This is Part I of a two-part post
There are many ways to approach buying a home.
As you might imagine, some methods work better than others.
Here’s how you can smoothly navigate your way and buy a home in Boise (or Meridian, Eagle, Kuna, Star, or Nampa!)
- Meet with a lender and get pre-approved for your financing before you start looking at homes. Note that I said “pre-approved”; not “pre-qualified”. The difference lies in the fact that pre-approval means that your lender will actually underwrite your loan application and issue a letter indicating that you are fully approved for your loan vs. pre-qualification usually means that your lender has given only a cursory glance at your qualifications and provided only a tentative indication of your borrowing ability. It is vitally important that you be pre-approved so you can attach your loan commitment letter to your offer to purchase and thereby strengthen your negotiating position.
- Make two lists of features for your intended home: a list of the “must have” features, and a list of “features wanted”. Your must haves will be things like the number of bedrooms, baths, garage size, square footage, school district, etc. Your want list will be things like the color of carpet, fireplace, large patio, etc. – things you would like to have, but can live without.
- Find a Realtor® you trust and respect, and hire them to represent you. Doing so will allow you to make the best use of your time, and will assure your Realtor® that he/she has your written commitment of loyalty. Absent this written understanding, you are merely a “customer” instead of a “client” of the Realtor®. Few experienced, successful Realtors® will devote serious time and energy to you without that written agreement.
- Explain your circumstances, needs, and wants with your Realtor® and work in partnership with your Realtor® to find a workable solution to your real estate needs. Finding and buying the right house often takes a lot of work, and you will doubtless encounter some obstacles along the way. For this reason, it is vitally important that you be able to develop a good working relationship with your Realtor® and that you can both be open and honest with each other.
- Narrow your property search to a few areas that will meet your needs and be realistic in your expectations. Few homes will have 100% of the elements you are hoping to find, and you will probably find it necessary to compromise to get most of what you want. Work with your Realtor® and screen the properties that are initially of interest to you to narrow the field down to the final few best candidates.
- When you finally get down to the final 2-3 homes that appear to be your final possibilities, have your Realtor® do a market analysis of the neighborhood to determine if the homes are properly priced for current market conditions. If possible, try to find out why the sellers are selling. Successful negotiations always include both buyer and seller getting enough of what they need from the transaction to make it work. If you can find out what the seller needs, you can often incorporate those needs into your offer and also get what you want.
(see you tomorrow for Part II)