We talked previously about the importance of getting things into the proper order when you begin your real estate search. If you’ll recall, I told you that you’re going to have to meet me at the office before we ever start looking for your new home. Once you get to the office, though, what can you expect? Let’s run through it.
First, we’ll need to just chat a bit about the concept of agency, and the different ways you and I can work together. Whatever we ultimately agree on, you need to understand that I will not work without a written, exclusive agreement. I hope you understand that. My time and expertise are what I have to sell. If I give it away without any compensation, it’s gone for no good. I can’t use it for my family, and I can’t use it for other clients. It’s just gone.
So after we’ve chatted about agency, and especially how it impacts your real estate search, we’ll chat some more and get to know each other a bit. I won’t be able to effectively help you if I have no idea what you’re all about, what you’re trying to accomplish, and why. I hope it doesn’t seem nosy, or that I’m trying desperately to become your new best friend forever, but I really do need to know what’s going on in your life if I’m to be an effective assistant in your real estate search.
The next major topic of discussion is going to be your financial situation. I know this is kind of touchy, so truthfully, I don’t really get involved in the deep particulars. Between us, we’ll only be talking about the big picture. Your secrets are safe with me, but I will insist that you talk with some lenders who can get into the details. At this point in the game, we only need to look at a prequalification to determine the upper price limit of your real estate search. We won’t need a pre-approval until your new home is chosen, and an offer is submitted, but it’s really helpful to get multiple “prequals” and see where you really stand.
Once we get to know each other a bit, and start to understand the big picture more completely, we can start digging into what you’re looking for in a new home. We’ll start with the basics, and build a list of your unique priorities. Everyone has priorities, and everyone’s are different. There’s no right or wrong to that question, but it’s important for you to let me know what your unique real estate search requirements are so that I can find your new home as efficiently as possible. It will serve us no good for me to be searching for large yards, for example, if you can’t stand yardwork.
Once we’ve sorted your needs, and set the priorities, we’ll start looking at the current listings. At any given point, there are literally thousands of available properties on the market. There’s no way we can look at all of them. In this hopping real estate market, the properties that best meet your requirements would be gone long before we ever got through the list.
When we start looking at the listings available, we’re going to start narrowing down the thousands of listings by applying your priorities, one-by-one, in order, until we have a list of absolutely no more than ten properties. Think about what we’ve done: by systematically setting priorities, and applying them to the current inventory, we’ve generated a list of the properties most suitable to your wants and needs. We’ve found a very efficient way to sort out all the undesirable properties and quickly get to what works for you.
Next, it’s time to set some showings. Don’t be surprised if some of the properties on the list are no longer available. Stuff is moving that fast.
Then, with prioritized list in hand, it’s time to take the next step in your real estate search, and start to actually look at homes. Ah, the moment you’ve been waiting for. With fewer than ten properties to look at, it will be a pretty quick task. Plan on spending about 20 minutes per house. I’ll have them routed out as efficiently as possible, so driving around will be minimized. The top one, two, or three will become quickly apparent in case a second look is needed to make a final decision and submitting an offer on one of them. I don’t ever recommend making multiple offers.
Remember, when you submit an offer, you’re asking the seller to pick you as the buyer, and what you put down on paper is what you want the final real estate contract to look like. It pays to take a bit of time to really understand the entire contract.
So there you have it. We’ve come all the way to the make-an-offer phase, but what happens if not a single one of the properties we looked at is acceptable? Do we move on to the next set of ten?
Remember, those ten properties were the ones that came to the top of the pile. They are the ones that most closely met your needs out of the current inventory. If not one of them is acceptable, then something’s wrong with the list, and looking at anything less than the best will just be a further waste of time. We need to go back to the beginning, see what’s wrong, and revise the priorities as necessary.
Eventually, we’ll get it, as long as you remember that the “perfect house” really doesn’t exist. All we can do is get as close to that ideal as possible.
So what’s next? Take your pick.
Yeah. You should probably do at least one of those things right now.