Purchasing a home is by far one of, if not the largest purchase a person will make in their life. As with many purchases most people start their search online. The problem is most people automatically start searching for homes before learning the process and laying the ground work. Before you are ready to look at homes it's imperative to understand the process. Another mistake people make is that they run straight to a lender to find out how much they can afford. This mistake can have serious consequences down the road. There are 3 important steps when starting a home search...
Step 1: Contact a Realtor - A real estate Broker's services are much more extensive than just finding homes and taking you to look at them. A Realtor (real estate Broker) is there to guide you through the process and recommend experienced and proven vendors such as lenders and attorneys to ensure a smooth and successful transaction. It is important to find a Realtor you are comfortable with and stick with them throughout the process. Attempting to use or contact multiple Realtors can create legal issues and make it difficult for anyone to properly represent and guide you.
Step 2: Contact a Lender - Get at least 2 - 3 recommendations from your Realtor. Realtors work with Lenders on a regular basis and typically have a handful of Lenders they know will properly guide you and successful close the transaction. Too often I see people randomly walk into a bank, ask to be pre-approved and end up with an inexperienced mortgage consultant that ends up unable to close on time. The lender will then pre-approve you and give you an estimate on costs. It is important to stay within a comfortable payment rather than automatically going with your pre-approved maximum.
Step 3: Set your search parameters with your Realtor - Too often people rush to the web and start looking on Trulia, Zillow and Realtor.com. The best advice I can give you is DONT - these sites get the listings from various sources, including the MLS (Realtors Multiple Listing Service) however their inventory is incomplete and quite often inaccurate. There is also a serious delay in the data. It can take, hours, days and even weeks for these sites to get a listing and by that point there is a good chance the property is under contract or about to be in a multiple offer situation. These sites also have a delay in removing pending and sold properties. in today's market even a day delay can cost a buyer a property. The Realtor's MLS is the most current and complete data source and is the first to be updated since it is the ultimate source for the other sites. Have your Realtor setup an auto search and you will be emailed as new properties come available or as prices change. Searching the web for a property yourself will only cause you frustration during the process.
Starting with these 3 simple steps will lay the ground work for a smooth transaction. For in-depth details on the process including the offer process and closing process call or email -
Chris "CK" Kravetz
"Building clients' wealth through real estate"