1. Get "Pre-Approved" - Not "Pre-Qualified!" Do you want to get the best property you can for the least amount of money? Then make sure you are in the strongest negotiating position possible. Price is only one element in the negotiations, and not necessarily the most important one. Often other terms, such as the strength of the buyer or the length of escrow, are critical to a seller. In years past, I always recommended that buyers get "pre-qualified" by a lender. This means that you spend a few minutes on the phone with a lender who asks you a few questions. Based on the answers, the lender pronounces you "pre-qualified" and issues a certificate that you can show to a seller. Sellers are getting smarter now and are aware that such certificates can be WORTHLESS, and here's why! None of the information has been verified! Many times unknown problems can come to the surface! Some of the problems may include recorded judgments, alimony payments due, glitches on the credit report due to any number of reasons both accurately and inaccurately, down payments that have not been in the clients' bank account long enough, etc. So the way to make the strongest offer today is to get "pre-approved". This happens AFTER all information has been checked and verified. You are actually APPROVED for the loan and the only loose end is the appraisal on the property. This process takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on your situation. It's can be a powerful weapon I recommend all my clients have in their negotiating arsenal.
2. Sell Your Property First, Then Buy the House If you have a house to sell, sell it before selecting a house to buy. Contingency sales aren't nearly as strong as one that comes in with a ready, willing and able buyer. Consider this scenario: You've found the perfect house - now you have to go make an offer to the seller. You want the seller to reduce the price and wait until you sell your house. The seller figures that this is a risky deal, since he might pass up a buyer who DOESN'T have to sell a house while he's waiting for you. So he says OK, he'll do the contingency but it has to be a full price offer! You have now paid more for the house than you could have because of the contingency, and you have to sell your existing house in a hurry! Otherwise you lose the house! So to sell quickly you might take an offer that's lower than if you had more time. The bottom line is that buying before selling might cost you THOUSANDS of dollars.
3. If you're concerned that there is not a house on the market for you, then go internet shopping. You can identify possible houses and locations without falling in love with a specific house. If you feel confident after that then put your house on the market.
4. Play the Game of Nines Before house hunting, make a list of things you want in the new place. Then make a list of the things you don't want. You can use this list as a guide to rate each property that you see. The one with the biggest score wins! This helps avoid confusion and keeps things in perspective when you're comparing dozens of homes. When house hunting, keep in mind the difference between "STYLE AND SUBSTANCE". The SUBSTANCE are things that cannot be changed such as the location, view, size of lot, noise in the area, school district, and floor plan. The STYLE represents easily changed surface finishes like carpet, wallpaper, color, and window coverings. Buy the house with good SUBSTANCE, because the STYLE can always be changed to match your tastes. I always recommend that you imagine each house as if it were vacant. Consider each house on its underlying merits, not the seller's decorating skills.
5. Become educated about values of homes on the internet shopping service. You can also become familiar with how fast homes cycle on the market. That way when you see one you really like you will have a good idea of how long it will take before another one, you might like, will surface. In a market where timing can be everything, it is a good idea to be educated about the market as a whole. Also, you will be saving time with less indecision about your own likes and dislikes because much of this may have already taken place on the internet, or by driving by a few favorites, with what is available. Most people, while having a basic list of criteria for what they want, will end up needing to negotiate within the confines of what is available on the market. The education process is often sped up when you can look at pictures before you even go look at houses with your realtor. Satellite technology allows the shopper to zoom in on the neighborhood too. Don't forget to check into the SCHOOL DISTRICTS of the area you're considering. Information is available on every school; such as class sizes, % of students that go on to college, SAT scores, etc. You can get this information from this web site.
6. Beware of outdated Ads! Please note - ads are sometimes created to make the phone ring! Because ads are a source for buyer leads, many times the realtors posting the ads will, on purpose, run listings that are already under contract, just because they can still get the calls and take buyers to other listings. I do not think it may be too far off the mark to say that over half the ones you'd want to call in on are already under contract or sold. On the other hand, your realtor Brian Habel has EVERY ACTIVE MLS LISTING ON THE MARKET AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE, including addresses and advanced user tools.
We always recommend that you use your own agent to find out additional information such as, how long has a particular listing been on the market, or has there been any offers, etc. We have found that often the buyer is surprised at what we can ask and find out for them that becomes of benefit to them.
Connect with Brian Habel as needed- Your St George Utah Real Estate Expert. Thank you ahead of time for your business!