Be Prepared to Buy a Home
Right now, homes are flying off the shelves in San Antonio. When you’re ready to buy a home in a seller’s market like the one we’re currently experiencing, it pays to be prepared and know what you want and the steps to getting it. Going into the process blind will only lead to frustration and the possibility of not getting the home you want. We thought we’d put together a few tips for those of you that want to buy a home right now and help you get the best results in this hot market.
Work with a Realtor Obviously, we’re biased towards this step, since we are Realtors, but the fact is, real estate agents in San Antonio are here for a reason. We assist you not only in finding the property, but negotiating and walking you through the closing process. We do this every day, so we know the pitfalls to avoid, the current trends in pricing, how to avoid a bad appraisal…the list goes on and on. And when a deal is looking shaky before closing, we will fight to keep the transaction alive, so that you can close on time and move into your new home. We even have some suggestions on how to choose a Realtor that’s right for you.
Get preapproved by a reputable lender. Getting a loan preapproval is something we preach all the time – getting this step taken care of before looking at homes is not only smart, but these days crucial. Knowing what you can afford is the first step to knowing what kind of home we should be looking for. But not any preapproval will do – you should always seek a reputable lender – someone locally preferably. A local lender can make a huge difference – being able to actually walk into an office and talk to someone when there’s an issue can make all the difference. There are places online where you can get quick preapprovals, but time and time again, we see the frustrations caused by these companies. Your best bet to keep things running smooth is to talk to a few local lenders, ask your agent for recommendations, and then sit down with a few and see if they’re a good fit.
Know what you want, but be prepared to be flexible. We hear it all the time, “if only we could take the gameroom from this house and add it to this house and then pick up the whole thing and put it on this other lot over here…” Unless you’re building a new home from the ground up, it’s pretty hard to find every piece of your dream home in one place. Write a list of absolute must-haves, then write a list of would-really-like-to-haves. Sometimes you’ll find an almost perfect home, but it’s missing a few things – consider if you can add those things yourself at a later date. It can be hard to see past some of the things that are missing from a home, but often that’s what you need to do to see the benefits of the home in front of you.
Communicate changes to your real estate agent. Often during the search process, you’ll find that your wish list items change. Be sure to communicate these changes to your agent. It’s very common for buyers to start with one thing in mind and wind up buying something very different in the end. Letting your agent know as these factors change will help them keep the search focused.
Be prepared to take action. When you find the house, don’t delay. A few hours or a day or two can quickly mean you’ll lose the house to another buyer. Now is not the time for mulling things over – while we want you to make the right purchase, we also hate seeing you lose your dream home because you wanted to take a few days to think about it.
Multiple offers are more common at the moment. Be prepared to make a strong offer on the home. Very few lowball offers are making it very far these days. Everyone wants to buy a home for the best price possible, but sellers want to sell for the most they can possibly get for their home. With inventory low and sellers controlling the market, they will win every time.
When the home is under contract and the underwriter asks for documentation – do not delay. The underwriters work for the lender and work to ensure that they should lend you the money to buy the house. It’s all about analyzing risk for them. If they ask for documentation (and they will – probably a lot), don’t delay. Get it to them immediately, even if this is the third time they’ve asked for it. Slowing down the underwriter can be costly and delay closing. A seller does not have a contractual obligation to extend you more time to close on the house…they often will because they’d rather sell the house than start all over again, but they do not have to. Give the lender everything quickly and the process will go much more smoothly.
Don’t let obstacles impede your progress. Sometimes the process of buying a home can be frustrating. Try and remain calm and remember the end goal – you in your new home. It’s easy to lose sight of that at times, so just keep pushing toward that goal and you can get there!
image courtesy of Giulia van Pelt