What Buyers Must Know Before Buying Any Home
Don’t get “pre-qualified”
If you want to get the best house you can, at it’s lowest price – you must put yourself in the strongest negotiating position. Price is a consideration, but other terms such as the strength of the buyer and the time required to close are important to the seller. Getting prequalified by talking to a lender and answering a few questions just isn’t enough. None of the information has been verified. Educated sellers know this. Also problems can surface after credit reports are pulled and public records are checked. You haven’t proven that you have the money you need. What will really impress the seller is if you are PREAPPROVED, subject only to an appraisal. This is a powerful negotiating tool which may determine which offer the seller takes.
Sell first, Buy later *
If you have a house to sell, sell it before you make an offer on a home. If you don’t, you will be a contingency buyer. Your offers will be subject to the sale of your present home. How do you think the seller will feel about taking that risk? A preapproved buyer’s offer, with no such contingency, may be accepted even if it is for less money. If there isn’t another buyer, the seller would want full price for taking the risk. Then you will be under extreme pressure to get your house sold and may take less. If you buy first, then sell, it will cost you more. However, if selling first causes a double move, this would be an extra expense to be considered.
- * UPDATE ON 2 ABOVE: Recent market conditions have created an extreme seller’s market where homes are selling fast. In this situation you can buy first if your home will sell fast enough to do a back to back closing.
Make a list of requirements before seeing homes
List “must have”, “want it to have”, and “don’t wants.” Make a scorecard for each home you will see. Pick the one with the best score. Keep in mind the difference between SKIN and BONES. The skin consists of easily changed surface items like paint and carpet. The bones are things which cannot be changed such as location, view, noise, schools and floor plan. Buy a house with good bones! Imagine the house empty and ignore decorations and personal items when picking the right house.
Don’t be pushed into a house
Your agent should be a good listener and show you homes that meet your requirements. It’s ok to buy the first house, but only after seeing enough for a good comparison. On the other hand, seeing too many homes can be confusing. Ask your agent to do a computer search while you watch. This enables you to be sure you will see the homes you want to see and not just the ones the agent wants to show. Be prepared to make an offer when you see the right house. Homes are selling quickly these days. If your requirements are unusual you don’t want to miss the right one by taking too long.
Stop calling on ads
The only purpose of real estate ads is to make the agent’s phone ring. Ads don’t contain the negative information. The person writing the ad represents the seller. Your buyer’s agent will look out for you and has the experience it takes to be critical and match you with the homes which meet your requirements. Computerized searching creates a better match and saves a lot of time. Don’t hesitate to sign a buyer’s agency agreement after you are satisfied that the agent will be the best one for you. The fees are negotiable and usually will be paid by the seller anyway and you can negotiate the length of the agency. This contract gives you important rights and better representation. Remember, some of the best homes sell without a sign or an ad being placed. Be loyal to your agent and he/she will work well for you.
Seller disclosure form
It is important to read, understand and sign the seller disclosure form prior to signing the offer. The seller is required to provide this form which discloses significant defects which are known to the seller. If you are aware of significant defects and want the seller to cure them, make it part of your offer. Make all offers subject to a good inspection. This would apply to new homes as well as pre-owned homes.
Ask for a comparative market analysis (CMA)
Your buyer’s agent can do this for you. It helps you know how much to offer. The asking price could be higher or lower than market value. Your offer shouldn’t be based just on the list price. It may be wise to measure the house. Listing agents make mistakes.
I hope this report has been helpful. It should be clear to you now that you need a competent agent on your side. At The Tobey Group we have structured our practice to offer you the most competent service possible. We help you fill your real estate needs and give you real estate education at the same time!
YOUR SATISFACTION is GUARANTEED. A majority of our business is repeat customers and personal referrals. When I find you new home, I ask that you replace yourself as a buyer by referring me to a friend or relative. That way I can spend my time helping them rather than spending time prospecting for clients.
Bigger isn’t better. Chances are if you call a large office you will get a new agent with limited experience. Also they charge substantial transaction fees to buyers and sellers. We don’t.