Idk how your experience(s) have gone but I've been a client twice on the purchasing side of real estate.
Both I'd rate below expectations or disappointed, but I only have that perspective because of this information I now have, being in the business. At the time, I felt pleased with the process.
Keep in mind, nothing in this post is about another agent, but I do have my opinions and processes that I use for myself and in dealing w you, because of those experiences.
Say you're starting to get the itch. Spring is here, maybe you scanned through Zillow or something just for fun, and you're getting interested.
First question you need answered is "What can I afford?" So you want to come up with your own personal budget for yourself and/or your family. (Notice I didn't say "find out what you're approved for," big difference, more on that in a sec). In your budget, some of the obvious - income, credit card or school debt, consistent bills, school loans, and maybe some projections involving your cell phone, gas, electrical, etc. At this point, given that you haven't actually purchased a home, some of these are ball park figures, but it will help you narrow down where you currently rest from a financial stand point.
*Along w these ball park figures and projections, take into consideration your "fun money," family growth, vacations, etc. This is a conversation we'll have, not too sure how many agents will, because we may be talking about finding a house that costs less. If you're budget is set at a certain point for a particular house, but you're only left w $200-$300 left at the end of the month, that doesn't sound very secure. By secure I mean car trouble, health issues, plus vacations, random getaways you'll need. What if you want to go back and take some classes in 18 months, you'll need money. Now, this isnt for me to judge, but things get emotional and exciting and you're going to want to pull the trigger on that "dream house." But the last thing I actually want is for you to make that decision then regret it 12 months down the road because of finances. I want this decision to be well thought out and have your family in mind.
So when setting your budget, be smart and think down the road a little.
So your budget is set, now you need to know what the bank says or whatever union is supplying your loan. They'll require financial docs per their standards and basically looking at your payment history and debt to income status. Then they'll say "approved for $170,000."
But what if your budget parked you around the $135,000 range based on the fact that you want/need your mortgage payment around $900-$950 per month?
My advice, stay in the 135 range. Don't get caught up in saying "eh, whats another $50?" Because you'll say it 3 times and that extra $50 turns into an extra $150 really quick. Just because the bank says you can buy in that zone doesn't mean you should (yes, the bank would love to hand out a large loan). Again, go back to your budget. Let the budget be your backbone in this, not the bank, a pre-approval letter or your emotions. I've seen many people get very excited w their search engine and continued to add $5,000 here and there and finally finished their search $25,000 higher than they actually wanted because they "fell in love," w a house. It happens. But work to not let it. Make the decision w logic and think about your life.
So now you're approved!!! Time to actually tour around and see what's what!
You call or email me something to the effect of "searching Zillow, saw a sweet 3 bedroom in _________. Can we check it out?" Absolutely, let's roll!
We walk in, I hang back.
I will never "sell," you on a house. Ever. My job during this portion of the process is to host the tours, supply significant information pertaining to the house and other relevant homes in the area (relevant means similar acreage/bed/bath/square footage,/school district/etc). If there's something better in the area, I'll say "you can get more for your money," if you're on the fence. Speed is important when buying, but not desperation (unless there's a situation where you need to buy NOW).
If it's priced accurately or comparative to others in your area, I'll say it. I will always give you the actual information and trends, not my personal preference.
**Something to know (more for young families), I've been a football coach throughout North East Ohio for a few years now, 13. So I have a pretty strong handle on school systems and movement/trends in levies.
Staying with tours and theres two sides to this and we'll explore as we move. On one hand I want you to see a lot of homes. I want you to actually explore your likes and dislikes. Seeing pics on a website is one thing, but actually walking through a home is completely different. Pics can be deceiving in both directions. I've seen homes w a poor gallery online but looked really nice inside and vice versa. So we want to get in there and actually see different lay-outs.
Other side is speed and this is touchy. You dont want to feel rushed and you want to think and process information, but so are 15 other buyers who have toured the same home you're looking at. And they also know time is essential. So while you're sleeping on it, they pulled the trigger and now you're in a multi-bid situation or already lost it.
When you see it, execute. Especially right now (May 2017), houses are flying right now. Great time to sell and buy.
"Yeah yeah, you're writing that because its your job."
If thats your thought, I'll show you my screen. Many, many houses have been sold with 14 days this season, that's fast. Especially with Howard Hanna. The largest mountain with the biggest net. When you list a home w me, you will have maximum exposure. When you purchase through me, everything is in house and communication flies to minimize any hiccups in connecting banks w loan operators w agents and so on. There are many moving pieces in the process, so quick communication is essential.
Once your offer is in and accepted, there will be inspections and some hoops to jump through (mostly signatures and alterations) but stay patient. Everyone involved wants to see it happen, no one is against you, its just a matter of crossing T's, dotting I's and the banks processing the proper paperwork.
Like everything in life, have a plan and execute. From your budget to your search, home prep to the open house to the sale.
Contact whenever you like to go over your options, get some general info, get a handle of the market in your area, check out some homes in the areas or meet with our finance officer to see exactly where you stand.