Part 2, the “During” Phase
In my previous article, I presented the 1st phase of the home buying process— what you need to do in order to prepare yourself for homeownership. It can be a bit overwhelming, but if you’re reading this, you have probably followed my advice. You have followed my advice and soaked up every bit of homebuyers’ tips you could find, read every article, and annoyed every co-worker with questions. Or you want to see where I am in my home buying journey. I can tell you that it’s been a journey like The Hobbit— that really, really, really long series of films.
Now, you’re ready to begin your search. Your realtor will find properties for you. Become friends with your realtor. He or she will call you day and night and drag you from place to place. Don’t feel pressured to see a property that isn’t for you. I had a tough time getting my realtor to show me listings in my price range, but I remained steadfast and eventually she got it. Know that a realtor will always try to get you to buy more than you need.
So just how do you get the most out of your relationship with your realtor?
6 Tips To Working With Your Realtor
Understand that online search apps are not always 100 percent accurate. You need to consult with your realtor to get all the details.
Find a realtor that knows the area. I recommend using a realtor who represents only you and not the seller as well. If he or she represents both parties, the realtor may not fight as hard for you when negotiating the price.
Offer a fair price but don’t be insulting. I always checked with my realtor first to make sure my initial offer wouldn’t turn off the seller.
Unless you plan on living in your home for the rest of your life, don’t be too upset if you cannot purchase your dream home. Keep in mind that you should anticipate living in your home for at least 5-10 years before selling it, so review tax records, school systems, etc. before buying.
Go into the search with an open mind. This is a crucial point. Try to visualize yourself in the home. You may not like the paint colors or the room layouts but if you can concentrate just on the skeleton of the house, it will help you make a decision to purchase. You can put the time and energy into changing paint colors and cabinets and hardware later to really make the home your own.
Understand that in addition to paying closing fees, lawyers, and a mortgage payment, you’ll probably need to make some repairs. If you do not request a home inspection, you are at the mercy of the universe when it comes to major home renovations. I was quoted $18,000 to fix an existing problem that the seller did not want to pay for. Consult with your lawyer because often the bank will not appraise or even fund a loan if the home is in need of such a drastic repair. I thought I would be able to get a credit— not true.
Once you have discussed with the lender what you can afford and have found a house you would like to put an offer on, you need to do a lot of time-crunching activities, such as getting inspections and signing stacks of paperwork. It’s a marathon of headaches. But is it worth it? Stay tuned for the final installment. We’ll find out what all the fuss is about!