Want to Buy a House in 2017? Here Are 7 Pro Tips From Pierce County Real Estate Agents
January 4, 2017
Getting ready to buy a home can be a daunting process—where do you even start? Do you begin by searching for homes? Do you begin by meeting with a lender? It’s true—a lot needs to happen, but our REALTORS® at Windermere Professional Partners have a great deal of experience in helping buyers start from the very beginning!
We asked our REALTORS® what their pro tips are for anyone who wants to buy a house in 2017… and here are their 7 best tips!
1. Get your finances in order.
“Meet with a lender and get your financial situation in order,” recommends Piper Troxler. “Make sure you have everything you need to get your pre-approval.”
Krista Osborne elaborates: “Meet with a lender (or three!), [and] identify the one that you feel meets your sense of urgency, expectations of regular communication, and education on the process. Get them your information and required documents now so that you can know what price point you will qualify for, what your debt to income ratio is, and what NOT to buy that may impact your credit score and debt to income ratios.”
2. Choose a REALTOR® to work with.
Brandy Brazeau advises that you “Choose to work with a REALTOR® you genuinely like and trust. Use their expertise for a lender referral; there is nothing better than a cohesive team to keep the transaction moving along smoothly. Although it's a big purchase and the process can seem daunting at times, it should be an exciting, fun time as well. Yay to owning a new home!”
Ryan Knicely completely agrees: “My Lender friend Cameron Smith and I spoke about this in video we recently posted. Assembling a GREAT real estate team is the most fundamental thing someone can do. Choose your real estate agent and lender WISELY!”
So how exactly do you choose who to work with? Krista Osborne has some excellent advice on specifically what to look for and what types of questions to ask:
“Identify/interview several real estate brokers with the same approach; do they suit your personality, expectations, drive, [and] timelines for a house hunt? Ask them the hard questions about their business tactics, strategies for engaging with other brokers, and flexibility when it comes to your time constraints in visiting houses. How familiar are they with the geographic areas that you are targeting in your home search? What do their customer reviews and feedback look like?”
3. Take the time to narrow in on exactly what type of home you’re looking for.
When many people start searching for a home to buy, they typically have some general things they know they’re looking for. Maybe they know what neighborhood they want to live in, maybe they know how many bedrooms they need, or maybe they have a very specific idea of what type of yard they want. The problem is, sometimes that home doesn’t exist!
Krista Osborne has some useful tips for narrowing in on what type of home you really want. Having this information will also help your REALTOR® serve you more effectively!
“Sit down, and by yourself (if you are a party of one) or separately (if you’re a party of 2 or more) and literally write down what your non-negotiables are:
In column 1: write down the features that the house has to have
In column 2: write down what your REALLY want in specific portions of the house
In column 3: write down what would be nice to have but not necessarily a deal breaker
“Then, if you are finding a home with someone else, compare those with each other and share with your broker so that they may have their eyes and ears peeled as they go through homes. [This way they can be] paying attention to criteria that's not searchable in the NWMLS.”
4. Stay organized and keep a notebook to help you remember key details about different homes.
If you’re looking at more than just a couple of homes in your home search, you’ll need a way to remember key details about each home. Krista Osborne recommends you keep a “home search” notebook that you can keep on hand and reference as you move through your home search (and as the homes start to blend together!):
“Start to note facets of houses that maybe you had not thought of before that you now think may be on your non-negotiable or REALLY want list,” Krista shares. “if you visit multiple houses in one day and like several of them, be sure that as you go through each one, you note unique features. At the end of a 6-8 house review all in one swoop, they blend together—your notes will keep it clear.”
5. When you find a home you love… trust your gut.
Sometimes when you find your perfect home, you just know that it’s meant to be. Sometimes you might have a pretty good feeling, but might want to keep looking just to make sure. The problem with that is all too often, people keep looking, and then the home they really want is gone before they get a chance to act on it!
Krista Osborne advises to trust your gut, and the lists you created in #3 will help with this. “Be patient; don't be afraid to write an offer if your gut is saying this is the one… the tendency is to think that there is always something bigger, better and brighter out there, [and] that may be the case, but by the time you circle back around on the one your gut was saying 'perfect' to, it may be gone.”
6. Always do a home inspection.
Krista Osborne is serious about this one: “ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS do a home inspection. That investment and having a baseline is priceless—same with a sewer scope.”
7. Buying a home is a serious financial investment, so it’s important to learn as much as you can about the process of buying a home and home ownership.
“Remind yourself this is one of the most significant financial investments in your portfolio in establishing wealth and prosperity for yourself and/or your family,” Krista Osborne shares.
“Treat the search and the process as a very formal business decision, and at the same time, take the time to learn about homes, home ownership, and structural and mechanical portions of a home. Before you know it, you will be responsible for taking care of and tending to [a new home!]”
While there’s a great deal to consider as you set out on the journey of buying a home, Krista has one last piece of advice:
“Have fun while you are at it! How cool is it to get to go inside houses you never thought you would be able to stroll through at your leisure?!”