Ok, not really. But we realtors are starting to feel the stirrings of eager buyers and sellers. The holidays are behind us, and people are thinking about houses again. So, what does that mean specifically for buyers? How does a person ready themselves to start looking for a home?
1. Connect with a buyer's agent. What some people don't understand is that the fee for a buyer's agent is built into the commission structure of any house being listed by a realtor through the MLS (or multiple listing service -- the database of all houses listed for sale by any realtor within a specific geographic area -- in our case, it is the MLS Property Information Network or MLSPIN). In other words, when you pay the negotiated price to buy a home, that amount covers the house price, plus the fee for both the buyer and seller's agent. You pay the same amount regardless of whether you choose to have a buyer's agent as your dedicated advocate. And having a buyer's agent to guide you through the process of purchasing your home, from helping you find a home, to helping negotiate the offer, to the inspection and any issues that may arise from that, to identifying a bank, and real estate attorney, and answering any questions that you may have about the process of purchasing a home - is invaluable.
2. Speak to a bank about pre approval. Most people looking to buy a home choose to apply for a mortgage in order to finance the purchase. Your realtor can help you find a mortgage loan officer to work with. But do keep in mind that while your realtor may know a great deal about mortgages, the person to look to for your answers is the loan officer him or herself. By the same token, issues or questions with any legal relevance should be directed to your real estate attorney. Your realtor will help you understand to whom your questions should be directed, and they will help connect you with the professionals you need to complete your transaction - mortgage loan officers, real estate attorneys, home inspectors, septic inspectors, contractors and engineers where applicable, etc. It is a good idea to know which bank(s) you would consider working with, and to have a letter of pre approval from a bank before starting the process of looking for houses.
Two important steps to ready yourself for home ownership! Stay tuned for tips for the home seller next time.