Sometimes I get a call from a buyer that wants to go look at a home (one would hope that I would get calls like that!) and as I ask some basic questions I quickly realize that this potential buyer is very early in their home buying process. Asking questions is the key to being an good Realtor and asking the right questions is the key to being an effective Realtor. Before you start calling around to request showings please consider the following in your process:
- Research and gather information about neighborhoods and schools. Ask your friends and co-workers what they like and dislike about where they live to give you a clear picture of a neighborhoods features. And narrowing down your search based on a school district is important to your search too (if relevant). Don't wait until you fall in love with a home to then find out that the school district isn't good fit for your family. You can search homes in specific school districts on our website. This is also an important time to understand agency and the difference between a Buyer's Agent and a Seller's (or Listing) Agent and what that means in your search.
- Discuss and determine what you want beforehand - how many bedrooms, approximate square footage, preferred neighborhoods, energy efficient and green homes, and how much you can afford to spend. A buyer consultation (usually a no obligation appointment) is crucial to a successful search. One of the most common complaints is, "My Realtor showed me homes that weren't a good fit. S/he just didn't listen to my needs." And that is why this meeting is so important. Sitting down at a table with all parties openly talking ensures your Realtor will understand what is important to you in your next home.
- Make sure your credit report is accurate. There would be nothing worse than finding the perfect house and missing your chance to make an offer because there's an error on your credit history that places you in an unfavorable light with a lender.
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage before you begin looking at homes. Not only will this give you an exact price range for your purchase, but pre-approved will add muscle to your offer. This is when you can start conversations with lenders but don't feel like you have to work with the lender you get pre-approved with. There are a lot of great lenders out there with different programs that you'll want to understand clearly. And what you are pre-approved for isn't necessarily what you want to spend. Use our mortgage calculator to help you figure out what you're monthly payment will be.
- Keep in mind that there's no such thing as the "perfect" home. Instead, set priorities. Determine what may be more important on your list. For example you may want a 2 car garage in a specific area where many homes only have a one car garage. You may have to decide if the garage or the neighborhood is more important to you. Our team of buyer specialists are specially trained to help you with these decisions and give you important input on what will help you sell later too.
We can help and we want to help. Contact us to schedule a free and no obligation buyer consultation to see if we are a good fit for you: firstname.lastname@example.org, 608-251-6600. You can find us on Facebook too!