RE Market Info January 2, 2018

3 Mistakes Home Buyers Make (and how to avoid them!)

It’s a seller’s market in the Whidbey/Fidalgo area.  If you’re a buyer you want to avoid making mistakes that can cost you money and cause you to lose the house you really want.  Here are the 3 biggest mistakes home buyers make when shopping for a home.

  1. Not having their own agent.

    Those shopping for a home will often see a sign in front of a house they are interested in, and call the number of the agent on the sign.  This can begin a process in which you as the buyer may forfeit the advantages of having your own agent representing you.  When you call the agent who is named on the for sale sign, you are reaching an agent who is under contract to represent the interests of the seller of that home.  It is their job to sell their client’s home for the highest price possible.  As a buyer you want to have an agent dedicated to your best interests, not the seller’s.  You want someone who will give you an unbiased opinion about the value of the home, and help you prepare an offer that will protect you if something goes awry during the closing process. Be sure to select a local agent who knows the market you are searching in.  He or she will have invaluable insight from their local knowledge and experience.  Lastly, as a buyer you do not pay your agent’s commission, the seller does.  So there is no reason not have your own agent working hard for you!  Suggestion: search for and select a real estate agent who will represent YOU very early in your home search.
  1. Using as their source of information.

    When searching for a home, you want the most up to date information as possible.  Zillow is an amazing resource when doing research about different neighborhoods and getting rough estimates of home values, but their information about current homes on the market can be weeks out of date.  In a seller’s market like we’re in, you don’t want to waste energy chasing down homes that are pending sale – and you want to know instantly when a home matching your search criteria comes up for sale. Suggestion: Contact your agent (see above!) and ask him or her to set up a personalized search for you that will be instantly updated when homes come on and go off the market.
  2. Using non-local lenders for financing.

    The internet is great for simple purchases where you do not need personal service, but it is NOT a great source for closing a home purchase without problems and on time.  The home buying process involves many people who all play a role including the buyer, the seller, the real estate agents, a lender, a title company, an escrow officer, an inspector, and an appraiser.  When a buyer selects an out of area lender, many aspects get more complicated.  How will you get a timely response to requests for a pre-qualification letter?  Does your lender know the idiosyncrasies of the appraiser who has been assigned?  How will your lender know how to comply with the unique aspects of purchasing a home in that city and county?  If there are any problems along the way, would you rather sit down face to face or leave a voice mail message on an 800 number?  If you are competing with other buyers, your offer will be more attractive to the seller when you select a reputable local lender, because they will have more confidence the transaction will go smoothly and close on time.   Suggestion: Before actively searching for homes, ask your agent (see item #1!) for suggestions of excellent local lenders who have competitive rates AND great customer service.  Then go and interview a couple of them to find out who will meet your needs the best.

Serving people is the heart of my business.  I welcome your inquiries about my experience and strategies for helping buyers succeed in a seller’s market. 

Don Jaques, Jr.