The Big Picture ~ Buying a Home

hurdleLet me just start by saying… I LOVE working with Buyers. My experience is that most Realtors will not venture to say this as the perception is that there is much more labor involved for the Realtor in driving folks to look at properties, working through the inspection, lending and other processes, etc. But me? My background is in Marketing… so I find it easy to list, advertise and sell someone’s home, but I have the most FUN when working with Buyers. It’s something about the adventure of helping someone find a home they Love. It’s researching, finding, and then walking with them into “the one” and watching the looks on their faces. It’s a lot of things for me. It’s the feeling I got into real estate for… and I’m all about Quality of Life- mine and yours. In fact, helping people improve theirs is another reason I got into real estate!

Ok, on that note. I thought I’d talk a little about the “Big Picture” perspective as you move through a transaction. What does the whole thing mean? …For you to spell out what you’re looking for, finally make a decision on one home that is so right for you, and then negotiate through all that follows to get to the finish line. I find that many Buyers don’t know what they’re in for when they start the process, and can potentially lose the Big Picture half-way through. Explaining that is something I incorporate into information at the start of our relationship, and/but…there’s nothing like getting into the middle of it to really throw a Buyer for a loop sometimes. Don’t let a surmountable obstacle become so large that the Big Picture is obscured. There are hurdles in all transactions…and your Realtor will help you jump them.

Hurdle #1– When you find the home of your dreams, it will have a price tag. The first order of business is to assess the lay of the land in that regard with your Realtor, and make a decision on what to offer. (Is it a competitive situation? Has the property been on the market for many months? Is it way overpriced?) Then the offer is made. The Seller will either accept your offer, counter it with their own idea of what they want to see as the sale price or in some instances reject your offer. In most cases the two parties land somewhere price-wise that they can both live with. Ok. That was hurdle number one.

Hurdle #2– You will generally (unless otherwise agreed-to) have ten busines days in which to conduct inspections and be “all negotiated” at midnight on the last of those days. Your Realtor will help you through this process, and most people these days will have a general inspection, a sewer scope and a radon test. You may opt otherwise, but those are generally called for. The inspector(s) WILL find all kinds of things wrong with your dream home. It’s their job to do so. Unless you’re buying new construction (and even then) there will be issues that maybe are 1) “FYI’s” for future maintenance, and 2) issues that need attention (like clogged gutters maybe, venting needed for bathrooms or kitchen, perhaps vapor barrier needed under the home, a tune-up on the furnace sometimes, etc) and possibly 3) issues that present safety concerns (improper wiring, structural concerns, code violations, etc). In the state of Oregon the Seller is selling the home “as-is”. That means they are not obligated to fix anything for you, and/but most people are reasonable, and a good discussion with your Realtor will help you decide which things on your pared-down list make the most sense to ask for, if any. Then a discussion via “addendums” begins with the Seller. Most people end up landing somewhere where all parties feel comfortable.

Hurdle #3– Once you’ve accomplished negotiating through all of that, and you now know you are moving forward, the Appraisal is usually ordered. This tells you and the bank that the price you’ve all agreed on is reasonable on planet earth ; ) The bank wants to make absolutely sure they don’t lend over “appraised value” and you are not obligated (unless you’ve specifically agreed to it) to pay more than appraised value for the home. If the home appraises lower than your agreed-upon sale price, you have choices that you can discuss with your Realtor.

Hurdle #4– Assuming you make it to this last hurdle, the Lender and your Realtor will be working closely with you to help you make sure that you comply with anything that the Lender’s “Underwriter” requests of you. This could involve bank statements, pay stubs, and any number of things that the Underwriter deems necessary to move the file out of their department and make it possible for the Lender to “draw documents”.

The last part of the process is you, your Realtor, your Escrow Officer, and sometimes your Lender sitting at the “Closing Table”…with you signing papers! This occurs at least one or two days prior to your contract’s “Closing Date”. The Closing Date is when the sale is recorded with the county, and funds are released, and the house is yours!

Ok… I had to say all that to get to this: You are going to jump all these hurdles unless you become so upset by any one of them that you derail the process, thereby making the end-goal of furniture-arrangement off-limits : ) Are there ever insurmountable issues that arise? Yes. But those are few and far between. Most everything can be worked through if you stay with it. So… keep perspective as you move through the process, remember your end goal, trust your Realtor, and trust yourself. If the Big Picture dominates your thinking, you’ll make great decisions all the way through : )