As you begin to ponder the thought of buying real estate a myriad of questions come to mind. Many of these questions are answered by going through a ‘needs analysis’ with your buyer’s agent. A ‘needs analysis’ should include a discussion of the wants and needs of the buyer as well as directed, focused questions from the buyer’s agent to get to a clear picture of what you are looking for and what is realistic in the current market place. That is where your buyers agent and their expertise will prove invaluable, however much of a buyer’s agents job is still to be done. Review the buyers flow chart.
Getting a pre-approval (as opposed to a pre-qualification) is critical to determine the purchasing power of the borrower. Make sure you find a lender that you like and trust early on in the process. If you need a referral for a local lender just ask your Landmark agent.
3. NEIGHBORHOOD INFORMATION
One of the best resources on neighborhoods and community nuances and differences is your buyer’s agent. Talk to your agent about what you are seeking in a home purchase. To start you can review the communities’ page on our website. RESEARCH COMMUNITIES
4. HOME SEARCH
Once you have created a set of parameters that you are looking for, i.e. bedroom number, size, age, neighborhood and price, your buyers’ agent can set up an automatic search and email you live listings from the MLS (multiple listing service). Any agent worth his/her salt will have their listings posted on the MLS. This is where ALL buyers go to see what is being offered in their community. Listing agents trying to get the best price for their client will naturally list their properties there. Don’t listen to any agent who tries to sell you a ‘pocket listing’. (A pocket listing is a home that is not being broadly advertised – usually the result of an agent trying to double his earnings and represent both buyer and seller.) For more on this read the information on single agency and why it is so important to understand. ABOUT SINGLE AGENCY
5. MAKING AN OFFER
Making an offer is often the most exciting, tension filled aspect of buying a property. What price to offer, what conditions to put in the offer, what contingencies to use are all critical components to understanding and being comfortable with entering into this very important legal contract. Using a buyers’ agent will give you the peace of mind of having a ‘fiduciary’ representative. A fiduciary is someone who is contracted to put the buyers’ needs ahead of their own.
You know when negotiating anything there are clearly two sides to that process. The seller would like to get the highest price he/she can for their property and the buyer(s) would like to get the property they want for the lowest price. The ‘VALUE’ of a piece of property is defined as that which a willing buyer and a willing seller can negotiate. Although truthful, that feels a bit nebulous when determining what price to offer. Thus the question of ‘what price should I offer’ can be the most challenging question to answer. Using an agent that guarantees single agency means there will never be a situation where one person is trying to negotiate for both sides. You will have your own expert agent negotiating in your best interest ALL THE TIME. In a typical real estate transaction there can be several sets of negotiations. These negotiating times can be stressful for buyers unfamiliar with the process. Using a buyers’ agent allows you to use an expert negotiator and place some distance between yourself and the negotiations, while still obtaining the best deal possible.
7. COORDINATING YOUR TEAM
While you are in the process of buying real estate you will likely rely on many, many experts to give you advice and counsel. You should seek to pick experts that are not only willing to tell you the absolute truth, but that also have expert level knowledge in their field. These experts will likely include escrow officers, home inspectors, pest inspectors, reputable home warranty companies and insurance agents. It can also include real estate attorneys, septic inspectors, well inspectors, foundation inspectors etc. Your buyers’ agent will have available referrals to local area experts in all these areas. You will have the freedom to select someone you know or rely on one of these referred experts to be on your home buying team. These experts will give you the information you need to determine if this is STILL the property for you.
8. SATISFYING CONTINGENCIES
Once you have made it through the negotiations and are on track to move ahead in your investigation of the property, your agent will begin to collect information to help you make a final determination on the property. You will be reviewing preliminary title reports. UNDERSTANDING PRELIMINARY TITLE REPORTS, UNDERSTANDING TITLE INSURANCE, reviewing pest and home inspections, talking to contractors and tax advisors COMMON METHODS OF HOLDING TITLE , perhaps even re-entering the negotiation phase (see above). If you are buying a condo you will be reviewing some very detailed HOA documents to assure that the Homeowners Association is well funded. You will have the help of your buyers’ agent in reviewing and understanding this information. Your agent will also ensure you are complying with the requirements of the contract and not unknowingly at risk of being in default. You will want to have an agent that does not miss your deadlines for contingency satisfaction and protects your ability to cancel the contract with no fault to you. Using a Landmark Buyers’ agent will give you the expert help you need.
At the time of closing, typically 30 to 45 days after an accepted offer, there will be final arrangements to be made regarding signing of loan documents, bringing ‘good’ funds to escrow, doing a final inspection etc. Your buyers’ agent will be there to handle all these last minute details with you.
10. AFTER CLOSING
Hopefully after the closing things will move smoothly as you prepare to move in or if purchasing an investment property, prepare it for rental. Again you can rely on your Landmark Buyers’ agent to help. We would like to be considered a resource for life. If you have questions about refinancing, property managers, service professionals etc. we hope you will call on us.