This episode is brought to you by Bello Dimora Real Estate Professionals and is hosted by Steve Shuff along with Rob St John. Katie Messenger, Lead Buyer Specialist for Bello Dimora, speaks on the topic of the home buying process. She explores the “now what” with each phase. So, you’ve decided to buy a home… now what!?
Buying a house can be complicated and sometimes confusing. Whether it is your first time purchasing a home, or a move up or down, the truth is this: Things always change. So just because you purchased a home 5 years ago, don’t assume that the process is the same. Most likely in today’s fast-paced culture, most may be the same, but enough has changed to cause confusion. In this episode, there are six steps we will cover that can get you started on the way to home ownership.
Step 1: Seek the guidance of a professional. Find a real estate agent… one who you trust. Real estate agents are trained professionals whose obligation is it to work in the best interest of their client. (Let’s just get this out of the way shall we?) Though in Kentucky, it is legal to for one agent to represent home sellers and home buyers in the same transaction; Bello Dimora does not practice this version of dual agency. Though still considered a form of dual agency, Bello Dimora does not allow one agent to represent both parties in a given transaction. Regardless, talk to trusted friends and family who have worked with a professional in the past.. extra points if that professional has continued to stay in touch with them after their transaction closed!
Step 2: Seek out a mortgage professional. If you landed a trusted real estate agent in step 1, trust their advice on whom you should talk to about your mortgage options. Shop around if you must, but not for the lowest interest rate, rather look for service. Can you walk in to their office, knock on their door, and sit down face to face? Personally, I think that’s important, maybe more so than any other factor. The likelihood of closing (and closing on time) goes up significantly when you can get face to face. Look for those professionals who specialize in mortgages, and ask about multiple products. Not all lenders can offer the same products, and that could be a differentiator as well.
Step 3: Begin the home search. Sites like zillow and trulia can be a good starting point. However, to see the very latest in active homes available, you’ll want to use a site like bellodimora.com or your local agent’s website. Most times, all of the sites feature the same properties due to an internet data exchange agreement amongst all brokers in an area. However, it is possible that a brokerage in your area does not participate. In that case, you will need to look at their data specifically in order to see their properties that are for sale. Ask you agent for more information. Together with your agent, you will put together a plan for identifying homes. Finding the right home never comes without compromise. Be sure to be vocal about your likes and dislikes about a given home. Keeping that information to yourself will only lengthen the amount of time spent looking for a home, potentially missing that hidden jewel. By the way, there are some homes that never make it to market. Ask your agent what his or her strategy is for getting you into those homes.
Step 4: Negotiate. This is one of the main reasons… if not THE MAIN reason your hire your agent of choice. Let’s face it, anyone can find a home… at least the ones that are available (see step 3). However, the strength of your agent will be found in the negotiations. If you have a strong agent, listen to them. They have experience that they will share with you. They understand the psychology of human nature and the reactions to certain requests or demands. There is more than one way to skin a cat… so again, ask questions and be vocal. If you are empowered, this could be a very fun time for you. However, a weak agent can not only cost you the deal… they could cause you to spend more money than required to land your dream home. Ask about their negotiation strategy in step 1. That way, you will know what to expect when it comes time to dance!
Step 5: Remove the contingencies. Every contract comes with any number of contingencies. Most contracts that are being written by and for the typical homeowner will have several. Your agent will work with you to help you fulfill these contingencies as the transaction progresses. Some examples of contingencies might include a home inspection, or an appraisal. There can be any number of custom contingencies that can be put in place based on the needs of you, the home buyer.
Step 6. Time to close! Congratulations! You have made it and now it’s time to actually go to the closing. In some states, it is customary to sit in the same room as the seller. In other states, the two parties never meet. There is no wrong or right way to do it, it is whatever is customary for the area. At this point, you have set up utilities, you find out garbage and recycling days, and yes… receive the keys! This is your time. Be sure to ask questions if you wish! When it comes to paperwork…. there can be a bunch. If something doesn’t make sense, a great title company or attorney will take the time to review the document with you in detail, and explain it to you. Again, your real estate agent will be able to recommend great title companies and closing attorneys. Of course unless you have your won; however most people do not keep a closing attorney in their back pocket.
Katie Messenger, Lead Buyer Agent of Bello Dimora, can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can find properties that may meet your needs at katie.bellodimora.com. Katie and her team are currently accepting new clients, and would love to speak with you about your goals.