Looking for a smooth transaction when buying a home? Following some basic tips can help you avoid aggravation and rough seas on the way to ownership. Remember, there are many parties to the contract so communication is key and you’re sailing the ship.
Starting with picking the right team and, setting reasonable expectations for each member lays a solid foundation. Let’s go through each, and how best to decide who’s right for you; the real estate agent you choose should be local. Not from the biggest company, not the oldest company but a knowledgeable, local professional who understands teamwork. An agent you feel comfortable with when asking questions and confident with their answers. It’s about you, what you want, what you like and where you want to be, not the agent. Let them know you expect them to work with your lender, insurance professional and closing attorney. If they have a big ego, move on to the next.
The mortgage lender should have the same requirements as the real estate agent. Local is better because you can physically reach them should something important come up and you need to get answers. They must be transparent, be willing to communicate with all parties promptly and stay within the timeframe of the contract. If lenders are out of state then they aren’t always aware of the real estate laws here in North Carolina, which can slow down the process.
A closing attorney is key to making sure the transaction is going to close on time. Ask that they copy all parties when communicating with you, this is vital as the closing date approaches.
Now that you have a team in place and you have been “preapproved” by your lender, it’s time to start looking. Make a wish list for the home search in order of importance. If you haven’t decided on a specific location or area you would like to be in, then get in the car and drive around. Don’t just look at the homes in a neighborhood, but look at the neighborhood. Does it look clean and appear safe; is it close to work, shopping and entertainment? Location is one of the most difficult things to decide on. It doesn’t make sense to fall in love with a home that isn’t where you are willing to live. Once you have a general idea of where you want to be, then it’s time to go in to view some homes in your price range. Don’t go to homes above your maximum budget. It makes it harder to find something you love if you compare it to one you can’t have. There will be some negotiating your wish list, as there is never going to be a perfect match. Trading off on things less important in order to gain an item or two that are “must have” will be worth it in the end.
Ready to make an offer? Your agent can show you comparable properties to ensure you make a good offer. In a seller’s market there isn’t always a lot of room for negotiating the price but, you can make it up by asking for closing costs, appliances that aren’t already included, a home warranty, or other personal items you would like to stay in the home.
If you use local professionals, have strong communication with your team, and can be flexible with your search, then it will be smooth sailing through the home buying experience.
by Mary Ellen Holleran, Holleran Real Estate & Consulting, contributing writer