Buyer Basics

What You Will Need In Order To Purchase A Home.... 

Lender Pre-Approval – A "pre-approval" is a letter or document from a mortgage or loan officer that states you can afford to purchase a home in a certain price range. A true "pre-approval" will also state that the officer of the institution has reviewed your employment history and your recent credit history. I cannot make a successful attempt on your behalf to secure a home for sale without this document. It is very simple and FREE. Use one of the lenders from my team and do it as soon as possible! Too often I take a client on their first visit to homes and guess what happens? They actually see a home they can't live without yet now we must scramble to get a "pre-approval" so we can make an offer and it just happens to be 11 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Can I find somebody to get us the document at 11 a.m. on a Sunday? Sure I can but it will take more time. More time for another buyer to get their stuff together to make an offer on the house you just fell in love with!

Earnest Money – At the time that I present your offer to purchase real estate I will need to have earnest money from you in the form of a personal check. If the offer is accepted the money will be held safely in escrow at a bank in an account created just to hold your money. At closing this money is applied toward the purchase price of the property. A promissory note due at the time of final signing by both parties is OK but I do not do 2-day or however many day promissory notes. When I am a listing agent representing a seller I never accept multiple day promissory notes and here is why: A buyer brings a contract that the seller likes and agrees to and signs. Now the property is to be taken off the market and labeled in the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois as "under contract" yet the buyer does not want to give earnest money showing commitment until after the 5-day attorney approval and inspection period? I don't think that represents a serious offer and you better believe the listing agent is leaning over telling the seller "I really don't think this represents a serious offer without earnest money up front." So get your monies in order in preparation to purchase a home. There is obviously much more to cover than we can fit at this site but I will go over everything with you and answer any questions you may have.

Availability – Once you have decided that you want to move to this area it is important to understand that new properties come on the market every day. It is also important to know that there may be other buyers like you wanting the same type of property at the same time. You bet this is a buyer’s market.  What happens in a buyer’s market?  Prices fall.  Guess what we are seeing happen every week?  Some particular home prices are getting so low the buyer says, “OMG! I can’t afford not to buy this house!”  I have seen more dual offer situations in OPRF in first half of 2010 than I saw in all of 2006 or 2007.  This is why I still stay on top of the multiple listing service to make sure you don’t miss that perfect home.  Can you follow the listing activity on other websites?  Sure… but one thing those other sites don’t have is status accuracy.  They could be days behind on “just listed” or “price change” notification. 

Pricing – Looking online for a particular home’s valuation?  And think some of those (to be unnamed) sites are accurate on price estimation?  I’m sorry… you are wrong.  Their estimation is a gathering of data from county records and other data sources.  They cannot take into account current market activity and more times than not the data they pull from is incorrect.  Talk to me… a local expert that goes in more OPRF homes in one year than you will visit in your lifetime.  And remember… OPRF is an urban suburb that is busy and thriving but we are two small towns at heart.  Every property has a history and a story.  This all needs to be taken into account when pricing.

Making an Offer – The above thoughts are also why it is important to move quickly when you have decided… “I am ready to make an offer on that house.”  That’s right… move quickly.  It will be your dumb luck that in this slower market you end up paying more than you originally needed to because you got in a bidding war with a buyer that just so happened to want the same house at the exact same time you did!  Think it won’t happen?  I see it every year.  So when you reach that point that you want to offer on a property… call me immediately!  I don’t care what time of day.  We will discuss the next move.  In most cases it is better (for you) if I come to meet you where it is convenient (for you) and we will write the offer together.  I have all the necessary contracts and provisions.  The buyer’s contract I like to use contains the contingency that the seller and buyer have the same 5 business day period to have the contract reviewed by an attorney after the offer has been accepted and signed.  Same with the inspection.  The buyer has a 5 business day period to inspect the home and ask for issues to be addressed by the seller.

Me – That is right. You need me. This is all I do. I am a full-time professional Realtor. I list a lot of property throughout the year and in every listing I often get a call that goes like this, "I am a Mr. "Buyer" and I am calling about your listing at 000 Nowhere Lane. I see in the paper it is under contract. I didn't even know it came on the market!" This is a sad story repeated too many times everyday. Again, the homes that are perfect and priced right sell before the ads are even printed. It is all common sense. As a buyer's agent one has a responsibility to do everything possible to not just FIND the home but also tell you what it will take to GET the home of your dreams. I am committed to this responsibility. Call or email me and let us get started on your home quest today.

How Many Realtors Do I Need To Work With? Many people think that working with multiple Realtors at one time will give them a better chance of finding the right home. Unfortunately this plan fails with disastrous results often unknown to the buyer. Most Realtors get paid only when they have found you a house that you actually buy and close. One Realtor can take care of your every need in your home search. A Realtor wants to invest their full efforts to help you find the home of your dreams. Most Realtors can sense when you the buyer is not fully committed to working with them so therefore their loyalty and service to you is greatly diminished.

If you are working with five Realtors that are all putting 100% of their skills toward finding you a house they feel like they only have a 20% chance of getting your business. Even if a couple of them are better than the others (All Realtors are not equal!) they still get this BAD feeling they are being used. The buyer is using them for their knowledge, information and experience. They feel it is unlikely they will sell you a house so therefore you don't get their full attention thus you don't get all the information. You could be missing some great homes and opportunities.

"Well maybe if I work with a lot of Realtors they will fight and work harder to get the deal and sell me a home," you think. Of the five you are working with three are most likely part-time. You probably aren't getting their full attention anyway and the time they do have they aren't going to waste on a "maybe" chance to sell a house. The other two are full-timers and have other more seriously committed clients that they will want to focus their efforts towards. In the end… it is a gamble not worth taking.

Find a Realtor you like and stick with them. Follow this general rule: Does the agent as a person and everyday human being strikes you over the phone or through emails as what I like to term "good people"? If so, then that agent is worth investigating a little further to see if they can help you in your home search.