Getting pre-qualified with a lender of your choice is the best way to focus on what you can afford and not over extend yourself. Without this process completed BEFORE, heading out with a real estate agent is like the blind leading the blind. A well-qualified agent should know which type of property fits your loan type, as well as know the basics of each program in order to help you as the consumer understand the process best. This will also help to negotiate a contract on your behalf when sellers know that you are financially sound to make a purchase.
Ask around. Generally, a referral from a TRUSTED friend, family member or a well networked community member is an excellent way to find an agent. Not all agents are there same. Just think of the thousands of vehicle types. They might all drive, but they all drive differently with different features. The same goes for agents. Interview them and make sure whomever you pick is the right fit for you and for what you are trying to accomplish with your real estate goals.
The reality is that, very rarely will you find the “perfect” home. But if you prioritize what is most important you may find that you can work some of the not-so-perfect features out and life will be just fine!
What you want and what you need, are two distinctly different words, and knowing the difference is very important when buying a property. Sometimes the “wants” override the actual “needs” and vice versa. If you have other people besides yourself involved in this decision process, than this process can be quite arduous to find a happy medium.
Knowing this will really help to narrow down the properties you view. Short terms investors have a different thought process than a long term investor. Short term investors are often looking for the quickest opportunity to sell with a high rate of return. Long term investors are generally on the lay-out of a home or other features and focuses on the long term equity building opportunity and generally, intend to either live at the property OR just want the property for passive income (a rental).
Location is key when investing in real estate. An awesome home in a not so awesome neighborhood can really affect the value of your amazing home. Every location is NOT the same and will not have the same value if desirability.
You need to be ready to make an offer if it’s a hot property and sometimes that may require paying over list price in order to seal the deal.
Your agent should be ready and willing to negotiate all terms of the contract. The price is not the only item to negotiate. Determine what you want and need to accomplish when structuring your offer to ensure that you are set up for negotiation that benefits you. Successful negotiation also takes into account the wants and needs of a seller, so consider motivations of a seller if possible and then structure the offer accordingly. Your agent should be able to offer you advice.
Not all inspectors are equal. It is not a state requirement of the state that home inspections be licensed and insured. Make sure to ask for a referral if possible or do some research in advance, so when you do get a home under contract you know who to call and the costs associated.
The buy-sell agreement is designed to get people to perform and with deadlines for each item to be completed. The deadlines generally end at 5:00 PM on any given day so make sure you stick to the terms of the contract or your earnest money could be in jeopardy. Ask for extensions in writing if needed. If it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist!