The real estate market can seem intimidating to a lot of people. In an effort to bridge the gap between Realtors and our clients, we want you to know what we know. Sharing our experiences and our education is an easy and effective way to make real estate more approachable.
Get A Pre-Approval ASAP
There is nothing more disheartening than falling in love with a handful of homes only to find you’ve been looking outside of your price range. You can do the math online and find out how much house you can afford, but without tallying your debt, assets, income, and credit, you don’t know for sure what your lender will approve you for. It is better to know before you go. Also, you will need a pre-approval before submitting an offer on a home. If you see one you love, you want to be able to act fast and your agent will need a pre-approval letter to send with your offer.
Your Realtor is Your Representative
There should be little to no direct communication between buyer and seller without their Realtors present.In a real estate transaction, any change to the purchase agreement must be noted and signed by both parties. If a seller promises to you verbally that they will leave the appliances behind, but it doesn’t get put into the purchase agreement, they can legally take the appliances with them when they leave. Your Realtor is your representative and works in your best interest to advocate for you and stay in control of the transaction. Any undocumented conversations cannot be enforced.
Down Payments Are Not 20%
Almost everyone entering the real estate market believes they need a 20% down payment in order to buy a home. While a higher down payment will decrease your monthly payment, you do not need that cash on hand to finalize a purchase, nor does paying a smaller down payment make you financially irresponsible. It all depends on what you are comfortable with. Believe it or not, the average down payment is closer to 6% or less. If you need assistance choosing a mortgage loan, talk with an expert.
Turn-Key Homes: Are you sure?
We get it. Buying a home and knowing you will need to put work into it isn’t what everyone wants. However, turn-key homes that are ready and up to your standards on move-in day, come with a bigger price tag. If you feel that you can’t afford a home because homes with your chosen finishes, flooring, cabinets, appliances are out of your budget, consider doing renovations and upgrades on your own. It’s more likely that the cumulative cost of upgrades/renovations on a non-turn-key home will still come out to less than your ideal move-in-ready home costs.
Renovating and upgrading a less expensive home is a great option for individuals who have been priced out of their dream homes.
Recognize Real Estate Predators
It happens far too often that an individual gets taken advantage of by real estate predators. A common one is low-ballers offering all-cash to distressed homeowners or owners that are ignorant to their home’s value. If you are struggling to make your mortgage payments, do not accept relief from a third party. Work with your lender directly to weigh your options, they will work with you. Government education and resources are available to you and they are free. If you are presented with an appealing offer, make sure you read the fine print, recognize red flags like “easy outs” in the contract that let the buyer cancel the deal up to closing day. Buyers should be committed to buy after their offer is accepted. Common contingencies are based on the buyer obtaining financing and the results of inspections.
Know Your Local Market
You may read about the real estate market once every few months, but nobody knows your area like your Realtor. Each area is unique and while national or metro-area-specific trends may get all the attention, your local market may not be performing in the same manner. The time properties spend on the market, the average sale price, buyer activity, and inventory are all unique to your area. If you are interested in buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional that knows your market and can show you data that represents your specific area of interest. This will ultimately be the best guide to follow when making your decision.