Good morning, ya’ll! A gorgeous beginning to the day here in Austin area 🙂 AND it’s a Friday–yay!
I hope everyone found Part I of the “How the Heck Do I Buy A House?” Series helpful. It’s a lot of information-and seems like A LOT to do in preparation, but trust me, it will save you endless headaches in the end. When it becomes crunch time in a closing of a home-and you’re a week out from being a homeowner and an W-2 from a former employer two years ago becomes a hang-up, you’ll be glad you have it on hand. Been there-done that 🙂
So, the second part of the series I want to talk about shopping for a home. It sounds pretty straightforward, right? Especially now since you’ve got your pre-approval letter in hand, RIGHT? RIGHT?! 😉
Without further ado, PART II:
1) Interview a few Realtors and get a Buyer’s Representation Agreement in place
Try a few on for size–see who you feel comfortable with, and who you might feel comfortable calling/texting/emailing in a panic during closing with questions. Myself, I keep my phone on at all times 🙂 It dings away–and I’m happy to talk my clients down from the proverbial edge and address their concerns. You want a Realtor who is knowledgeable (goes without saying, right?), listens (not just HEARS-there’s a difference), confident, open, and someone who isn’t going to just “fluff your feathers” sort-to-speak at every house you see (“Oh, this is the most BEAUTIFUL house. LOOK at that yard, yada yada).
At the top of my website here, you’ll see the Information about Brokerage Services Form–Make sure you read this. Every single Realtor/Real Estate Agent in Texas should be handing you this upon conversing about specific properties. It gives the duties of what a Buyer’s Agent (and Seller’s Agent-but we are talking buying here) can do and what you can expect when signing the Buyer’s Representation Agreement. Which leads me to….
The other thing to do is to make sure you’ve got a Buyer’s Representation Agreement signed with your chosen Realtor. This establishes the fiduciary relationship–meaning, full commitment to you as a their client.
Yay-a chart that explains what being a client (signing a Buyer’s Rep Agreement) means VS. being a customer in the Real Estate world.
2) Get together with your Realtor/Agent and make THE LIST
What I mean here, what are your “Must Haves”, “Nice to Haves”, and “Deal Breakers”?
How many bedrooms do you absolutely need to have to consider the house? How many bathrooms will you need so that the kids aren’t knocking each other or YOU over trying to get ready? Do you want move-in ready? A fixer-upper to add your own touch? Would it be nice if it already had granite counters in the kitchen and hardwood floors throughout? If a big yard with lots of grass to mow causes you to deflate-you’ll want to list that under ‘deal-breakers.’
Those are just a few of the things you’ll want to think about for your list of things you need/want/cannot have in your home. If you already have list, awesome–it’s nice to go over it with your Realtor and will help you gain some perspective on certain items on the list that can be changed to make your house hunt a little easier.
It’s important to keep in mind that you probably will NOT find a home with 100% of everything you want on your list–and comprising on smaller issues may be key. Remember, things like wall colors and outdated light fixtures can be changed fairly easily. If you are able to see past the smaller issues to hit all the ‘Must Haves’ on your list-you’ll be golden.
3) Check the Seller’s Disclosures and HOA regulations, if any
If you’ve begun to fall for a home-make sure you get your Seller’s Disclosure. This is a report by the home’s current owners’ , filled out to their current knowledge. It will let you know if they are aware of any roof leaks, plumbing issues, lead paint, roof type, wood rot, electrical issues, ect. ect.
For a great, thorough example of a Seller’s Disclosure Form–check out The Austin Board of Realtors’ version.
Also, if the home you’re crushing on is in an HOA (Home Owner’s Association), a great thing to do would be to check out their rules/regulations/restrictions. Some HOAs require dues, others require prior notice before making any change to the exterior of your home (doors, paint, landscaping), others don’t allow certain dog breeds and others restrict the amount of cars that can be in a driveway for a given amount of days.
HOAs can sound like a pain, but in the right community-they can be great. They can keep the community landscaped, may have security features, and can offer events for folks in the community to come together and meet–Ex: Neighborhood garage sales (love those), Movie nights in the community park, ect.
Okay, okay-Krissy, we are in love with a house-we can afford it, it meets 90% of “The List”, and the Seller’s Disclosure didn’t have us running for the hills flailing our arms…NOW WHAT?!
At this point, it’s time to make an offer, baby! Which is what we’ll discuss is Part III of the series 🙂 We’ll cover making an offer, the different outcomes of offers, and what happens after going “under contract.”
Have an excellent weekend, folks 🙂