Buying a home is a big financial decision - whether it is your first home or you have done this before! Each year it seems like the process gets more and more complicated, so you want to make sure you have the right team in place to help you navigate the process!
But how do you decide who is going to be on your team? Of course, you need to have a Realtor to assist you with house hunting! And you will need a Lender that will make the loan you need to buy the house (unless you are paying cash for your home). Other members of your team include the inspection company, the appraiser, the attorney! But once you have made the decision to buy a house, the first people you really need to find the Realtor and Lender who will make it all happen for you!
So how do you find that right Realtor to help? After all, in the Richmond Virginia area alone there are probably close to 7,000 Realtors! How do you decide on who to use? You obviously are not going to be able to interview all 7,000 of us!!!
Many people start by asking friends & family who they used to help them with their home search! But does that always mean that the Realtor who was perfect for your friends and family is going to be the perfect Realtor for you? Maybe - maybe not! Other ways to find a Realtor include searching on various websites, driving through neighborhoods to see who has listings in those areas, visiting open houses & talking to the Realtors who are hosting the open houses to see how you like them! Maybe even looking at places like Google and Yelp to see who has great testimonials!
However you find the Realtor you want to work with, you then need to go about seeing if they are the right Realtor for you! How?
Of course, you want to interview them! Do you mesh well with them - feel comfortable with them? Do you trust them? How about any red flags - there is a fine line between educating & advising the buyers and being pushy & demanding! Are they vague about their experience? Do you feel they are being honest? Do they have your best interests at heart?
Get a feel for how they work! Each Realtor is like their own company, even if their license is affiliated with a local brokerage company! So each Realtor has a different way of working with buyers! Do they utilize technology? Do they know the local market and neighborhoods you are interested in? Do they listen to you? Do they ask questions? How comfortable are they with your communication preferences, such as text, email and phone?
Do they have referrals they can make to people like inspectors, etc! Once you are under contract, you need to have inspectors to inspect the house you will buying, an attorney or title company to do your closing, contractors to do repairs after closing for you and possibly others! Your Realtor should be able to refer you to people they have worked with for many years who are reputable and qualified!
Finally, find out how they are going to work for YOU! 2021 and 2020 were very unusual years in real estate - the number of houses were very low and the buyer demand was very high! Buyers were able to purchase homes in this market, but buyers had to get a bit creative to get that home! Find out how the Realtor was able to navigate the real estate market for their buyers! This will give you a good idea of just how they will work for YOU!
Next, after finding your Realtor, you want to also make sure you have a good Lender as part of your team! All banks can offer loans, but not all banks offer the same loans! Interest rates may be different, fees that the lenders may charge can vary greatly! Some tips to help find a good Lender to help you with your purchase ---
Ask for referral from your Realtor! They will know your particular situation and can refer you to a lender who will be the best qualified lender for your financial needs! You want to make sure that the lender has experience with situations like yours - are you a first time homebuyer? do you have a less than stellar credit? are you buying rural property? do you need renovation financing?
Ask for referral from friends & family! Remember to check out that they are able to do the best loan for your financial situation, which may be different from your friends & family's financial situation!
Choose a local lender! Local lenders have local knowledge, they have local underwriters, they will take the time to get to know you and your financial situation!
Finally, what are your first impressions of the lender! Do they call you back promptly? Do they explain things to you in a way you understand what they are talking about? Do they welcome your questions? Are they courteous and friendly? Do they have a secure website?
When looking for your trusted partners, you want to make sure that the people you end up working with are ones you are comfortable with and that you feel will be the ones to help you get into your next home! This will help the home buying process go as smoothly as it can!
If you are thinking of buying a home and have a question or want to talk, feel free to contact me! I am happy to help!