How I Can Help You Buy a Home
Whether it’s your first home or if you’re an experienced buyer, purchasing a home is a complex process.
By working with me, you’ll find a home in the neighborhood where you want to live,
one that fits your budget and meets your goals for features, quality and value.
Once you’ve found the home that’s right for you, I will guide you through the process of making an offer;
negotiating the terms of the sale; getting your potential purchase inspected, repaired and appraised; and closing the sale.
When you work with me, you will:
- Be more likely to find the home that meets all your criteria
- Lessen the amount of time it will take to find your home
- Understand all the terms, processes and documents used when buying your home
- Have up-to-date market information that will allow you to make informed decisions
- Have a skilled negotiator working on your behalf, one who is committed to looking after your best interests
- Enjoy peace of mind, knowing that all the details of your purchase are being taken care of by an experienced and knowledgeable professional
Getting a Legitimate Lender and Getting Pre-Approved
It used to be that buyers could go house shopping and when they have found their dream home, then they go to get pre-approved. However, in today’s market, that has proven to be one of the least effective methods in landing the dream home.
Most lenders can pre-qualify you for a mortgage over the phone. Based on general questions about your income, debt, assets, and credit history, lenders can estimate how much mortgage you qualify for. However, being pre-qualified and pre-approved are different things. Pre-approval means that you have applied for a mortgage; you have filled out the mortgage application, received your credit report, and verified your employment, assets, etc. When you are pre-approved, you know exactly what the maximum loan amount will be.
A pre-qualified letter is not verified and in essence, does not count for much if you are competing with other buyers who are pre-approved. When you are pre-approved, you and the seller know exactly how much house you can afford. It gives you credibility as an interested buyer and lets the seller know immediately that you will qualify for a loan to buy their property.
In addition to being pre-approved, it’s important to be pre-approved with a legitimate lender. Legitimate lenders include: banks, mortgage bankers, credit unions, savings and loan associations, mortgage brokers, and online lenders.
Some lenders to avoid: those who lose a form or misplace a file, those who gather information from you in an unorganized manner, those who are not informed about interest rates, points or costs, and those who cannot provide you with the right information.
Avoiding Financial Stress
By asking the right questions, and knowing exactly what your needs are, you can find the right loan for you. There are certain approaches that you can take while mortgage shopping that can cost or save you money.
It is still true that the better qualifications you have, the lower your interest rate will be. However, there are mortgages available for almost everyone; it's the interest rates or the down payments that vary.
Before speaking with a lender, know what monthly dollar amount you feel comfortable committing to. Then when you discuss mortgage pre-approval with your lender, it is easier for you to determine the monthly amount and what value of home the monthly amount translates into. Do not put yourself in the position where you will be paying more each month than you intended simply because the dream home requires it.
Do your research on the types of mortgages available to you and find the one that best suits your needs. There are a number of considerations to be made in terms of finding the best mortgage for each individual:
- What type of market are you in? Are the interest rates falling or rising?
- Do you want a fixed mortgage rate, where you will always know what your payment is going to be?
- What are your long-term goals? Do you intend to resell the property? Do you only need the mortgage for a short time?
Importance of Inspection
As a buyer, you are entitled to know exactly what you are getting. Don’t take anything for granted, not even what you see or what the seller or listing agent tell you. A professional home inspection is something you MUST do, whether you are buying an existing home or a new one. An inspection is an opportunity to have an expert look closely at the property you are considering purchasing and getting both an oral and written opinion as to its condition.
Beforehand, make sure the report will be done by a professional organization, such as a local trade organization or a national trade organization such as ASHI (American Society of Home Inspection). Not only should you never skip an inspection, but also you should be present with the inspector during the inspection. This gives you a chance to ask questions about the property and get answers that are not biased. In addition, the oral comments are typically more revealing and detailed than what you will find on the written report. Once the inspection is complete, review the inspection report carefully.
You have to demand an inspection when you present your offer. It must be written in as a contingency. If you do not approve the inspection report, then do not buy the home. Most real estate contracts automatically provide an inspection contingency.
How I Can Help You Sell a Home
Helping find a buyer for your home is only one facet of a real estate professional’s job. There are many more aspects including explaining the basic real estate practices and principles and all the related paperwork, Performing a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to help determine your home’s value, helping to prepare your home for sale, listing your home, marketing your home, keeping you informed throughout the process. When the sale begins, it’s important to work with someone who will assist you with the paperwork, negotiate on your behalf, make sure deadlines are met, and work with the escrow company.
By working with me, you will:
- Be more likely to realize the highest return on the sale of your home
- Reduce the number of days your home is on the market
- Become familiar with all the terms, processes and paperwork involved in selling your home
- Have confidence that your home will enjoy exposure to more buyers and agents with qualified buyers
- Receive regularly updated market information that will enable you to make informed decisions
- Have a skilled negotiator working on your behalf
- Have peace of mind knowing that all the details of your sale are being handled properly by a licensed and trained professional
Getting the Highest Price in the Shortest Time
In order to get the highest price in the shortest time, you need to know how to market your home. The better you market your home, the more offers you will get. And the more offers you get, the more choices you have to get the price and terms you want.
The most important factor of marketing your home is pricing it right. Your price should be adjusted to reflect the market and your property’s worth. The key is to get as many people as possible checking out your fairly priced property. If your property is not priced fairly, there will be no buyers because your price is set too high.
Another important factor is the condition of your home. Make sure that your home looks ready to be sold. Fix any defects (peeling or faded paint, cracks, stains, etc.) Condition alone can sometimes prompt fast buying decisions. Not only should you fix any defects, but consider upgrading your home by making major repairs and cosmetic improvements before selling. A nice looking home triggers the emotional response that can lead to a financial response.
Learn how to negotiate the best terms for all parties involved. Terms are another factor that may be adjusted to attract buyers. If you insist on getting your asking price, think of what you can offer to the buyers. For example, improvements you’ve made or even offering seller financing at a lower than market interest rate on a portion of the sale price. Convince them why they should be paying the price you have set.
Lastly, get the buzz out about your home. List your house with a hot agent that ensures your house is listed on the MLS and on the Internet. On your own, get the word out. It should always be visible to passersby that your house is for sale, whether it is through signs, local advertisements or you telling friends, family, and acquaintances.
Setting the Price
The price is the first thing buyers notice about your property. If you set your price too high, then the chance of alienating buyers is higher. You want your house to be taken seriously, and the asking price reflects how serious you are about selling your home.
Several factors will contribute to your final decision. First, you should compare your house to others that are in the market. If you use an agent, he/she will provide you with a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis). The CMA will reflect the following:
- houses in your price range and area that were sold within the last half-year
- asking and selling prices of houses
- current inventory of houses on the market
- features of each house on the market
From the CMA, you will learn the difference between the asking price and selling price for all homes sold, the condition of the market, and other houses comparable to yours.
Also, try to find out what types of houses are selling and see if it applies to your area. Buyers follow trends, and these trends can help you set your price.
Always be realistic. Understand and set your price to reflect the current market situation.
Making a Good First Impression
If you want buyers to be interested in your home, you need to show it in its best light. A good first impression can influence a buyer both emotionally and visually, thus prompting them to make an offer. In addition, what the buyer first sees is what they think of when they consider the asking price.
A bad first impression can dissuade a potential buyer. Don’t show your property until it’s all fixed up. You do not want to give buyers the chance to use the negative first impression they have as means of negotiation.
Ask around for the opinions others have of your home. Real estate agents who see houses everyday can give solid advice on what needs to be done. Consider what architects or landscape designers have to say. What you need are objective opinions, and it’s sometimes hard to separate the personal and emotional ties you have for the home from the property itself.
Typically, there are some general fix ups that need to be done both outside and on the inside. As a seller, you should consider the following:
- Landscaping - Has the front yard been maintained? Are areas of the house visible to the street in good condition?
- Cleaning or Redoing the driveway - Is your driveway cluttered with toys, tools, trash etc.?
- Painting - Does both the exterior and the interior look like they have been well taken care of?
- Carpeting - Does the carpet have stains? Or does the carpet look old and dirty?