is willing to lend you for your mortgage. NOTE: Preapproval and prequalification ARE NOT THE SAME. Prequalification means the lender/bank give you a ballpark estimate of how much you could get, but it is NOT a promise they will lend you anything.
Why is preapproval so important? Well, if you call me and tell me you want to see houses in the $200,000-$250,000 range and I show you homes in that range, let’s say you fall in love with one. “The One” costs $225,000. You’re not preapproved. After finding “The One,” you go get preapproved for a mortgage loan- only they approve you for $175,000. Now that you’ve fallen in love with “The One,” you have two options: Pay the difference between what the lender is offering and the price of the home ($50,000) in cash at closing or forget about “The One” and look for a house in your price range. This brings me to my next point.
3.) DON’T LOOK FOR HOMES OUTSIDE YOUR PRICE RANGE
What harm could it do to see homes you can’t afford? A guy can dream, right? Answer: Yes. Should you do it? Answer: NO! Let’s continue the scenario from earlier. “The One” is way out of your price range and you can’t afford the extra $50K down payment. Now what? If your Realtor has spent time showing you homes you can’t afford, both of your time has been wasted. Furthermore, it is quite possible that homes you look at in the price range you now know you can buy will pale in comparison to “The One.” That just isn’t fair to you. I say this not because we Realtors don’t enjoy showing you homes. It’s our job and WE LOVE IT. I tell you this because I don’t want to see you disappointed and comparing all the homes you see to “The One.”
HOWEVER, IF this does happen to you, TRUST YOUR REALTOR. Chances are, since he is an expert in your local market, he has a property in his back pocket that will fit your budget and your dreams. We are awesome like that.
4.) Don’t Lowball.
You may think you’re just “trying to get a good deal” but if you come in with an offer MUCH below asking price, it is possible that you could offend the seller and he could completely write you off. READ: He might not even consider other offers from you. Remember that it’s quite likely that the seller has some sort of emotional attachment to the home and if you come in with a lowball offer, he might take that as you saying, “Your home isn’t worth the price.” BOOM. You have effectively shut down communication. Your Realtor will know (and should tell you) when your offer is too low. However, at the end of the day, we work for you. If you want us to put in the low offer, we will do it. But know that if you REALLY love the home, it’s worth paying for.
5.) Your Realtor LOVES her job. Let her guide you!
The home buying process can be a crazy thing. It can get emotional. It can get scary. That is why your Realtor is a Realtor. She knows the process. She loves the process. She IS the process. (OK. That may have gone a little far. But, still.) She will guide you from preapproval to getting the keys and EVERYWHERE in between. Don’t be afraid to ask your questions. Don’t be afraid to call and ask to see a house. Don’t be afraid to bother her. Her job is to help you buy a home. UTILIZE THAT.
OK. So I said FIVE things you should know, but this is pretty important, too. DID YOU KNOW that YOU don’t pay your Buyer’s Agent (AKA Realtor working for you, THE BUYER?)?? His commission comes from the commission paid by the SELLER!
So, please! Don’t hesitate to call. Just don’t call me with the latest Zestimate. (HA!) But, really. Don’t. Hesitate, that is.
Feel free to leave your questions, your comments, and your general real estate love!