Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Help Me Help You--Part Two

Last time, I blogged about what sellers can do to "help me, help you" --and now it is the buyer's turn. I'm going to be doing a lot of work researching properties, putting together tours for us, creating offers, negotiations, scheduling inspections, and more. And, there is a lot that buyers can do to help make the search and the transaction go as smooth and effectively as possible.

Buyers, you can "help me help you" by doing the following:

Know what aspects of a new home are most important to you. Maybe you need at least 2 bathrooms, or would prefer a nice view. Some people want a walking neighborhood close to stores and public transportation. Or--who knows--maybe you want a fire pole to slide down in the morning. Know what is most important to help focus your search.

Know your motivation. Are you moving to be closer to work or family? Or perhaps this is an investment. Knowing your motivations is key to focusing on the right property.

Meet with a mortgage broker as soon as possible. This way you will know how much money you will have to work with, or if you need to spend a few months on credit repair. And, keep in contact with your mortgage broker as the market changes all the time. If you need help choosing a mortgage broker, check out my recent blog entry on the topic.

Dedicate time to looking at properties. If you are very focused on your home search, devoting your Sundays to open houses is a given. But, you might want to get a jump on the market by taking a day off work to hit a broker tour or to plan a tour with your agent.

Be patient and don't get heartbroken. You might put an offer in on a house you love and get blown out of the water by someone with a much bigger offer or by someone who did pre-inspections. This will help you understand what is necessary to get the type of home you want.

Read all of your disclosures thoroughly. I know they are long and boring, but you are signing your name and initials to every page. This is the time for you to review and ask any and every question that enters your mind, no matter how silly or stupid it might seem.

Plan your finances. The main number people plan for is the down payment, and in today's market you need 20-25% to compete for many of the more desirable properties. But, don't forget that you will also need money for closing costs, inspections, and eventually your moving day.

This is just a quick introduction. Of course there are many other things you can do to "help me help you" and if you are in the market to buy a home, please let me know. I'm always happy to help. I can be reached at 510-547-5970 x57 or MSmartt@jps.net.