Real Estate 411 - Stay COOL in your next Real Estate Transaction with these practical tips!
Things can HEAT up in the midst of a Real Estate transaction. Being prepared and having the right REALTOR can help keep you stay cool - and in this Texas heat, that is GREAT news!
Finding the right home, getting to the closing table successfully, and settling into your new environment is the result of good preparation and research.
Things may get stressful during the home buying/selling process but two important keys for avoiding the " hot buttons" are knowledge and experience. Your preparation and research combined with the expertise and training/experience of your real estate professional can be the essential ingredients to your success!
One of the keys to making the process easier and more understandable is planning and preparation. Being prepared, you will be able to anticipate requests from lenders, lawyers, and a host of other professionals. Your preparation will be your backup in the heat of the moment when things get stressful and the pressure is on. Furthermore, planning will help you discover valuable shortcuts for the process! Here are a few of our suggested tips to help you in your research and planning for your next real estate transaction.
COOL TIP #1: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Location is a huge factor to consider when buying a home as it affects:
● Purchase Price ● Drive-time/Commute
● Resale Price ● Entertainment/Shopping
● School System
You are buying more than a home – you are buying a lifestyle! Start thinking about your likes and dislikes. Do your own research and “due diligence” regarding the neighborhood, schools, places of worship, city leadership and the general “feel” of the community. Buying a new home is not just an economic investment, it is an investment in your life and the life of your family. Nobody really knows what return you expect from that investment except you.
Take stock of yourself and what you are looking for in a home – and write it down. Do you need to be close to work or school? Do you like taking care of a yard or not? Do you want to be near shopping areas, or do you want to be out in the country? Do you have (or want) pets? Do you work on cars? Do you need to be near medical facilities? Thinking about your lifestyle will help you focus on the home that is right for you. Know the difference between needs and wants, your ultimate “dream home” may not be the home you can buy today.
COOL TIP #2: Know how much you can afford?
Consult with a mortgage professional and be knowledgeable about your income, your credit score, and what you owe. Armed with this information, you can make an informed decision about how much house payment you can handle and how much money you will need up front to purchase a home.
Buy what you can afford or even a little less than what you can afford. You might qualify for a higher payment only to find out later that you have to change your lifestyle in order to handle that payment. It is a good idea to get approved for your loan in advance. Obtain a letter from the lender that says “John and Mary Jones are approved for a loan of X-thousand dollars at Y-percent for Z-years SUBJECT ONLY TO THE APPRAISAL OF THE PROPERTY.” This way, you will not be tempted to buy more house than you can afford, or waste your time (and disappoint yourself) if you don’t qualify for that dream home.
Know how much you can afford and stay within your budget - this will help you avoid the HEAT of financial stress and possible disaster!
One last tip on this subject to keep in mind: Do not spend any money once you are under contract on anything other than normal household expenses and bills. That means don't make a large purchase on a credit card, or take out any loans for large items, don't buy boats or cars, or new furniture for the house. Until the closing process has been completed, DON'T SPEND ANY MONEY!
COOL TIP #3: Choose a real estate agent that is knowledgeable about the real estate market and the area you are interested in
Get a good real estate agent...and this is not just me singing the company tune! A buyer needs to know what the contract means! Is my earnest money at risk? Is my option money refundable? Did the Seller really agree to make all the repairs at no cost to me? When can I really move in? These are just a few potential “bumps” that can turn in to heated, stressful issues! You can avoid the heat and stay COOL by hiring a real estate professional to represent you and ONLY you. This advice applies equally to the purchase of a new home, too. New home contracts tend to favor the builder, not the buyer.
When selecting the real estate agent you want to work with, start online. When you are looking at homes that interest you, check out the listing agent, look at their website and read their profiles or blog.
- Choose a real estate agent that you can communicate with and one that freely communicates with you.
- Does the agent have knowledge of the neighborhoods and different types of homes in the area you are interested in?
- Is the agent knowledgeable about the mortgage process? This is one area that can cause the most issues. Your Realtor needs to be able to effectively understand and communicate with you and the lender on all things financial. The agent should be able to help you choose a reputable mortgage loan officer. You will be sharing a great deal of important information with this individual (the loan officer AND the agent too), you need to be confident that they are professional and reputable.
When you hire a Realtor - sign a buyer representation agreement; demand a consultation where the entire process is clearly explained PRIOR to getting into the car. This will eliminate confusion and anxiety and help you stay COOL throughout the transaction - giving you a sense of trust and calm! An educated buyer is a more powerful buyer. Listen to the advice of the Real Estate Professional you choose. Their duty is to you and if you have chosen well they will guide you through the process and help you avoid the heat that comes from potential pitfalls in the home buying process. And keep in mind they may not tell you what you want to hear but they will tell you what you need to hear!