This column was purposely written on the last day of March, so homebuyers would not take it as "Fools Gold" on April 1st. The truth of the matter is mortgage rates have fallen dramatically and
Consultation Is Key Before Home Tours
"Don't put the cart before the horse." It's an expression heard time and again when people do things out of order. It's also something Realtors say when homebuyers wish to tour listings before they're ready to.
Home sellers love ready-buyers who are prepared to make offers the minute they walk through the door. But it's a Realtor's job to make sure buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase a home when the time is right.
THE HOMEBUYER CONSULTATION
STEP 1. Be a Client. Choose an Agent.
20-minutes of time is all that's necessary to learn how to be truly ready to buy. It also gives customers and agents the opportunity to know first-hand if they'll be a good fit for each other.
The term "customer" is important in the last sentence because it differs from the term "client." In real estate, customers become clients when they choose an agent to represent them. They then become privy to all of the information that's necessary to make an educated decision. With a buyer-broker agreement in place, buyers can act immediately on a home they love because their agent has permission to write and submit offers while negotiating on their behalf for the fairest price on the property.
Customers get none of that, so it's imperative to commit to an agent to gain what's necessary to compete for a home in the first place.
Buyers who recognize this will be in for a smooth process, without stress and regret. Those who do not will waste valuable time and will lose out on homes that could have been theirs with an agent in hand.
STEP 2. Take Part in a Needs Analysis
During homebuyer consultations, agents ask questions that help determine the needs of buyers.
When I first met Kevin and Brittany (pictured above), they told me everything I needed to know about their homebuying plans. I determined their timing and criteria, they got pre-approved for a home loan, and we were off an running to tour listings.
So don't be shy. Prioritize your needs and tell the agent what your must-haves are. You will soon find out that there's no such thing as a perfect home, but you can try hard to get close! Be brief at the consult because a more comprehensive needs analysis can be obtained by filling out a homebuyer questionnaire. Just state what you're looking for, what areas you wish to target, and how much you wish to spend.
STEP 3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Loan (Unless You're a Cash Buyer)
If you feel comfortable with the agent who conducted the homebuyer's consultation, you will be asked to sign a buyer-broker agreement, which will make you and the agent teammates in your home search! The agent will then connect you to trusted sources for home financing, so you can get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. Then, and only then, will you be able to prove to sellers that you're capable of buying because you'll receive a pre-approval letter to confirm your readiness.
Don't be a customer. Be a client. And set aside time to find a professional you can trust to lead you down the homebuying path.
Joe Versage is a former TV sportscaster who uses his competitive nature to win deals in real estate. As founder of the Versage Group, Joe serves residential realty clients in Northern Virginia and ref....