So you’ve made the decision to purchase a home? Congratulations on choosing a great time to buy! Check out my blog series about Buying A Home In Today’s Market for more information. This is a 5 part series detailing the 5 main steps to purchase a home. In this episode I’ll share the step by step process to most efficiently find the right homes for sale in your target area.
I’m going to assume that if you’re ready to begin the home search you’ve already talked to a mortgage lender and you have an idea how much you’re qualified to borrow. Buyers dont always spend the maximum they’re approved for, so this is a great point to decide on your own personal maximum budget. If you have not completed this step yet, call me directly and I would be glad to have an initial conversation with you in order to connect you with the right local mortgage professional for your needs. I also provide information for lenders and numerous other local professionals on my Local Services page. I know and trust a handful of lenders in the region that specialize in different types of financing including first time buyers, high net worth individuals, investors, and renovation and construction loans. It’s my pleasure to work closely with my clients through each step of the process, including the loan qualification steps.
Let’s take some time and review the home search process. The topics to be reviewed are searching platforms, needs vs. wants, and touring homes.
I create and manage a custom search based on your criteria. We decide on these factors in the next section on Needs vs. Wants. I’ll watch the local market for just listed homes that meet your criteria. I’ll make recommendations and keep in constant communication about market trends, and homes that are worth a tour.
There are numerous options to search for homes for sale in the current market. Online options abound, including well known sites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and others. While these sites have their strengths, they also have their weaknesses. Many of the 3rd party sites have lots of great information in one place, but they lack accuracy on the specific information about each property. Some sites will also solicit the purchase of a “membership” to get information about pre-foreclosure and bank foreclosure sales. Many times the properties they’re advertising are just a hook, and may never make it to the open market. In other cases they may take months or years before they are truly listed and available for sale.
Feel free to check out my home search page for yourself. It pulls directly from our local MLS, so the information is up to date and accurate! Search for homes HERE.
Needs vs. Wants
Many buyer start a home search with grand plans to find a “perfect” home. However, after getting more familiar with local pricing, and the types and locations of the available homes, many find that they should realistically look at getting 7 of 10 wants. In reality, it is nearly impossible for even high end buyers to find a home with EVERYTHING they want. This is where we start to break down the difference between needs and wants. While and updated kitchen may seem like a need at first, it could move to a want category once buyers realize that location or a larger back yard may be more important. Once expectations begin to align with the available homes for sale in the area, buyers begin to build a plan to find a perfect home FOR THEM, not a “perfect home”.
My goal is to help buyers identify the most important needs, while also fitting as many wants into the search as possible. As buyers become more in tune with the local homes for sale, and the market pricing for those homes, they’re able to recognize a good value, and take advantage of it before someone else! I have an excellent track record of helping my clients identify and move quickly on the right home.
Once we identify homes that are in budget and meet the buyer needs list, it is time to tour the potential homes. There are many things to which buyers should pay attention. It is my duty to help point out these items and ensure that my clients are educated and prepared to make the most accurate informed offer on any home. I often advise my clients to look at the flow, the “feel”, and the more superficial items about the home. At the same time, I look at the more functional aspects of the home. Although I am not a contractor, engineer, Heat/Air technician, plumber, or electrician, I do have years of experience that allow me to spot things that my clients may want to investigate further. After seeing thousands of roofs in my career, I can usually point out the differences between a new roof, and an old deteriorating roof. Making mental notes on the overall condition of the home mechanical items will help make an accurate offer later, and can help provide justification if an offer is made below the current list price.
I hope you found this overview helpful! If I can help with you buy a home in Sacramento, please contact me directly. Look for the next blog in this series at Home Buying Step 2: Making An Offer for more great information to help you maximize your hope buying budget!