Home inspections are important but how important are they when buying a condo? The siding, roof and general frame of the property is all covered by the Home Owners Association, right? They can take care of that…. However, would you buy a lemon car that had mounds of problems even if the dealership promised to repair them? Probably not. This is why having an inspection of the condo AND the association is so vital to your purchase. [Read more…]
We always want the best deal; and even better when we can find a great deal on a great house that we really love. If you’re ready to get into the real estate search game, know all you can about the business, the market and prepare yourself for getting a great deal. Here are 5 ways to get the very best real estate deal.
#1. Know the market.
The knowledge really is power and if you’re planning on getting the best deal, this is not something that you decide on a Tuesday afternoon and then put in an offer Wednesday morning. You need to do the research in order to get the best deal. Take some time; maybe even a month or two to really find out where you want to live, get a good list of communities, subdivisions or neighborhoods that you’d like to choose and then the research over the last six months for that area.
How is the market doing? Are homes increasing in value rapidly or gradually? Are homes dropping in value? What about the crime rate for a particular area? Are there good schools in the area, something to consider for resell value? Home selling quickly? If homes in a particular area are selling fast you may need to come up with an escalation clause or deal with multiple bids for the same property.
If there are 300 homes in a subdivision yet only two or three are listed at a particular time, chances are that’s a very popular neighborhood and you might end up paying more than the asking price in order to get the home. If there are dozens of homes in a smaller neighborhood, people may be moving for a particular reason. Is there new construction going to be happening in the area? Talk to the neighbors about why they’re moving. And of course, talk to your buyers agent about a particular neighborhood, why you want to live there and if they have any concerns or advice they can share about the subdivision, community or area in general.
#2. Set yourself up as an attractive buyer.
After you’ve done the research on a particular neighborhood and you have a good idea of the area you want to live in and the price range, set yourself up for homebuying success. This means doing the financial homework necessary in order to purchase a home. If your financing the property, talk to a lender about the type of loan that works best for your situation. Get a preapproval letter and set aside some funds either for a down payment and/or earnest money deposit. The larger the earnest money deposit the more serious sellers take you. They may be more inclined to accept your offer then another similar offer that has a lower earnest money deposit.
Another way you can be an attractive buyer is to minimize your contingencies. If you need to sell a particular property, have tough financing contingencies or too many conditions that need to be completed before you finalize the purchase, sellers just see you as a hassle and may decline your offer altogether. Of course we always recommend a home inspection but in a slower market you might consider a home inspection prior to making an offer. This could waive the inspection after the offer is accepted, speeding up the process and making you more attractive to the seller.
#3. Consider a foreclosure or short sale.
Foreclosures and short sales are still out there and they can be great deals. There are keys to look for though in a foreclosure or short sale property:
- Find the least attractive property in the best neighborhood. By doing so you can instantly gain equity once the home is fixed up, because it matches the rest of the homes in the area.
- Keep your eye out for mispriced listings. Overpriced properties will generally get very little interest and attention and could sit on the market for a long time. These are great properties to go for because they might be more inclined to accept a lower offer.
- Buy a foreclosure at the year or quarter end. This works especially well with cash buyers. If you make an offer at the end of a month, quarter or year, many banks will accept that offer in order to get the deal closed and off the books.
- Look for the diamond in the rough. Many real estate agents make it too many homes from banks and not have enough time to really research the property and showcase the best features. Check out these properties a little bit closer and if they meet your criteria for size and the neighborhood, check out in person and you might find great features that the real estate agent failed to mention.
#4. Negotiate with everyone involved.
You can negotiate pricing from just about every party involved in the real estate transaction. This could include your real estate agent, appraiser, lender, inspector, escrow and title company. You might be surprised at how much you can save simply by negotiating everybody’s fees in an amicable and reasonable way.
#5. Know When to Pull the Trigger.
Knowing when to pull the trigger is something that you and your buyers agent should discuss. Once you’ve done everything prior to this point, knowing when NOT to wait is crucial. By determining all the factors above, understanding the area and the market, you should be able to pull the trigger on an offer at the right time.
ALSO – know when to walk away. This is just as important as knowing when to go for it. Your agent will be able to talk you through the plan and when not to get your emotions too involved. Sometimes, buyers can get so wrapped up in the process, they overpay when it’s all said and done. Don’t let the idea of “winning” become the focus over getting the right house at the right time.
Ready to get started? Ready for step one? Let’s talk!
More Tips for Home Buyers:
A lot of my clientele are over 50 years old and many of them are moving to the Bay area to retire, enjoy the waterfront and a more laid-back, peaceful way of life. However, some homebuyers are still reluctant about purchasing a home later in life. Is it scary? Are there negative connotations? How easy is it to buy a home after 50? [Read more…]
When it comes time to shopping for a mortgage, I would strongly encourage you to start with a local and trusted lender. – Jonathan Fox – Washington Post
You can’t get any clearer than that. Big business, large corporations, and big banks have been selling and buying mortgages for decades but when it comes to the individual homebuyer, going local, and going personal is always best.
It’s surprising how little value many homeowners, especially first-time homeowners, put into shopping around for the best home loan. They should be just as careful about this process as they are the home itself. However, many people simply go with whomever the real estate agent suggested or the local bank. While this might work out just fine, you can really benefit from shopping around for the best loan, the best rate, and the best terms. These really do change and you want to make sure that the lender knows you are shopping around. People get competitive when they know that they have others to compete against.
Terms, interest rates, and details of a mortgage loan are not always set in stone. You would be surprised at what you can actually negotiate with. Everything is important when it comes to dealing with contracts including inspections, timelines, and of course, who you are dealing with.
Mortgages in today’s society are getting easier but we still need to be cautious about applying for the right home loan and only applying for a mortgage we can actually afford. In order to avoid a housing bubble burst, living within our means is really the key to maintaining our home and living comfortably with the mortgage we have.
Large banks, credit unions, and even hometown banks can be a great partner in managing basic financial details such as your checking and savings accounts or even credit cards. But when it comes to borrowing money for a large purchase such as a house, finding a mortgage officer the deal specifically with this type of loan is essential to getting the best rate.
Competitiveness also plays a big factor in getting the right loan for your needs. Shop around to a couple of different loan officers or mortgage brokers as well as your own bank or credit union. Find out what terms you can expect and different programs that different mortgage brokers can provide. Housing markets are competitive so lender should be as well.
Terms and prices are not the only factors when it comes to choosing the right lender. Large banks that have multiple mortgage officers can tend to bog down the system, extending out timelines and deadlines that could cost you your home. Individual and private mortgage lenders and personal loan officers have more invested in the game, so they are more likely to pay attention to timelines and get things done in a timely fashion.
It’s Okay to shop around. Don’t worry about your credit getting hit. Having the loan officer run the numbers for you and then offer you the best plan and wait for your needs is essential to getting the right loan and saving you as much money as possible.
Feel free to give me a call as I have a lot of mortgage lenders in the Bay area and the Tri-Valley area that might work for you. Remember, shop around to get the best loan and the best deal for your needs.
We see them all the time these days; Fix It Or Flip It, Love It Or List It, Fixer Upper etc. This new trend of buying homes and flipping them is certainly not a new idea but broadcasting it on reality TV has only hit the airwaves in the last few years. More and more sellers and investors are watching the shows thinking they can definitely do it but when it comes to buyers, are buyers apprehensive about purchasing a flipped property? [Read more…]
For sale by owner or FSBO, as they are often referred to, is when a homeowner decides to list and market their own home for sale instead of going through a real estate broker or agent. Most homes are listed by real estate agents under a brokerage of some type but occasionally buyers come across the for sale by owner home. This may be someone you know or just a random listing in the newspaper or drive by a sign in the front yard. You might think this is an easy way to get a home without involving real estate agents but actually, it’s the opposite of simplifying the process. Conducting a real estate transaction with people that may not know the process or the legalities, can turn into a nightmare and make you and the seller liable for certain issues.
Here are five things to know before jumping into a for sale by owner real estate transaction. [Read more…]
In these odd times, having someone on your side during a transaction is crucial and essential. A buyer’s agent is that unknown entity that most first time buyers don’t even know about. Most people head out into the real estate world, scared and uninformed. A buyer’s agent is exactly that; an agent for the buyer.
When a homeowner lists their home they call on the knowledge of a listing agent. This agent draws up a contract to sell the property. The listing agent markets the property and can even bring the buyer. BUT a buyer’s agent is only for the buyer and represents the buyer’s side throughout the process, not the seller. What a Buyer’s Agent Actually Does for You [Read more…]
When purchasing a home or condominium throughout California’s Tri-Valley area, many buyers wonder who actually pays for the home appraisal. There are a lot of closing costs and different fees built-in for buyers and sellers in a purchase and sale agreement. Sellers pay for excise tax when selling the property and several courier fees all culminating into their own closing costs. Buyers also have several closing costs and one of those includes the appraisal. [Read more…]
What If I Hate Every Home We Look At? There are some homebuyers the know exactly what they want and when they see it they’ll know. Other buyers may have no idea what to look for and even though they are open-minded, nothing seems to stand out as a home they’d really want to buy. [Read more…]
Before finalizing on a home purchase it is imperative to get an inspection. This home inspection is to be conducted right after mutual acceptance of the purchase and sale agreement or the offer. Once mutual acceptance has happened the earnest money can be deposited or held with the escrow or title company and the transaction moves on to “subject to inspection”. It is at this point that the buyer needs to schedule a home inspection from a professional inspector. This can be scheduled through the buyer’s agent, a local company or the buyer themselves but there are five important things you should know about the home inspection. [Read more…]