The Star Team handles a lot of clients from both sides of the homebuying equation: sellers and buyers. We have previously talked about preparing your home for sale but there are a number of things buyers should do to prepare for their search and purchase that will increase their chances of success. Here are some things you should do in order to help us help you find your dream home.
- FIND A GREAT REAL ESTATE AGENT
With so many online tools, some buyers decide to go it alone in the search for a new home. We recommend, however, that you find an agent that is an expert in the market area and the real estate industry and with whom you feel comfortable. For one thing, having an agent working for you as a buyer costs you nothing! The seller pays all commissions on the sale. In addition to expertise in both the market and the purchasing process, Realtors have access to more tools than non-agents like the Multiple Listing Service. The Star Team has a great deal of expertise in the Vero Beach and surrounding market areas. We also understand not only the current market but also the underlying conditions that have produced it. And we dedicate ourselves to making sure our clients have a seamless and successful purchase.
- GET PRE-APPROVED
This may be the most important first step you can take in your journey to buy a new home. Some people think they will just wait until they are under contract to speak to a lender, but we always want our clients to have a pre-approval in hand prior to starting their search. The main reason is that it will tell you what kind of home you can afford. Looking at homes outside of your price range is not a good use of your valuable time. And with today’s still low rates, sometimes buyers can afford more than they guessed initially. Secondly, offers with an attached pre-approval are taken more seriously. In fact, many sellers won’t even consider an offer without either a lender pre-approval or proof of funds (in the case of a cash purchase). With low inventory and affordable interest rates, competition can be fierce to buy the best homes. Not having a pre-approval can put your offer at the bottom of the list.
- KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
Finding the perfect new home can be time-consuming. The Star Team can do much of the legwork and research for you but we can’t decide what you want in a home—only you can do that. Make a list of NEEDS and WANTS and prioritize them as best as possible: size of the home, location/neighborhood, appliances and other upgrades, pool, backyard, garage, finishes, and other factors. We can assist you in this process and then compare what you need and want to what is on the market. We can then narrow that list further by looking at the homes that best fit your list and your price requirements. That can make the process of looking much less overwhelming. If you are buying the home with your spouse or partner, check to see if you agree on your priorities. We can help craft your criteria so that it best meets what both of you want in a home.
- UNDERSTAND THE MARKET
The current market in Vero Beach and the greater Indian County area is a seller’s market. The inventory is low relative to equilibrium. Prices have increased from last year by approximately 10%. Loans are still very affordable. That does not mean, however, that we are in the frenzied bubble that preceded the housing crash a decade ago. We are simply in a continuing economic recovery and the inventory of new homes in this area has not yet caught up to the demand. In a seller’s market like this, it is important to understand how to be aggressive enough to get the home you want but not overpay for a home that won’t hold its value. We at The Star Team spend a lot of time analyzing the data for home sales in this area. Your Realtor should be able to tell you how many months of supply the market has and whether that is in the seller’s or buyer’s favor. Another way to get to know the market is by visiting open houses. Even if your agent isn’t available on a particular Sunday, drive around and see what’s out there. This is especially helpful if you are still working to refine your real estate wants and needs. We give our clients a stack of our business cards and encourage them to visit open houses in areas that interest them. Talk to your Realtor about the various neighborhoods. An expert in the area will be able to tell you whether a particular neighborhood has had any issues and is rising or falling in value and quality. Lastly, ask for comparables prior to making an offer. The Star Team always provides their clients with the recent sales history of similar homes to help our clients understand where the market will value the home they are considering. These comps are important and are a more reliable indicator of value that gut instinct, in most cases. You can be sure the seller is aware of the comps and will use them to evaluate the suitability of your offer.
- TAKE ACTION
When you are house shopping, you are competing against other potential buyers when it comes to buying the home you want. Being able to put a home under contract puts you in control of the process. At that point, even if they make a higher offer, no other buyer can take the home from you. The Star Team wants our buyers to have every advantage in their quest for a new home. We advise clients that, when they find a home they really like at the right price, quickly make a strong offer and get the home under contract. Make sure your contract has an adequate inspection period and use that time to answer any questions remaining that were not immediately resolved. If you decide during your inspection period that the home isn’t the perfect fit, you can generally cancel the contract and get your deposit back. Too many buyers hesitate to step up and make an offer thinking that perhaps the next home will be “better” and have missed out on buying a home and regret it later. A bolder approach is more likely to be successful while still protecting your long-term interests.
- HUMAN FACTORS
Sellers are people just like you. They have wants and needs and emotions. To position yourself as the best choice to have your offer accepted, it’s wise to keep this in mind. One area to consider this in is when you are making an offer. Everyone wants a deal. But dramatically low-balling an offer can offend a potential seller and cause them to view subsequent offers skeptically or even cut off negotiations altogether. One strategy The Star Team occasionally recommends is for the buyer to include a handwritten note to the seller to accompany the offer. Tell the seller what you love about the home. Give them some personal details. It helps you connect with that seller and can ease negotiations.
THE STAR TEAM wants our clients to get the homes of their dreams. Taking the above steps can make that dream a reality and make the entire process more seamless for you.
Contact The Star Team and we will help you get started on the right foot! 772.321.7644 or firstname.lastname@example.org