Below is a basic, strategic plan for preparing and being ready to purchase a home in the exciting, fast-paced selling environment of 2021. The following does not necessarily reflect the views of Flat Rock Realty, and the information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.
1. Get Pre-Approved for Financing
Homes are moving so fast in the market that often times a seller will not consider an offer that is made without a pre-approval or pre-qualification letter from a lender. If you are not pre-approved, this is the first step towards getting a new home. Please ask your real estate agent for help if you need information on getting pre-approved. If you are a cash buyer, you will need to be able to show proof that you have the funds currently in your account, ready to use when needed. A seller likely will not accept an offer with an explanation that your funding will be “coming soon” or “has not arrived yet.”
2. Get Your Own Agent, Specifically a REALTOR
One big myth is that it cost money for you to have your own agent. This is not true. Sellers are the ones paying real estate commissions, so there is not much reason to not have your own agent looking out for you. Until around the 1990s, buyers did not have their own agents or representation. Once “Buyer Brokerages” were created, buyers began to have their own real estate agents in their corner fighting for them, looking out for their protection, and helping them to navigate the buying process to get the best deal possible. Unless you are a former real estate license holder, it’s a high chance you will be presented with many legal contracts to sign once you move towards purchasing a home, and you need to understand what you’re signing. Having your own agent that works with those contracts on a daily basis will help to make sure those contracts are drawn up in a way that is most beneficial and accurate for you, the buyer. Taking all of this one step further, make sure to get an agent that is a REALTOR, which means they are a member of the National Association of REALTORS and they uphold the Code of Ethics as well as perform ongoing continuing education to make them the sharpest agents in your area.
3. Avoid “Too Many Cooks In the Kitchen”
Many times, buyers will log onto the consumer real estate websites (Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com etc) and click away on listing after listing saying they would like more information. This will result in numerous different agents calling you, which will make it difficult to build a relationship that can really provide you the service you deserve. Going to see 5 different houses with 5 different agents, leaves a buyer with no agent that has a history of which homes you’ve seen. They won’t know what you’ve liked or disliked, nor will they have a knowledge of what your needs and wants are for a home. Once you find an agent that you trust and feel comfortable with, save their contact information and directly send them addresses you are interested in so you can use the professional relationship to your advantage.
4. Be Aware of How Fast the Market Is
Many times, buyers will want to look at homes with the intention of buying in the not-so-near future. There is a high chance that homes which are fairly priced will not stay on the market for very long, so finding your dream home with plans to buy it a couple months down the road could easily end up in disappointment as it gets sold out from under you. Work to get your financing options nailed down with a pre-approval before scheduling to see too many houses in person.
5. Be Ready to Make a Move
Searching for a new home is an exciting time in your life! Part of starting to look at homes requires a mental state that you are ready to make an offer if you were to find a home you really like. It happens weekly where buyers are still thinking about a home only to be disappointed when they see it updated as “pending” or “under contract.” Once you do get a home under contract, your agent will be able to guide you all the way to the closing table!