By Gary Kelley
“You write a lot about selling a home. Do you ever work with buyers?”
Yes is the resounding answer! In 2019, we closed 36 transactions: 18 listings, 13 buyers and five rentals. Many of the people selling their homes look to us to help them find their next home, so it is a natural. We’ve also helped first-time buyers get into a home, and helped others upsizing homes.
When buying a home, the first step is to make sure you know what you can buy. A mortgage company or bank will look at your financial situation and help determine what you can afford. You may be surprised how large a loan you can get; I recommend balancing this with what you are comfortable paying (and include principal, interest, taxes and insurance). If you have blemishes on your credit, they can suggest the steps for you to take to clear things up; a few months working on your credit can have a big impact.
Once you know the number, you can then look at houses. Well, maybe not so fast. You’ve probably already been looking on the online services and beginning to get excited or depressed. This is where you start making some tradeoffs – such as house style, number of bedrooms and location. Is a garage a MUST or nice to have? Simple rules of thumb begin to come to bear – like the closer you are to Boston the more expensive your housing. This is where proximity to commuter rail or freeways comes into play. A ranch style will often cost less than split-level which is less than a colonial. It all comes together. Our first visit with a buyer may be in our office looking at options on a screen, or in a coffee shop looking at listings.
Once we get some general ideas, it’s now time to go out looking at houses, right? Well, maybe. At the more affordable price points, it is a seller’s market (meaning there are insufficient homes to meet demand). You need to be agile and flexible. We may go visit some homes to get a sense of the market, and when a property comes on the market you need to hop on it.
At the higher price points, it is a buyer’s market meaning more homes than demand. You need to look quickly recognizing a nice product will sell quickly.
When you see the right home, you will feel it. I spent most of my career in engineering and we can do spreadsheets and models all day. It’s a feeling in your gut when you find the right home. You’ll want to spend more time there, and maybe even stop looking at houses for the remainder of the day. It’s OK; you found your home.
The next step is to write an offer. Writing an offer takes about an hour. Part of that time is determining the offer price. Once the offer is submitted, you’ll be on an adrenaline high until you get an answer (often a counteroffer). With an accepted offer, it’s time to have a modest celebration. And no roses until it closes…there’s still a long way to go – inspection, appraisal, underwriter questions, etc.
Throughout the process your Realtor® will be with you. More next month.
I’m not a huge fan of Zillow, etc. for buyers. Here is an app for your phone/tablet tied directly to the MLS: http://87778.mobi/REMAXGARY.
We’ve produced BUYER and SELLER guides and will mail to you. Please send your address to [email protected].
If you need advice on selling your home or buying a new one, give us a call.
Kelley is a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist™ (CLHMS) and award-winning Realtor. He invites you to follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MoveWithGary /
Gary Kelley, Realtor®