#1 Buyers: Resolve to get your financial house in order
Planning a home purchase takes time and effort, so you should consider meeting with a mortgage professional early in the year. Know your credit score and understand what your financial situation looks like from a lender‘s perspective. If you have credit issues, identify what they are and the necessary steps to correct them. Sometimes, it can take six months to see your FICO score move up the much-needed 20 points to get you a better mortgage rate. A good real estate agent can recommend an experienced, local mortgage processional. Local is always important, because many real estate deals are made on relationships, and being able to meet face-to-face with your mortgage professional can be a big plus.
#2 Buyers: Resolve to start feeling out the market earlyYou may think you only need to go to open houses once you’re ready to buy. But in reality, a buyer needs a couple of months learning the marketing, understanding home values, the prices per neighborhood and the market in general. Going to open houses in the neighborhoods where you want to buy will allow you to start feeling out the market. It may also be the best way to meet your future real estate agent. Many agent/buyer relationships are forged at open houses.
Once you engage an agent, you may make several offers before you get into your dream home. Having your agent along for the ride will allow you to compare and contrast homes you’ve visited to the home you eventually buy. The homes you see and your experience feeling out the market will serve as the building blocks toward becoming an informed buyer and making your best offer.
#3 Buyers : Resolve to engage a real estate agent nowPlanning a home purchase or sale takes time. Engaging a real estate agent early in the process will allow you to have an expert on hand as you start to put the pieces together. A good real estate agent doesn’t just show and sell homes: They can be your strategic adviser, even well in advance of any actual transaction.
On the seller side, if you pulled a permit to install some new windows or replace some dry rot in 2005, likely the contractor issued a permit. But did he close it out? A good agent will figure that out and clean it up before it becomes a transaction issue. You should use your agent to literally get your house and listing in order.
For buyers, having an agent with you from the start is like having an experienced, second set of eyes and ears. Having so many transactions under the belt and years of market knowledge in their head, a real estate agent’s opinions, thoughts and ideas can save you a lot of time and money. What’s more, they can keep you on the right path toward identifying the best home, and they’ll see you through the process all the way to the closing.
Source: Zillow Blog
Mary Beth Nunez, REALTOR®