Making Life Easier for Home Buyers

Every time I try to do something new or something that is important to my life that I’m not super familiar with, I try to find one or more people in the know who I can ask the same question to: “What are some of the most common mistakes you see people in my position make?”

Sometimes, they’re surprised by the question and have no real answer for me, more often they give me some tips that help make things a bit easier for me and once in a while they save me from walking into a landmine or two. This post is about how I would answer such a question if a new buyer were to ask it to me.

– First off, you want to make sure you know what you can afford and what your plan is. I recently saw the phrase somewhere “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” So, regardless of what you think you can afford, you will want to make sure you have a solid financial plan in place and talking to a Mortgage Broker is a big part of that.  You don’t need to wait until you’re about to buy the home, and it’s much better to do it as soon as you start thinking that’s making the purchase is something you’re serious about doing. A Mortgage Broker will usually do more for you than a bank can for reasons I won’t go into here.  It would cause professional embarrassment for your Realtor, and waste the time, effort and money of everyone on both sides of the deal if you have an accepted offer on a place that you were sure you could afford, but it turns out you can’t get the mortgage for. You may find that it makes more financial sense to buy sooner than later, or vice-versa. Or you may find that you can afford something nicer than you originally dreamed of quite easily, or the opposite.

– Know the difference between what you need, want you really want and what you would like to have. Too many criteria can make it hard for you to find anything that suits you and asking for too much for your given price range is a sure way to find few if any potential places to live. In other words, be ready to redefine your search as you become more familiar with what’s available.

-I generally recommend that buyers look at 6 to 8 homes in person before they make a choice. This way, they have a reasonably good idea as to what is out there that is available to them. I also think, but don’t need to say so often, that if you’ve looked at 15 places and still haven’t found anything you want to make an offer on, it’s probably time to change your criteria. If you can’t change the price range, you might change something like how many square feet in the home or in the yard, how many bathrooms you need, how new and polished in needs to be and so on.

-Remember that I, as your Realtor, spend my days looking at homes of all sorts. I’ve seen all sorts of things real estate both beautiful and crazy exist and happen. I’ve dealt with a lot of negotiations in my time and I’ve seen people get what they want against the odds and I’ve seen people throw away amazing, life altering opportunities because they decided to take the advice of their buddy, their uncle, or some guy they met at a bar. That’s the one that gets me, and that’s probably the one that stresses me out the most. When I hear phrases that start something like “I was talking to (someone who bought a house once) and they told me to….” I cringe because that advice is as likely to be useful as it is to be harmful. You see, every sale is unique and what that person went through won’t be quite the same as what you go through. I find that some people also think they know more than they really do, that’s just how some people are wired. At least when you’re dealing with a professional such as me, you know that if I have an opinion on something I can back it up with experience or at very least with legit info that has been passed my way. If I don’t know something, I will tell you, and will either find out the answer or tell you how you can do it.

-Above all, clear and concise communication is key. It’s just as import that you listen and understand everything I tell you as your Realtor as it is for me to listen and understand everything you tell me.

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