First time buyer or seasoned Investor having a plan of action for purchasing a property is the first step toward a successful result. Knowledge and Strategy are key to make the best choices and achieve your goals. The following Guide.
A. Mission Statement - Yes buying Real Estate is under all a very complicated Business Decision. Therefore following the structure of all good Business Plans - you start with a Mission Statement.
What are you looking for and why do you want it.
1) Detail what type of Property you are looking for.
2) Detail where you would like the property to be and why.
3) Detail why you are looking for this property.
4) Make a list of what particulars this property has to have.
5) Reevaluate your list and prioritize which items are the most important.
B. How much can you pay for this property
1) Fill out a financial statement
2) Gather your bank statements
3) Gather you pay stubs
4) Get a free copy of your credit score
5) Make a list of potential additional sources of deposit money gifts
6) Talk to a mortgage broker about your current situation. A list of no obligation trusted mortgage brokers is here.
C. Start looking at properties on the Internet. Remember that the listings on the Internet are often confusing. Sometimes they are available and sometimes they are not. Sometimes the information is accurate and sometimes it is not. Sometimes the pictures are actual and sometime they are totally fabricated.
D. Things to look for when viewing properties on Internet
1) Square footage - Do not always trust this number however use it as a guide. A 1,000 sq foot house vs a 1,900 sq foot house should indicate a major size difference. A 900 sq foot apartment vs a 1,100 sq ft apartment may or may not have that much of a difference in usable space.
2) Floor plan - Learn floor plans - The pretty pictures will not educate you on the market - Floor plans will. Size of bedrooms, Flow of rooms, windows, beams and columns show you what the actual layout is. Camera shots distort the size and that beautiful bedroom can be the size of a walk in closet or that stylish granite counter might actually be the whole tiny kitchen set up in the corner of the living room.
3) Prices - Learn the market prices. If you want to be a good buyer, learn the pricing of the properties in the type, size and location of what you want to buy. Look higher and lower than what your ideal price point should be. What actually are you buying for more money? What might be possible for less?
E. Work with a reputable Real Estate Agent
1) Obtain current information about the market and an important knowledge base of what is going on in a real time fashion.
2) They will help you translate what you are looking for into actual possibilities. They will offer an opportunity to dig deeper into your vision and help prioritize you goals.
3) They will help steer you away from bad choices.
4) They will provide you with a unbiassed sounding board for your likes and dislikes.
5) They will be looking out for your best interest.
6) They will be able to offer you experienced and knowledgeable information and analysis of a property and location.
7) They will be able to provide you with needed research and comparative information that will help in making a solid decision.
8) They will save you time and money suggesting the best resources throughout all the steps of the process and for many needed decisions after a purchase.
9) They remain a confidante of all of your inner thoughts, personal finances and future dreams, and have a life long incentive to remain loyal to your privacy and well being.
10) They will negotiate much better than you can possibly by yourself. With your assistance and team work the best deal can be made.
What to look for in a Great Real Estate Agent
1) Availability - Whether they have set hours or an assistant - You should feel comfortable to be able to call your agent and receive a response within a reasonable amount of time. You should feel that they are willing to spend time talking with you.
2) Knowledge of the Current Market - Realtor's do not have crystal balls however they do have a feel of what is going on in the market - Are things selling fast, which properties are selling.
3) Experience - When asking for advise on one of your largest investments in your life, it is good to speak to someone who has some experience.
4) Likability - You should like the person and feel comfortable talking with them.
5) Trust - You will be sharing and discussing confidential information with this agent. Part of the likability aspect - If for some reason you do not feel comfortable sharing this type of information, that agent might not be the best choice.
LOYALTY - Should you stay with one agent?
1) Listings -With the age of the Internet - information is typically shared equally , so one agent will not have opportunity to know about more listings than any other agent.
2) Resources - Agents all have their own team of support professionals. If you like and trust your agent, you will most often like and trust the professionals they refer you to.
3) Commitment - Good Agents will stay committed to you and be looking out for your best interest. They have processed your information and know what you are looking for.
4) Energy - If you share yourself with one agent, there is a good chance that they will "feel" what you are looking for. They will be searching for your perfect home as well as attracting that special place that will be just right for you.
5) Negotiation - All deals require negotiation. Having a trusted ally on your side makes the process less stressful and improves your chances of getting the deal done.
WHEN TO CHANGE AGENTS - Yes, there is a time to change
If the agent does not seem to meet your needs and expectations as detailed above, seek out a different agent.