Upcoming free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Education Classes
Saturday, June 27, from 9am-12pm
**please note time change because of the client appreciation event**
Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave
Saturday July 11th , from 9am-12pm
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
Tuesday night, July 14 , from 5pm-8pm
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
….we also have home seller classes available too.
…if these dates/times don’t work for you, we have others. Check out the website for more class dates, times, and locations. PLEASE always check the web site www.learningtobuyahome.com ; for any changes regarding the classes!
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner! 😀
I know, I know….but I have to keep reminding you! 😀 We have our semi-annual Client Appreciation Night coming up.
🙂 Chris Berg (firstname.lastname@example.org & 503-320-0925) and I would like to invite you, your family & friends to come watch a movie with us! Saturday, June 27th from 3pm-6pm for the new Pixar movie, Inside Out.
Just let me or Chris Berg know how many tickets you will need. 😀
That being said, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads (and single moms) out there! I am very grateful for my husband and father of my children. He is my partner in every aspect of our life together, and is amazing!
So, I originally typed this up a couple of weeks ago, but didn’t send it out. Why? Because I was having a frustrating week, and I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t me being frustrated when I sent this out. Sometimes we all have those days/times where it seems we are talking to brick walls, and that no one wants to hear what we have to say…because what we say isn’t what they want to hear. I am usually a pretty positive person, and I am old enough to know that things like this…and moods…blow over….and to ALWAYS wait to talk to folks until it does blow over. 🙂
All jobs, and careers, have ups and downs, and things that we wish we could tell people, but don’t want to…or can’t. Many of us are in customer service related industries, or in careers that relate to the public…or even just people…and we all know that sometimes you just want to bang your head on the wall….repeatedly! LOL…it’s ok, I think we are all there occasionally… So, I will give you a (hug) right now, and apologize to you, if I am the one that makes you shake your head in your industry!
So, what makes a real estate agent do some yoga breathing?
Things to do, or not to do when buying a home…
#1… Please get pre-approved before looking for a home. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a home that you can not afford.
#2… Do NOT look at homes above your price range, or above the price range you want to spend. We are in a sellers market. In a buyers market there are more homes for sale than there are buyers….in a sellers market there are more buyers than there are homes.
Look at homes in the price range you are approved for, or for what you want to spend because if you fall in love with a home that is more than you want to spend then you will look for ways to justify that expense…we all do it….so don’t! 🙂 If you are looking at homes higher than what you can spend, and you fall in love with one of them, and the sellers won’t come down to your pre-approved limit…then that home will be the one that got away, and you will always be comparing all other homes to that one…and that makes finding your home tough…so don’t!
#3… An agents job is to advise, help, and assist. We can not tell a buyer and/or seller what to do, how much to price their home for, or what to offer…we can only advise. The final decision is always the buyer or sellers. Sometimes buyers want to put together a lowball offer, and then get upset when the sellers counter back at, or close to, the listing price. Sometimes sellers get frustrated when they don’t have any showings, but don’t want to lower their purchase price to encourage buyers to come see their home. For buyers, this is their offer…for the home they want. For sellers, this is their home. For both the buyer and seller, this is their dreams….and ultimately for both the buyers & sellers, it is about PRICE… Agents try to understand this and help our clients accordingly. For both the buyers and the sellers, one of our jobs is to help educate our clients about the market… and buyers and sellers. However…no one said you have to listen… 🙂
#4… Please use a local lender! Every market is different, and a local lender will be able to help you understand what will finance, or not finance in your area.
#5… Please pay your bills! It’s crazy that we have to remind people about this…
#6… Please don’t lie to your lender…. Yes, they will find out…they always do!
#7… Please don’t think that buying a home is like what you see on HGTV…it really isn’t!
#8… Please keep up with the current market trends. This is not 5 years ago, 10 years ago, or 3 years ago. The market is consistently changing and sellers need to keep ahead of it, and buyers need to keep up with it. Again, your agents job is to advise, help, and assist. Take advantage of your agents knowledge and experience. Talk with your family and friends…they love you, care for you, and want to make sure you are going to be ok…but please…remember that they may not be up to date on current laws and trends in real estate, and your agent is.
#9… Hire a real estate agent that you can trust, and have fun with. Buying a home, and selling a home, is stressful and a lot like riding a roller coaster…only not always as fun. A good agent and lender can help alleviate a lot of the stress, but no…not all. Buying a home is scary…it is the largest purchase you will ever make, and it is ok to be freaked out! When you hire a real estate agent though…know what you are getting into with him/her. Ask questions…when are they available? how do they prefer contact? how long have they been in business? how many homes do they sell per year (anything under 15 is a part time agent pretty much). how often do they work with sellers? buyers? Are they going to insist on a buyers agency agreement (see email/blog from a couple of weeks ago)? Some things you will just find by being with this agent… you don’t want a ‘yes’ wo/man…you want someone who will tell it to you straight…whether you like it or not!
#10… Hire an inspector! Preferably one with excellent reviews, and not because of price! This is the largest purchase you will ever make…don’t hire cheaply, hire by referrals, and ability.
#11… Don’t trust the sellers disclosures as 99% of sellers don’t know anything about their home. This is what a good inspector is for.
#12… Don’t start packing until after the appraisal. The appraisal is typically the last big hurdle in a home buying adventure. Once the appraisal is in, and approved, you should have clear sailing to closing (as long as your lender did their job).
#13… Remember that you are buying your home…not just an investment. Purchase a home in a neighborhood you want to live in, and that you feel safe in. You aren’t just buying the house…you are buying the neighborhood, and the neighbors too. If you love the home, but not the neighborhood…don’t buy it. If you love the neighborhood, but not the home…don’t buy it. Buying a home is always a compromise somewhere, so know what your top THREE things you need in a home are, and concentrate on those.
#14… Tying into #13, plan for the long term, not the short term. It costs a seller 13% to sell their home. The average homeowner lives in their home for 5-10 years..I always tell my clients to plan to be in the home for 7 years. Can you imagine living in that home for 7 years?
#15…Tying in #13, know what you want when buying a home! What are your top 3 things you want in your home? Is that in your price range? If it is, then let’s focus on that…let’s find the home you want. If what you want is outside of your price range then you are going to have to reevaluate either what you want in a home, or your price range. I know that it is fun looking at homes and that, for some people, they want to see everything because it is interesting and fun, but what are you missing because you are worried that you will miss something? We all want the best home for the best price, but there does need to be reasonable expectations. So..what do you want in a home? Let’s find it!
#16… Please don’t purchase furniture or appliances before you are given keys to your home! This could cause you to lose your home loan, and your home. The furniture or appliances isn’t worth your home… Don’t make ANY purchases in the home buying process without talking with your lender!
#17… Don’t look for the worst house in a great neighborhood with plans to re-do it and ‘flip’ it a la HGTV. 85% of homes that went into short sale, or that were foreclosed on were homes that someone had plans to fix up and flip. If you have two homes to buy…one is pretty much move in ready, and one needs a lot of work…buy the move in ready every home. Why? Because you work…and because projects take twice as much time and money as you think. Because there are material costs, and then there is your time…and do you want to work another 40+ hours a week on your home on stuff that HAS to be done after you work 40+ hours a week at your job. Now…we all enjoy house projects that make the home ‘ours’…things that we can do here and there…and that is different that trying to redo the entire home. In the long run, that almost move in ready home will cost you less than the cheaper one that needs a bunch of work.
#18… Tying into #15, we are a coupon society. We all want the best deal we can get. Everyone has champagne desires, but a boxed wine budget…and wants the most for the least amount of money. Agents get that… Please be reasonable in what you want in a home. What is your price range? I can not get you the Taj Mahal for the price of a mobile home…it doesn’t work that way as I do not have a magic wand, and I ran out of fairy dust. Frequently we hear from folks who want acreage, 3-5 bedrooms, 2+ bathrooms, homes in excellent condition…preferably newer, and at least 2000 sq ft…..Oh…and don’t want their mortgage payments to be above $1000 a month. Now, don’t get me wrong…there are homes that fit that description, but they are not here! Maybe Kansas?
If you are pre-approved for a certain dollar amount then we will look at homes in your price range. Please remember that this is your FIRST home, but not your last home. You most likely won’t be buying a home exactly like your parents home your first time around…
#19… Short sales are not short time-wise…and they are a gamble! If you are thinking about a short sale you will need three things: Money (cash in the bank because you are going to need it), no worries about rising interest rates, and LOTS of time. Please see the email blog from a couple of weeks ago for more information about this.
#20… Your interest rate can not be locked in until you have a signed around, and mutually agreed upon, purchase/sale agreement with the person with the legal authority to sell the home. An interest rate lock is good for 30 days, and most loans are going to take 30+ days to close. Most lenders will not lock in an interest rate until the appraisal comes back in at the agreed upon purchase sale price, or more.
#21… Please attend your home inspection, and please confirm that your buyers agent will be there as well. As your agent is there to assist, help, and advise…they can’t do that realistically unless they are with you for the important things.
#22… PLEASE ask questions! Not sure about something? Don’t understand? Ask questions! There is a saying (can’t remember by whom) that says that, “if you can’t explain something simply then you don’t really understand it”. That makes sense to me…
#23… ALWAYS have your own agent! In the state of Washington dual agency is not illegal, but remember that as a buyer, or as a seller, you are hiring an agent to represent you, and your best interests….not to represent the other side too! It is only my opinion that dual agency doesn’t really represent any party…except maybe the agent themselves….again…that is only my opinion. Each party to the transaction should always have their own representation…
#24… Never work with more than one agent at a time. Sometimes people want to ‘increase’ their chances and think that working with more than one agent at a time will help them…in fact…this will do the opposite. I am not saying you should sign a paper to work exclusively with one agent, and in fact, I don’t agree with those forms because they can hurt the buyer. I fully believe that good customer service builds excellent customer loyalty, but please remember that an agent does not get paid unless the client gets (or gives) keys….we will work tirelessly to help you find (or sell) your home….we can do wonderful things, but only together. Don’t lie to your agent…we always find out, and I know that, personally, if I find that a client is working with another agent, I will call the other agent, and let them know. I will also call the client, and wish them the best of luck in their home buying adventure. As many agents do, I will do everything I can find to help a client buy the ‘perfect’ home, or sell their home….and I expect my clients do help me and respect our relationship. If that relationship no longer works for either party, then let’s move on amicably…because we all know how to play nice in the sandbox. 🙂
#25… Last, but not least… ALWAYS get some home buyer education before you embark on your home buying adventure. Classes are always free, and always non-promotional! We try to be helpful with this weekly email/blog, but really, the classes cover the entire loan process, all the loans, good faith estimates, and the entire real estate process…including going over all the pages of the offer. We want to make sure you are well informed when you step out there into the home buying world.
….When I am working with a buyer, I have a couple of rules… One, I insist that my buyers are at their home inspection. This is your home and you need to know what you are buying. Two, I won’t sell a home that I won’t personally live in. I want to make sure that all my clients are in good homes, and in safe neighborhoods. As always, these emails/blogs are to help you in the complicated and scary world of real estate, and by no means are meant to be promotional….however, I do hope that if you are thinking about buying a home that you will call me as I would love to help you with your home buying adventure. 🙂
One last thing you need to remember is that a real estate agent is not a sales person. It is not our job to ‘sell’ you anything. We are assistants, advisers , guidance, and help. You should not feel as if your agent is trying to sell you a home, or anything else, our job should be to help you in getting the home you want. This being said remember that you do not get T-Bone steaks for the price of hamburger…Look ONLY at homes within your budget. ALWAYS ask questions, and expect answers without a lot of lingo. I was always told that if you can’t explain something in a way that the other person can understand clearly, it is because you don’t understand it yourself. 🙂
Information is power, and I hope that I am able to help you. Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there…. If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.
As always….this is just a quick overview…. please remember that your agent, and your lender work for YOU. You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals. Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your homebuying adventure. The goal is to be informative and non-promotional. 🙂 We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.
If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard…or if you would like me to help you with your homebuying adventure, please call, email, text, or facebook me anytime. I am, as always, happy to help!
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!! …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers.
. ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…
Next Week: Mortgage vs Rent…How does that work?
Last Week: Credit 101, Part 2, (15 things that hurt your credit)
Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,