Your home is likely the single biggest purchase you will ever make. You want to do it right. You want to find the right house, at the right price, and experience the best deal possible. Of course as a Realtor I am going to suggest that you use a Realtor, but I actually have thoughts beyond that that I thought I would share with you.
Use a good reputable lender who will tell you what you can afford. This accomplishes two things: you know you are looking at houses that you can actually buy, and it gives you strength in negotiating. With out a letter stating that you are pre-qualified, a person selling real estate will not take you seriously.
Check your thinking
Buying a home is a pretty personal experience. You end up sharing extremely personal information with your lender and your Realtor. It takes a good deal of your time, which makes the rest of your life more stressful. Knowing this, here are my pearls of wisdom:
1. Be honest with everyone up front. If you have credit problems, tell your lender and let him/her help you to fix them. If you hate day-light basement homes, tell your Realtor so that he/she doesn’t waste your time showing them to you. Communication is king!
2. Be prepared to jump quickly when a good house comes onto the market. If it’s a nice house that is well priced, you won’t be the only person who wants it. These nice houses are currently selling fast. Your Realtor is not trying to pressure you when they tell you there are other offers or that they are of the opinion that there will be other offers. This is the current market. So be prepared to make decisions quickly.
3. Do a thorough home inspection. Today it is common to video scope the sewer line and test for radon, along with the standard full-house inspection. If it’s an older home, ask about previous in-ground oil tanks. If the seller has no knowledge, have the yard scanned for a tank. Know your options about inspections by visiting http://www.oregonfirst.com/buyer_advisory
4. Be patient with your loan officer. A good loan officer is much like a coach. They collect all of the information from you that they anticipate you needing to be approved by the bank’s underwriter, then they throw you into the game. Sometimes, well, actually lots of times, the underwriter throws your file back to the loan officer and asks for more data. It is aggravating as all get out, but all of the banks are doing it. It is not your loan officer picking on you. They are working very hard to get you your loan.
5. Don’t make any purchases on credit while in escrow. Your credit and employment will both be checked again just before closing. Any major changes could put everything on the skids. I had a sale get delayed by 3 weeks because the buyer went to a large retail store and maxed out a credit card on new stuff for the house. It took 3 weeks to pay off the new balance and get the credit score back up to a number that final underwriting would approve.
6. Be flexible with the closing date. Everyone is working towards the same goal of completing the purchase, but everything is just taking longer. It feels to me like lenders are working right up until the target closing date and then not giving title companies enough time to get everyone signed. Most transactions are closing 1-7 days late. So if you have lined up your moving truck and have all your stuff in the driveway, it’s going to be stressful. Build in a buffer, if you can. Arrange to stay in your current housing for about a week following the target closing date. This will save you lots of stress and, if it closes right on time, give you time for a leisurely move.
7. Go to http://www.oregonfirst.com/buyer_advisory you’ll find info on so much more than I have covered here. It is a great resource.
I hope you find this helpful. Don’t hesitate to contact Linda or myself if you have questions. As always, we love what we do and we are here to help.