Before You Buy: The Top 3 Things Your Realtor Wants You to Know

Posted by Matthew Lahti on Sunday, June 16th, 2013 at 12:19pm

As you begin the home buying process, we’re glad that you’ve chosen to work with a REALTOR. Because buying and selling real estate is what we do every day, we know three simple things that will really pay off for you in the long run if you’ll follow our advice. 

1. Our experience tells us one of the smartest financial decisions you can make with regard to buying a home is to contact a Lender before actually going home shopping. We understand that obtaining financing is a lot less fun than looking at houses, but you’ll be so glad you got it out of the way so that the fun part can begin!

When you are pre-approved for a home loan, you know exactly how much you can afford to spend so your REALTOR can do a better job of showing you only those homes that are a good fit for your budget. In addition, a Seller may be more favorable towards an offer made by a pre-approved Buyer than from one who does not already have financing in place. Ask your Lender to provide your pre-approval letter to us or you may bring it in when you get it. Trust us when we say this is a biggie!

2. Communicate with your REALTOR. Sure, this sounds easy enough, but you’d be surprised how often a REALTO thinks her customer is looking for a ranch style 3 bedroom on a large lot when what her Buyer really wants is a two-story house with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths on at least 3 acres. If you’ll take just a few minutes right now and list the things you do and do not want in a home and provide that list to your REALTOR, she can do a much better job of finding the home that’s just right for you and your family. If you have specific times of the day or week when you can look at real estate, you might make a note of those as well. 

3. Get that home inspected PRIOR to making an offer! We understand that budgets are always tight and spending additional money for a home inspection before you even know if you’re going to own the home may sound a little wasteful. Not only is it NOT wasteful, you may save yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars and here’s why:

As per state and federal laws that govern Real Estate Agents, a REALTOR cannot offer any Buyer advice about whether or not a home is sound mechanically and/or structurally. We are not home inspectors and therefore do not have the necessary knowledge to advise you on what may or may not be wrong with a home. What we always do, of course, is to tell you everything we know regarding defects in the home that have been disclosed to us. As you might imagine, this can sometimes leave a gap. Occasionally there are defects even the Seller is not aware of and if the Seller doesn’t know, we don’t know. And if we don’t know, you don’t know! 

If you spend a relatively small amount of money up front to have a qualified home inspector go over the property you are interested in, he or she will be able to tell you more about that house than you ever dreamed. They will check everything from the roof to the heating and air to the structure and then disclose everything they find to you. Once you have that report, you will be able to make an offer that is backed with knowledge and therefore may carry more weight than an arbitrary number you pick out of thin air. Equally important, once you have made an offer and it has been accepted by a Seller, you have entered into a legal and binding contract. If you discover problems with the property once the deal is done, you will have to handle them at your expense. Your Realtor’s hands are unfortunately tied.

One quick note: Often a Buyer wants to have a favorite uncle or friend look over the property in lieu of a licensed home inspector in an effort to save money. The problem you will encounter using this method is that a Seller has no reason to accept what “Uncle Bob” thinks about the property as he is not an impartial licensed inspector.

Please consider using a qualified and licensed home inspector.

Thank you for choosing our brokerage. We look forward to assisting you at every step along this exciting path and to being there for that wonderful moment when you find the home of your dreams. 

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