It is one of the worst things that can happen to you, as a buyer. You are “just looking.” You do not expect to find it because you have been looking online for months and nothing. Then, out of the blue, behind door number 3…it’s the ONE. It is nearly perfect in every way. You are fairly giddy with excitement!
Then…the realization hits. No matter how perfect it is, there is not a darn thing you can do about it. You got caught straight-up unprepared to pull the trigger on your dream home. You are not financially prepared and you are short on market education. Suddenly, you are calling everyone you know, desperate for a pre-approval letter and first-hand information on the school district. It is an emotional roller coaster easily avoided by doing these six things before walking through any door:
- Get pre-approved by a reputable lender before viewing the first house. Determine the top price point you are willing to spend within that approved amount, and stop your search criteria there. You have to have a stopper. House-poor happens in small increments.
- Determine in advance if you are willing to deal with short sales and foreclosures. If you are, stay in it for the long-haul.
- Do your online research in advance. Prepare a list of areas and/or school districts you prefer, ranking from first choice to last.
- View first, the homes that satisfy most of your criteria, not the least expensive. The nicest homes sell first. You might miss them.
- View several homes at a time, if possible. Seeing a few homes back to back helps to remain focused, compare, become educated on the market, and it is the best use of time.
- Immediately disregard homes that are not top contenders. Don’t even think about them anymore. By completely disregarding those homes that fall short of those in serious consideration, you avoid being overwhelmed by the sheer number of homes rolling around in your head. This will eliminate a lot of stress.
When you see a home you like that has most of your amenities, and the location and price intersect…PULL THE TRIGGER. If you have done your research ahead of time, you might be nervous, but you will be ready. This is important because in a brisk market, taking time to educate yourself after you have seen a great house can cause you to lose to a more savvy buyer. Measuring every house after that against the one that “got away” is a nightmare. Yours and mine. So, do your online research, be ready.
It deserves to mention that your first strategy for any buyer is to have a knowledgeable Buyer’s Representative on your side; one who is not afraid to tell you if they think you should pass on a house and keep looking or that a home is substantially over-priced. Yep, we do that…often.
If you have an agent who is undoubtedly in your corner, be loyal. Good agents work hard and deserve it. If you are interviewing, it’s your lucky day, we have openings!