If you’re thinking about buying real estate, you should know that we’re not shy about giving people the two most important things they should know about the real estate buying process:
- You should work with a real estate agent
- You should make sure that he or she is the right real estate agent for you
A real estate agent will act as your council and advocate throughout a major financial transaction and throughout the real estate buying process. The right agent will fill you with confidence, help you to feel empowered and leave you feeling that you got the most house for your money or the most money for your house.
At The Hillis Group, we provide the highest levels of service, the most up-to-date knowledge of the market and the industry, and a level of comfort that helps our clients to genuinely enjoy the processes of buying real estate or selling their homes. We have the experience, the expertise and the sensitivity to prove our value in every regard.
The path to your new front door should align your lifestyle with your resources. Walking that path requires an Action Plan that guides you, lets you know what to expect, and ensures you get the most from your purchase.
Here are 10 steps you should know about the real estate buying process:
Before you even call a real estate agent, take some time to research the listings for houses available in the places you might like to live. This is your first step to understanding the market, as it will provide an overview of what’s available and how it is priced. Then you can start a list of considerations – the things you’d like to have and what would be unacceptable in any of the houses that we may show you. Having clarity in this way will help narrow the focus from the beginning, and save you from looking at a lot of places that just don’t interest you.
Listing photos and virtual tours are a good first step, but they don’t give you a sense of neighbourhood. If you can, we suggest getting out and exploring the neighbourhoods you’re thinking of investing in. You’ll see the parks and schools and other amenities. You get a sense of the restaurants and shopping opportunities and proximities. And you’ll have a chance to imagine yourself in the new surroundings.
There is no point in starting the house search until you have a clear picture of your financial capabilities. For a financial professional it’s a matter of doing the math and getting the approvals. Having the financial parameters for your search in place will guide the process from the beginning.
We think capability and fit should be the two biggest factors in choosing an agent to act in your best interests throughout the real estate buying process and finding and buying the house of your dreams. Look for experience, confidence and up-to-date knowledge of the market. But also look for qualities that make you feel comfortable and taken care of. A good agent will care more about the relationship than the transaction.
When you hire your agent, it’s important that you fully understand what his /her obligations to you are. Some of them are mandated by regulation, but others are a matter of style and approach. An agent should be able to give you a clear summary of their process, forthcoming about their service network and able to answer your questions. You should know what your commitment to him/her will be, and what services he/she promises to you in return.
With the financial commitment of your real estate transaction, you should make sure you see every option open to you. That doesn’t mean touring every house that’s for sale in the region. But, working from your list of considerations, it does mean whittling down the options. Be warned, there is no such thing as “the perfect house.” You will need to compromise. But that’s not a bad thing. We’ve even seen buyers completely drop the “absolute necessities” from their list when they’ve seen places they’ve unexpectedly fallen in love with. The trick is not to stop until you are happy with your choice. Just be prepared to learn and adjust along the road.
We think it’s important not to misunderstand the implications of the word “negotiate.” It is not a battle, with clear winners and losers. It is a conversation that leads to a mutually satisfying agreement. And while some agents hold this discussion by trading faxes or emails, we think there is real value in doing it face-to-face. It allows for a more detailed discussion, a better read on the motivations on the selling side and for occasional last minute inclusions and details.
You should never walk into a deal with your eyes covered. Every home has problems, but some can be more significant to value, and many are not readily visible. We recommend making any offer contingent on the results of a home inspection. It could save you from buying a house that needs a new roof before the next big wins storm. Or it could let you to subtract the estimated cost of the required repair from the negotiated offer.
The real estate buying process and purchasing a home is a huge commitment, but it also involves a number of legal requirements. A lawyer will protect your interests and ensure a problem-free transaction.
Assuming you worked with us in searching out and buying your new place, we say “congratulations!” We will have gotten to know each other pretty well. We’ll have helped you ride a very emotional roller coaster. And we’ll be sharing your happiness. Because helping you was our pleasure.