Many buyers are not succeeding in this difficult “seller’s market” because of inadequate preparation and readiness.
Others do not succeed due to “analysis-paralysis,” or trying to analyze and rationalize too much.
The following are highlights of perhaps the most relevant factors a potential buyer will benefit from based on having successfully represented nearly 400 buyers in the purchase process.
1) Timing is a critical factor. Be mindful of not waiting too long to begin the search process since the search may take more time than expected. Alternatively, identifying a specific property too early may be counter productive. It is wise, however, to become generally educated about the area and the inventory well in advance.
2) Finances set the limits. Be sure to focus on the actual monthly costs rather than just on the purchase price, and begin shopping for a loan before writing an offer.
3) Location is (almost) everything. Consider neighborhood noise and traffic issues at different times of the day, the condition and appearances of nearby homes, adequate parking on-site and in the street, driving distances to where you will frequently go, and proximity to schools and shopping areas.
4) Carefully consider the advantages of having an expert buyer’s agent on your side from the early phase of your process and be aware of issues that might be disadvantageous to you. There is value in having a seasoned agent who can help interpret and give perspective to the myriad of details that you will begin accumulating and one who can anticipate various challenges and assist you in working out solutions to problems along the way. Expect and be willing to give loyalty in return.
5) Learn as much as you are able to about the local real estate market. Do not, however, rely on online systems or sites for finding or estimating values, as they are frequently inaccurate by 10-25 percent and inconsistent from each other.
6) Request advance copies of the paperwork which will be used in presenting your offer, and become familiar with the basic terms such as key contingency periods.
7) Discuss various negotiation strategies and approaches with your agent so you are better prepared once you have selected the home you’d like purchase.
8) Inspections must be done in a timely way. Discuss with your agent which ones they generally recommend and consider talking with a variety of inspectors in advance so you know which ones you prefer to use when a contract is signed. Many buyers have saved themselves a lot of money by having specialists check such aspects as sewer lines, chimneys, roofs, environmental issues, and termites.
9) Be watchful for property improvements that might have been done without proper city permits. Safety issues may be involved. Also, if you do later work with permits, the city inspector may require some other things be brought up to current code.
10) Be willing to compromise to some degree. It is rare for a buyer to find 100 percent perfection in the home they decide to buy, and differentiating between your actual “needs” from your “wants” and prioritizing can make an enormous difference in your success.
Michael Edlen has worked with several hundred buyers since 1986 and is available for buyer counseling through firstname.lastname@example.org or 310.230.7373. He also has an effective nationwide referral network that is helpful in identifying ideal agents to work with in buying or selling homes anywhere in the country.