So Enough About Me - Now's the Time for YOU!
So incase you haven't realized yet - I'm pretty much in love with what I do. The reason for this love is really YOU!
In my job I wear a lot of different hats -I'm essentially an uber driver, master of negotiations, part time therapist - but the two main hats I get to wear that are my favorite is being a sellers agent and buyers agent - AKA your partner in buying and selling a home!
While both of these bring with them different challenges and paths we work thru together - I could never pick a favorite.
You see - I am 28 years old. Holy Goodness I disclosed my age!
But really - think about this - at my age a lot of my friends and family are starting to maybe think about future plans - new jobs, graduations, families, engagements, marriage, kids - so much excitement and one of the biggest milestones mixed in with all of those other life adventures is (yep you guessed it) Buying a home!
To be completely frank I truly believe I am so lucky because I do work with a lot of first time buyers and it is such an amazing piece of your lives I get to be part of, but since this is such a monumental time - I want to try and help prepare you as much as possible. So in my due diligence - I copied information! ;) Haha
Honestly though - the following piece is importance and I'll tell you why once you scroll down!I
Source: National Association of Realtors
By The New York Times
Let me tell you this - there is not one right answer for everyone!
You actually read all that right?
LIAR : )
Thats OK -Just in case you didn't - let me sum it up - YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Yep that is basically what this article is stating.
Sooooo many people ask me - "Caitlin when is the right time to buy? How much do I put down? How do I find a home? Can I buy a home?!" so let me start by telling you this - There is not one right answer for everyone!
Since there isn't a right answer that fits the mold for everyone - I want to just give you some tips and advice to help give you a good starting point and then you can be that much more prepared when the time is right!
So First Off:
*Your Agent needs to essentially be your best friend during this process (and if I'm lucky I get to continue that friendship!).
Yep. I am are here for the long run and want to know everything! Just think about it like this; You are buying (more than likely) the biggest investment of your life - do you want to just work with someone because you know them?
Would you trust me giving you advice on what car to buy just because I'm your friend?
*Disclaimer: I have zero clue about cars.*
So I hope not!
As flattered as I would be - you need to work with someone you trust, who will do their best to help navigate and explain everything along the way, fight for you and educate you, but most importantly who will help find your "Home Sweet Home!"
The biggest regret I hear from clients who have worked with other agents before me is that they felt like they settled and were too nervous to tell the agent, and/or find someone new to work with.
YOU GUYS - THIS IS A BIG DEAL!
NEVER SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS THAN AWESOME!
My suggestion - meet with a few agents! Talk to friends and family who recently bought, and ask about their experiences and thoughts on their agent- every agent brings their own personality and spin to the table - find the one that you feel best about! Literally there are thousands of us (scary I know) - so keep looking till you find the perfect fit for you!
Buying a home is a team approach!
Work with an agent who has 1) Good connections, 2) Strong Partnerships, and 3) Reliable Resources
*This part is pretty straight forward*
"I have a realtor and some good resources: Now What?!"
So you made it - You found your perfect agent - now comes the fun part...
I will literally tell everyone this - with technology the way it is and as accessible as it is - to be completely honest I won't find your dream home - YOU WILL!
I bet you're asking yourself "why on earth do we hire you if we find our own home?" Sounds crazy right?
As hard as I will work to get to know your likes/dislikes, watch the market, and everything in between to help find your home - who knows you better than you know yourself? Technology is amazing folks. With all the crazy and amazing apps out there, HD pictures, virtual walk thru's, better descriptions and details posted - you have all the information at your fingertips!
Trust me I get it - if you read my prior post you know that my husband and I saw an open house online and bought the home later that night. I totally get it and know how it works - you are either bored during your lunch break at work, laying in bed at night, or just chillin' on the couch watching Stranger Things on Netflix, and before you know it - you're 39 houses deep on your phone looking at every single place ever listed in a 13 mile radius. Even though you just refreshed 20 minutes ago - you want to make sure you don't miss a new one! It's addicting.
How do I compete with technology at your fingertips?
The answer is simple - I don't.
I just become an additional resource! in this crazy changing market - I make the best of the resources at hand and do everything else in my power to help not just find your home - but to GET you your dream home!
A nice piece of advice - figure out your ABSOLUTE wants and needs, and then do a pro/con list of what you would like to have and what you're willing to forego if needed. Do you absolutely need a huge kitchen because you're an awesome chef? Do you have a pup that needs a fenced in yard (or potential for one)? Do you own 6 cars and need a massive garage?
Once you give yourself a better idea of necessity items, i.e. # of bedrooms/bath, garage style, specific style of home, etc - it also helps me hone in our search together!
We watch the market together and work together and at the end of the day; I like to believe a strong agent isn't one just sending you homes - but an agent who listens to your wants, has open communication, educates you thru out the purchase, and has strength in negotiation.
Learn to adjust yourself to the conditions you have to endure, but make a point of trying to alter or correct conditions so that they are most favorable to you. --William Frederick Book
There is one last major question you are probably asking before you begin your house shopping adventure:
Do I need to be pre-approved before I begin looking at homes?
The answer to that question will vary between every agent, but the round about answer is this: It is a very useful tool and ideal to have (especially in a crazy hot market), and should definitely be discussed with your agent and lending partners when you begin your home search.
There have been multiple scenarios I find myself in where the home is listed the same day it sells, and even if there are two identical offers on the table - one with a pre-approval from a lender will more than likely be the stand out. Sellers can have a difficult time "trusting our word" if we write an offer with no proof we can actually purchase the property.
Without a pre-approval it can be hard for us to also find you the perfect home only because we may be searching outside of our parameters - or on the flip side - what if you can afford more to get you that perfect place?!
Buying a home has a lot of moving pieces so I like to think that the best way to look at a pre-approval is it is one less thing to worry about when you are ready to write an offer!
*I'll have another blog that dives more into this topic from a lending perspective*
So here you have it - a couple pieces of advice to get you started in your home buying journey!
There will always be more questions but hopefully some upcoming posts will continue to help in your journey!
And as always - Thank you for Reading!
So before I get started let me just begin this blog by giving you a snippet of my life - I literally just got up, spilled a sugary drink all over a blanket and my floor, proceeded to put blanket in the washer; where i then kept hearing a loud thud only to realize my phone was in the blanket. Yep so welcome to a day in the life of Caitlin - where the ridiculous happens on a regular basis!
**as a side note my phone is somehow miraculously OK as well as squeaky clean now!**
But let's continue - you made it this far! Hooray!
These next two blogs are for all you buyers out there! New, Old, first-time, and everything in between!
So a little bit of background into my past - I bought my first house with my husband about six years ago to the date. Now just keep in mind at this point I was NOT a realtor and knew nothing about buying a house. My husband and I are kind of a crazy story because we didn't do any homework, didn't see any homes prior, we were shopping during a snow storm in January, had no real estate agent representing us, we were not pre approved and I had zero clue if I could even buy a home. But hey we were bored on a Sunday and went to an open house in Tosa.
So we pull up to this home and I'm looking at Ryan and I said "I don't want to waste my time - this home cannot be what the pictures made it look like. It's freezing out. There's other people here. It looks too small. Do we talk to this agent?" As the questions kept coming he turned the car off and forced me to get out. Well thank goodness he gave me the push I needed because when we walked in our home - I knew within a few steps it was meant for us.
"I had zero clue if I could even buy a home!"
So at this point I already knew I wanted this home - but I guess I should see more of the home than just front entrance. We continued to walk around and were greeted by a wonderful and super sweet real estate agent who asked us if we had questions and to sign in to a book.
-As a side note this is a completely normal and very common real estate practice to sign in at open houses. Many of the reasons for this book is for the safety of us agents - to know who is coming and going - and to share this information with the sellers as to who and how many people joined us on the open house. This is in fact also a great tool for agents to meet new clients who are not represented currently and hopeful to turn them into personal clients of their own. BUT if you are are currently represented please let us agents know that too! We won't be mad (I promise) and we aren't here to try and stalk you - but mainly here to make sure you get the most out of your experience in buying a new home!-
So we signed in not knowing any better and left the home, and we drove off to lunch and just sat. We both looked at each other not really knowing what to say - its too good to be true, right? We find the perfect home in a matter of luck?! What if there is something better? What if we didn't do our homework? but most importantly - What do we do now?!
Ryan and I left lunch and decided to call my dad who goes - "how can you buy a house?!" The same questions we were asking ourselves but we were very lucky he put us in touch with an amazing agent, Steve Bauman, who goes - "Meet me back at the house in two hours. Bring your parents. Reach out to this lender in the meantime and get them the information they ask for. If you want this house - I will make it happen." I have this forever engrained in my brain.
Now this part of my story is crucial - ALWAYS be represented by an agent you feel comfortable with - ALWAYS work with someone who will do their best to fight for you to get the home of your dreams, and NEVER feel like you are doing something wrong in reaching out to us - our job is to be there for you and to get you your dream home!
I personally am a firm believer in only representing one side of a transaction and will never work both sides or as some people call it - double dipping - unless everyone is 110% comfortable with the situation. I firmly think you need personal representation to make sure you are taken care of. If you do ever need to view a property ASAP- PLEASE STILL CALL YOUR AGENT FIRST! Even if your agent can't make it, we will do our best to find someone who can, or ask the listing representative to help show you the home in our place.
"What if there is something better? What if we didn't do our homework? What do we do now?!"
We ended up viewing the home with my parents and Steve and were all in agreement we are going to make this happen! We had spoken with the lender and found out thru our agent its always best to submit an offer with a pre approval letter from a bank - especially in a competitive market. The lender was great in telling us everything they needed from us (Future blog post!) and we got them all of it as soon as possible all while our agent got to work on writing an offer.
This is when Ryan and I, in the whirlwind of the day, look at each other and say -
"Holy Goodness - We might be buying a house today!"
So we did it! We wrote an offer. We went thru all the details with Steve, and within 12 hours we became (almost!) home owners!
Now don't get me wrong, there is still a lot to go thru after an accepted offer- inspection, amendments, appraisals, financing, final walk thru, any issues that need to be addressed, and then finally - CLOSING DAY!
"Holy Goodness - We Might Be Buying a House Today!"
Now you might be sitting there asking why I wrote this post and why its two parts.
Reason being is I wanted to start with our personal experience in buying for Part One. A lot of clients don't realize that I was just like a lot of you - wasn't pre approved, had no representation, had no clue what I wanted, and had no clue what next steps included once we found our home.
I think its really nice to hear personal stories to know you are NOT ALONE and that I once was in your shoes! Shoot - when we bought our first home all I thought about was how i was going to lay it out, decorate and future projects - I didn't understand how important looking at the condition of the windows, roof, floors, basement, mechanicals and the importance (and cost) of the big picture.
But that is what we are here for - to help you see the bigger picture and to make sure you get the perfect home for YOU!
So follow me on my next post of "Buyers - Part two!" to learn more about do's and don'ts as a buyer and how to find your perfect agent!