Information for Buyers
I’m sure you’ve heard it before – “Buying a home is the biggest financial decision you will make in your life.” While that may be true, it doesn’t have to be the scariest or most complicated. OK, it’s complicated, but I’m here to help. If you’re new to the process, I’ve taken some time to lay out what I think are the most important things to consider, prepare for, and act on. If you decide to work with me, we will go over these items and much more to make sure that your search is as productive and satisfying as it can be.
Meeting with a lender has to be right at the top of your to-do list. Until you know what your purchasing power is, you can’t really do any meaningful house hunting. Based on the information you provide, a lender will either say you are “qualified” for a loan or “approved” for a loan. There is a big difference. You can get “qualified” over the phone. Approval requires you to submit a whole range of documentation. I like to say that you can be qualified for a job but not get hired. However, if you’re “approved” – you’re in. You’ve jumped through all the hoops and you can assure a seller that the money is, literally, in the bank.
Work With the Right Lender
The friendly loan officer you are dealing with is not the person who will ultimately approve your loan on the property you intend to buy. Application, processing, and approval are handled by different departments. Loan approval can drag on endlessly and underwriters can stop your transaction cold at the last possible minute, causing you to miss critical deadlines that could sink your transaction. We’ll talk about lenders and I will share my experience and resources to make sure you are working with a company and a loan officer whose capabilities are aligned with your needs.
If You’re Not Approved, Don’t Give Up
Lending criteria are historically tight and loan approval is a complicated process. The right lender will work with you and give you detailed actions you can take to work toward that approval. This can include paying down certain debts, methods to improve your credit score and goals for accumulating necessary funds. You may not qualify for a loan immediately but with some focused activity, you might get approved in a matter of months.
Be Focused But Flexible
Take some time to reflect on what sort of home has the most appeal for you and would best suit your needs – basic things like location, size, features, and style. When we meet we will discuss your wish list with an eye toward what the market has to offer and how that aligns with what is most important to you. Once we’ve narrowed the search, be prepared to be flexible. There is always some compromise involved in the selection of a home – the “perfect” home doesn’t really exist. Even so, I will be quick to point out features that I think would not work well for you. I don’t want to “sell” you a house. I want to help you find a home that really works for you. And I can tell you from long experience that your priorities will probably shift as you actually experience what different houses have to offer. House hunting can be an adventure – be prepared to be pleasantly surprised!
Make Your Buying Decision Based on the Best Information Possible
Take advantage of my broad background in architecture, construction, and inspections. If you work with me as a buyer, I won’t “sell” you anything. I will give you as much information as I have or can find for you so that you can make the best decisions possible.
For example, a house that’s advertised as move-in-ready doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to move in. Whether they are minor or major, most often there are a number of things you would like to do first to make it your home. Before you get in over your head, wouldn’t it be good to know what projects might be prohibitive for your budget? Having that information early on could lead you to make a different offer or looking for a different property.
Just as important, wouldn’t it be valuable to know what modifications or repairs are very feasible before you walk away from a great opportunity?
I want to earn your respect as a trusted adviser whose only goal is to see that you are able to make the most important buying decision of your life with confidence.