I get calls all the time from buyers who want to buy a house. We start with the basic information – they tell me what the want, where they want the property to be, what their home has to have, and then we get to the question that, surprisingly, many people do not know the answer to – What is your price range?
This question seems to be a sensitive talking point for some, while others are ready to tell me exactly what they can afford and what they want to afford. Let’s face it, I wouldn’t be doing my ethical duties to buyers that I work with if I only showed you property at the high end of your price range. It is important for us real estate agents to be sensitive to our buyers wants, needs, and financial situations. And this is why it is so important for prospective home buyers to do their due diligence before selecting a REALTOR to work with them on their purchase.
When I have the privilege or even the smallest opportunity to earn the business from a client, I want and need that client to feel as comfortable with me as possible. Asking you for your price range is not my sneaky way of trying to show you expensive property, but rather a way for me to understand whether those needs, wants, and desires you just told me about are going to be possible. I want to make sure my clients have an enjoyable home buying experience, while also making sure we keep reality in check. That’s not meant as “tough love” to my clients, but rather a means to avoid setting unrealistic expectations and to shoot you straight when I say that the 3 bed, 2 bath, pool home, on Siesta Key for under $200,000 does not exist.
But buying a home goes beyond a few basic questions and that is what this article is meant to discuss. Countless times, people come to Suncoasteam and say they want to buy a home, but don’t know where to begin. Luckily, we have simplified the buying process so that you have a clear understanding as to what you can expect.
The Buying Process
- Shop for a mortgage – For those of us who are not fortunate enough to pay cash, a mortgage is a great way to achieve home ownership. Shopping from various banks and lenders will allow you to see what options are out there and who can give you the best interest rate, terms, and save you the most money. However, it is important to remember that just because you are qualified to borrow up to $500,000 doesn’t mean that you can afford a mortgage of $500,000.
- Determine what your downpayment will be – Believe it or not, this can make a difference in purchasing a home. Plus, it is a great way to figure out how much you really need to borrow
- Decipher your needs from your wants – This is fairly straightforward. At this point, you know how much you can afford, but now it is time to determine what you need in a home and what you want in a home. I tell my buyers that we should focus on needs first, because we can always get the wants later (most of the time).
- Find a reliable real estate agent – Do your homework. Is the guy whose face is on every bus stop in town the best agent for you? Maybe. Maybe not. Find an agent who understands your needs, who you can trust, who knows the area where you want to live, and who you feel comfortable working with. Many home buyers try to go through the purchasing process alone, but hiring an agent is the best way to go. You get fair representation,your agent has access to properties on the MLS, knowledge in the purchasing process, and is an expert who knows how to protect your interests.
- Search for a house that meets your needs and that you can afford – Too often do I get buyers who are pre-approved for up to a certain amount and they think that they can look at houses that cost as much as the bank will lend them. However, what many prospective home buyers forget is that on top of your monthly mortgage payment, you will also pay taxes, insurance, and, depending on the community and style of property, HOA and maintenance fees. It is important to be happy with the house that you buy, but it is also important that you be able to afford the home as well.
- Make an offer – You’ve found the house that meets your needs, now it is time to make an offer. This is where your real estate agent becomes critical; they will do research to determine what recent, similar homes have sold for in the area and guide you to making a competitive offer.
- Negotiate – Your Suncoasteam EXCELS in this area. We represent our buyers to get them the best possible deal at the best possible price with the best possible terms. We know that many sellers list property well above market value, just to see if they can find someone to buy it. It is our duty and obligation to get you, the buyer, the best possible terms on a contract. Whether it is negotiating the closing costs, battling the banks for a foreclosure, or having the patience to ride out a short sale, your Suncoasteam will guide you every step of the way.
- Submit your mortgage application – You have been pre-approved, now go ahead and get that mortgage. Your lender is required to give you an estimate of what they charge for closing costs on the mortgage. This step is vital to your success in the purchasing process, as it is up to you, the borrower, to stay on top of the mortgage company so that they do not delay the closing of your purchase.
- You’ve got a deal, now get an inspection – Once an agreed upon deal has been reached and you’ve wired your deposit to the title company, it is time to get an inspection. You have a right to inspect and once you have the results of the inspection, your Suncoasteam will help prepare a plan for how to get any repairs made by the seller. Once the repairs have been made, the seller is obligated to provide proof that the work has been completed.
- Insurance, utilities, and HOAs – After the seller has agreed to make the repairs from the inspection report, it is time to seek out a home insurance provider, set-up utilities in your name, and apply to the home owners association (if required).
- Proceed to closing – As you get closer to your closing date, you and your Suncoasteam agent will be in touch with the title company to make sure that they have received all the documents that they need to close the deal. Once all documents are in order and the closing date has arrived, you will sign the paperwork at the title company to transfer ownership.
- Take a deep breath… You are now a homeowner – Congratulations! You have successfully purchased your new home and can start making it your own right away. As a new homeowner, you can now take advantage of knowing that your monthly payments are going toward ownership, rather than a landlord’s pocket. You will start building equity and can now take advantage of the tax deduction benefits with having a mortgage.
To conduct your own search or to see available listings, click here to for Sarasota FL real estate for sale. For more information, to ask a question, to discuss your real estate needs, or to schedule an appointment to view property, please contact Jim Mulligan, REALTOR, 941-235-7474 or firstname.lastname@example.org.