First Time Home Buyers

Why Should I Buy, Instead of Rent?

A home is an investment and an apartment is not. Paying that rent check every month as you may know is horrible because you’re never going to see that money again. There are several monetary advantages to owning a home.

  1. You can deduct the interest you pay on your home loan from your yearly taxes. See the after tax benefits of buying vs. renting.
  2. Buying a home increases your equity (ownership interest) in an investment, which for the most part appreciates in value over time. You should talk with a tax professional to better understand how owning a home benefits you personally.

Source: California Association of Realtors®

Despite these monetary benefits of owning a home one of the biggest reason to own is the simple fact that you get to call a small portion of this great state your own. That is something that no one can take away from you.

Ok, I Want to Buy! Now What?

From what I’ve experienced the 3 most important things that serious buyers need to do before purchasing is:

  1. Find a buyers agent
  2. Get pre-approved
  3. Decide what your home needs

Why Do I Need a Buyer’s Agent?

Think about it, when you need professional help in an area you don’t know much about you seek out an expert in that field. That’s what a buyers agent is for the real estate industry. In your case a buyers agent is there to help:

  1. Provide expert advice about your specific market.
  2. Assist you in your home search.
  3. Provide you objective information.
  4. Assist you in the actual purchase of your home.
  5. Provide you peace of mind that your actually being treated fairly.

You want someone to look out for your interests in the home buying process and that’s exactly what a buyer’s agent can provide.

How Do I Find a Buyer’s Agent?

Probably the best source to find a buyers agent is your friends and family. Who better to get a referral from than the ones who are close to you and you trust. If you can’t find any that way you have a number of options:

  1. I would be remised if I didn’t tell you that I am a Realtor® and specialize in first time buyers. Let me know how I can help you purchase a home by contacting me today. Shameless plug I know.
  2. Notice any real estate signs in around your neighborhood?
  3. Visit a local realty office.

Do I Have to Pay For a Buyer’s Agent?

A common misconception that I hear from buyers is that they think they have to pay to use my services as a buyer’s agent. This is generally not true. It’s traditionally the seller who pays for the buyer’s agent. It’s not often you get expert advise in any field without having to spend a thing on that advice.

Just because the seller pays for the buyer’s agent does not mean that I represent them. Their listing agent is the one who owes a duty to them not the buyer’s agent. All my duties and obligations would belong to you and you alone.

What is Pre-Approval?

This is in my opinion the most important step in searching and buying a home. Talk with your agent and find a lender that your comfortable with and have them pre-approve you. The two biggest benefits of a pre-approval are:

  1. It allows you to know what you can afford.
  2. If you know what you can afford then you won’t waste your time looking at houses that you can’t afford.

Everyone’s time is valuable you don’t want to waste it on falling in love with a house you later find out that you can’t afford. That’s no good for anyone involved. The pre-approval is no cost to you and you are under no obligation to stay with that lender if they do pre-approve you.  This is a win-win situation for you and your buyer’s agent.

I Have a Buyer’s Agent and Am Pre-Approved, What Kind of Home Do I Want?

Now you’re up-to-bat. You must decide the type of house your looking for. I am sure you’ve thought about this long before you even decided to buy.  Something that I always tell my new clients is to come up with a list of 10 attributes of their dream home and then to pick the top 4 or 5.  A great way to narrow it down your search is to complete our Buyer_Questionnaire.

I’m Pre-Approved and Know What I’m Looking For, Now What?

This is where your agent comes in handy. If I was your buyer’s agent I would use the information you’ve given me from your buyer questionnaire and pre-approval and we would search for your perfect home together. At our meeting we would look at what’s in the market and make informed adjustments if need be.

With me as your agent you have access to the same multiple listing service (MLS) that agents use from your own home. You can even save your searches if you want to come back to it later.

I also have access and relationships with a great team of professionals not only in my office but also throughout the area. Sometimes we may be able to bring properties to your attention that are coming soon to market. In this buyers market speed is a great companion.

I’ve Found the Home I Want, What Next?

Now comes the offer phase of the home buying process. Remember that buyer’s agent you signed the representation agreement with, well they are  looking out for your interests. They will help you determining what the best offer for you is. As your agent I would:

  1. Give you a list of comps or comparable homes within the area. I would show you what’s currently for sale and what has recently sold in the area that is similar to the home you want to make an offer on. This goes a long way to make an informed offer.
  2. Find out as much information as possible about the property in question. There is only so much the MLS can show you and one thing is the seller’s intentions.

The offer process is often very emotional one for buyers. I am here to help guide you to make the best objective business decision you can make. Your interest protection is my top priority while making sure that the offer process doesn’t worry you negatively.

What if My Offer is Accepted?

Congrats on jumping over a big hurdle. The next step after the offer is accepted is go into escrow. This is usually unfamiliar and convoluted for most. (It should be, your buying a house). However, your buyer’s agent should be there to guide you through this process and answer any questions you have.

The biggest hurdle to jump in escrow is removal of all contingencies on the property. This is when you conduct your inspections, remove any encumbrances, resolve issues and most importantly obtain your financing. As your buyer’s agen I would help you every step of the way, from putting you in touch with inspection companies to working with your lender to make sure everything is in order.

Once all the contingencies have been removed then the escrow goes into pending. Usually the only thing in the way of you and your new home at this point is have your financing actually funded and all the closing documents signed. This is where the actual move planning takes place for you. I would give you information, contacts, phone numbers, etc. of moving services in the area.

What If My Offer is Rejected?

It’s not uncommon for offers to be rejected or counter offers to come in from the sellers. Sometimes, there are multiple offers to contend with and someone else may make a better offer. Just because your offer is rejected doesn’t mean that you’re out. We can sometimes negotiate with the seller to see where the impasse came from and try to resolve it. There are times in a multiple offer situation where the seller would place your offer as a back up. This is just how it sounds. If the offer they accepted falls through then yours would be next in line.

Sometimes, no matter what you do your offer may not be accepted. Do not let this get you down. We are in a buyer’s market now so there is always something around the next corner that may suite your fancy. My job is to keep you updated and positive through the whole process.

My Boxes Are Packed, When Can I Move In?

The simple answer is, when all your paperwork is signed and the costs are funded. This is the closing process of the escrow. It’s the house’s formal changing of hands from the seller to you, the buyer. You’re loan will be funded, dispersed and closing costs will be paid.

Once all the paperwork and money is in order you will receive the keys to your new home. Congratulations and here’s to many, many years of home ownership