So, you’ve made the decision: you’re buying a house! Whether you’re a first time buyer or a veteran investor, you know you need one thing: a real estate agent. The benefit of being on the buyer’s side of a real estate transaction is that the seller covers the costs of both agents involved, but many agents are especially dedicated to help buyers [like you] find exactly what you’re looking for quickly and efficiently. They know the market and they’re ready to fulfill your dream home checklist. So where do you start?
Get A Pre-approval Letter
A buyer’s agent, first and foremost, needs a realistic price point to begin the search. It’s imperative that when seeking out an agent, you’re prepared to answer questions about your financial stature. Meeting with a mortgage loan officer beforehand to help you organize your finances, better understand your existing debt, and figure out what you can afford, is a great place to start. Most importantly, get a pre-approval letter. This is a surefire way to show the agent that you’re a serious buyer and a worthy priority.
Do Your Research
So you’re pre-approved! Now what? Research. Buying a home is a big investment and you’re entitled to have some demands. Familiarize yourself with the area in which you’re looking to buy. Developing a list of desirable features, must-haves, and deal breakers for your future home will give your agent some parameters while saving you both the time of checking out listings you know won’t work for you. Oftentimes, agents are familiar with off-market listings requiring a particular kind of buyer, so the more information you can provide about your situation, the better the agent can tailor the search, ultimately getting you closer to the finish line.
Prepare a Timeline
Pre-approval letters are usually valid for a time period of 90-120 days, depending on your lending institution. It’s important to consider your current living situation and any contractual obligations you may have. Are you in a lease? How quickly is the market moving? If you find your dream home tomorrow, would you be able to cover multiple living expenses for a period of time if required? These are all important questions to consider when beginning the process of buying a home.
-Alyssa Bybee, LUX broker