Start your 2014 home search on the right foot

This week we have a great article by Tara Nelson of Trulia entitled, 4 Home Buying Ducks to Get in a Row for 2014. Especially right now in the Silicon Valley real estate market, having a top team on your side when buying a home is not only a luxury but a necessity! Having the right team, especially the right Real Estate agent can make or break the deal. If you’re thinking about buying a home, start off on the right foot and contact The Dawn Thomas Team.

1. Get a vision- “The real estate market is a complex system of constantly evolving dynamics, information and realities. Going in with a clear vision for the outcome you want to create is essential to helping you stay moving in the right direction, especially given that you’ll need to be flexible and make some compromises throughout the process. Getting a vision for this will help you drill down into the more granular details of the specifications for a home that will successfully, sustainably serve as the backdrop for the life you’re trying to create, while allowing you to flex and flow with the realities of the real estate market.”

2. Put your team in place- “The agent and mortgage broker you select are two of the most important decisions you’ll make in the course of buying a home. The right agent can create a transcendent experience in which you not only buy a home, but are exposed to possibilities for your life you would otherwise never have even considered. A great agent can coach you, advise you, mediate disputes for you and execute on your action plan with you.

A great mortgage broker, similarly, can surface options and issues you would otherwise not have appreciated.

So, work now – way in advance – to get your team in place. Ask your friends and family members if they have an agent or broker they just loved, and when someone says “yes!” ask for an intro. Check out your list of agent suggestions online: check their reviews and profiles, review any answers or blog posts they’ve put up, follow them on Facebook to get a sense for their approach and personality flavor, and reach out to them via whatever communication medium you prefer (e.g., phone or email).

While you’re talking, look for a fit in terms of: the types of buyers they have served in the past, the types of recent successes they have had in representing buyers like you, the areas and property categories in which they have experience, and whether their approach to giving advice and education works well for you. It’s not overkill to check references, either, so ask your interviewees for a few recent references of buyers they have worked with.”

3. Credit check yourself before you wreck yourself- “Go to AnnualCreditReport.com (the government-mandated free credit report site) and pull your credit before you buy. This gives you a chance to review all 3 reports, flag any inaccuracies, dispute them and get them corrected way before your home loan weighs in the balance. It also gives you the opportunity to have your mortgage broker flag any issues that might make it difficult for you to get a loan, so you can work on them with ample time to correct the situation. That might mean paying down some bills, resolving any outstanding collections, making sure you don’t create any new bills and even, in some cases, establishing credit lines.

These sorts of findings are concerning no matter when you find them. But if you don’t find out about them until you’re already in love with a home, the 30 days it can take to resolve them can seem like an eternity – and can even be the deal-killer on allowing you to actually close on your dream home. The reality is that sometimes it can take much longer than that to resolve inaccuracies – and it will almost certainly take much longer than that to pay bills down and to execute on other line items on your mortgage pro’s action plan for you.”

4. Cash to Close- “Coming up with all the cash you need to close a home purchase simply takes time. And sometimes, it’s hard to know whether you’re truly ready to start your house hunt in earnest without knowing with some precision how much you’ll really need. You might be trying to save up 10% of your target purchase price, which is great, but that strategy overlooks the fact that you might also need to be stockpiling funds for additional fees and costs of closing the deal, like: inspections, appraisals, title insurance, escrow fees, mortgage closing costs and property transfer taxes, to name a few. When you pick your mortgage broker, work with them to get a better understanding of what your savings target should be for cash to close, given what sort of property you’re aiming to purchase and what you can afford to spend on it, from a purchase price perspective.”

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