Create A List
Once you have found a realtor (see our previous chapter) you are comfortable with (Peter and Linda Pfann), you will want to make the most of your time when house hunting. Giving your realtor a list of what you are looking for will help narrow the search and save everyone some time.
Your list should include:
- Your price range
- Number of bedrooms you want
- Number of bathrooms
- Size of property
- Basement (finished or unfinished)
- If you want a porch, patio or balcony
- Central heat and air conditioning
- Neighborhood, and
- Any other amenities you would like
Giving your real estate agent a list of your preferences will allow them to spend more time researching homes that fit the criteria. You should list these amenities from greatest to least important because no home is perfect and you will not get everything you want or need. Let your agent know that you are flexible, but that you really want to concentrate on certain items when looking for a home.
When looking at homes with your agent, be sure to ask any questions you may have. While these questions may seem small, they may be important to your happiness.
Common questions people ask their agents are:
- How old is the home?
- How many owners has the home had?
- What kinds of renovations have been done to the home?
- How old is the plumbing?
- How low are the sellers willing to go?
- How old is the carpeting and flooring?
- How old are the windows?
While your agent may answer some of these questions before you ask them, you should ask any questions that may influence your decision to buy a home. If you do not want to put too much work into fixing up the home, you may want to buy a home that is ten years old or less. If your agent does not know all of the answers to your questions, they should be able to find out and will give you an answer within a day or two. Typically Peter and Linda will consult with you about your wishes and expectations in order to ensure that we are always looking at homes close to the type of homes you desire.
One of the best ways to remember the homes you have seen is to bring your camera and take pictures. Get permission from the agent first before taking pictures of another person’s home.
Many times, after looking at a few houses, you will forget how big the kitchen in home number two was in comparison to home number five. Having pictures will give you a better idea of the square footage and how much room you will have to work with.
Narrowing Down Your Choices
After a few weeks of viewing homes that fit what you are looking for, you should be close to finding a home that you will want to make a bid on. If you have other homes you would like to see or you have changed your mind as to what you are looking for, you should tell your agent so that they can look for other homes. Many times, if a person likes the neighborhood but not the home they were shown, they will want to see other homes in the neighborhood that are for sale. You should ask to see all of the homes available in a neighborhood that you like.
If you are still not finding a home that you like, you may need to change the neighborhoods you are looking at. While this can seem disappointing, your real estate agent will be happy to show you homes in different neighborhoods. Sometimes if you compare homes to one another, you will find redeeming qualities in a home you have already seen.
Once you have found a home that you like, you should make an offer. Contact your agent as soon as you can so that they can draw up the paperwork, contact the buyer’s agent, and make an offer before another person does. Make an offer as soon as you can in order to avoid a bidding war.
Bidding can be long and drawn out in some cases. If you do not have the time to wait out a bid or if you cannot bid any higher, then you may be looking for another home to purchase. While this can set you back, you should try to stay positive and find a home that is right for you.
Your agent should be there to guide you along during this time. Ask all the questions you have to before making an offer on a home.
Information Realtors Should Tell You
There is plenty of information that Realtors can tell you about the homes you will be viewing. Things they should tell you include:
- The price of the home and pricing history.
- The age of the home
- Any renovations that have been done
- Any other Issues with the home
- Property taxes
- Community dues
- Neighborhood crime rates, and
- The median age of those who live in the neighborhood
Usually, if your Realtor does not have the information you request on hand, they will be able to look it up once they are back at their office.
You should be able to find out all the information you need to know in order to make an informed decision about buying a home. Realtors are required by law to give you information concerning repairs, damage, and the history of a home.
This includes any incidents that have occurred inside the home such as criminal activity, fire, and other events.
You can also do a little research of your own by using the Internet, which has become a wonderful tool to use when searching for a home. You can research past events that have taken place in the neighborhood, the home itself, or the town where you want to live. Knowing a little history may prompt you to look elsewhere or make an offer.
Other information Realtors can tell you include:
- Home owner price reduction (your Realtor will talk with the seller’s Realtor once you have made an offer or want to make an offer to see how low the owners will go to sell the home)
- Prices of other homes in the area that are comparable to the one you are looking into buying
- How quickly the owner wants or needs to sell their home
- How much you will have to pay in property taxes each year, on average
- Other taxes in the area
Your Realtor is a person that should be well acquainted with the neighborhoods you are looking at when buying your first home. Don’t be afraid to ask many questions.
Working With Seller’s And Buyer’s Agents
As a home buyer, your real estate agent is considered the buyer’s agent. While some people will fore go hiring an agent at first when looking for a home in thinking that this will possibly save money by having an agent discount commission costs. The better negotiating position and ability to fully research any and all details and aspect of buying the right home will not only save money, but also save time (not having to explain your wants and needs multiple times) retains your confidentiality, and strengthen your negotiating positing overall. Your Realtor (Peter and Linda Pfann off course) will look after and should be experts in
- Handle negotiations with sellers
- Do paperwork, and
- Survey neighborhoods
- Provide direction, clarity and interpretation of facts, data and communications to achieve your objectives.
It is in your best interest to hire an agent in order to make buying a home a much easier, and faster process.
Negotiations With Sellers
Most people who sell their homes are also working with an agent. This agent is known as a seller’s agent. If you choose not to hire an agent, you will be dealing with a seller’s agent who is looking out for the home owner’s interests, and not yours.
Sometimes, though, the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent can be the same agent. This means that your agent is looking after the interests of everyone involved. This is a rare occurrence, and it is best to hire a real estate agent that can negotiate with other agents in order to get you the best deal on a home.
Negotiating with agents can take a week or more depending on how high you are willing to go and how low the owners are willing to go. This can become a complicated game once you introduce home inspectors.
After an initial home inspection, if you feel there are repairs that should be made prior to the sale of the home, or if you want a price reduction because of the repairs you will have to make, you will have to negotiate with the owners to settle on a fair price. Without an agent, you will have to do all of this work yourself.
When buying a home, there is a lot of paperwork that must be completed before the closing. This paperwork can include:
- Home inspection reports
- Home appraisal reports, and
- Fixture lists (Items that come with the home and items you would like removed)
Filing the paperwork is not difficult, but it can take some time. Working with an agent will save you time and money when creating and sending out various paperwork.
Another advantage to hiring an agent is that you will not have to do as much legwork in the beginning. You may have a few neighborhoods in mind, but you will be able to leave it to your agent to find homes for sale and setting up appointments to see them.
This is another time saver especially if you have to work during the week. Taking time from your busy day to call other agents and homeowners to set up appointments will distract you from your other daily duties.
More Reasons To Hire A Real Estate Agent
There are several other reasons to hire a real estate agent. These include:
Peace Of Mind
The bottom line is that as a buyer, a buyer’s agent is the best resource when it comes to finding and making an offer on a home. While a seller’s agent will be able to tell you the basics about a home, they are working for the homeowner.
They will not try to get you the lowest price for the home. If you enjoy negotiating, then working with seller’s agents might be for you. But if you are like most people, hiring an agent to work on your side will make the entire process more enjoyable and worthwhile in the end.
Wealth Of Knowledge
Your agent will be very knowledgeable about negotiating the right price for your new home, they will be able to help you decide where you want to live, and they will be able to guide you in buying or walking away from any property you are not sure about. This is why it is so important to talk with your agent and ask as many questions as you can before buying a home.
If you are having doubts about purchasing the home you have made an offer on, then you should tell your agent right away so that they can postpone the offer made and help you reexamine what it is you are looking for in a home. Many times the initial shock of being a homeowner can be overwhelming. Sometimes talking with your agent is enough to resolve your feelings. Other times, you may need to see a few more homes before making a decision. Your agent will be able to give you practical advice during this time.
Communicating before, during and after preparing and negotiating for you is essential in making sure that you are always aware of each and every step of the home buying process. Peter and Linda Pfann will always keep you fully informed and stay in touch with you to make sure that you always are in control of the process and progress. Nothing is ever left to chance.