Buyer Tips

There are literally hundreds of decisions you will make in the home buying process. Some of them are little, some are big. The big ones will quite literally determine where and how you live. That’s big. Below you will find both a little insight into the preparation for and the implementation of the home buying process.

Understand your finances: Take some time over a few months to discern where your money comes from and where it goes. The lender’s willingness to loan money should not be what determines your target price range. Your comfort in re-paying the loan is far more important. Understanding your finances and taking a long hard look at your spending practices will be a boon not only as you enter the home buying process but in all you do. Being honest about your spending and situation could lead to efficiencies and more money available for saving, investing, and a new home.

Get pre-approved for a loan: You might start with your local bank. Forging a relationship with a local bank can be a great help. Often, carrying a mortgage as well as checking and savings accounts at the same bank can lead to offers of discounts and other benefits. Do shop around, but your home bank may be a good place to start. This process will determine if you are ready financially to take the leap, it will also uncover your banks personality and style.  You will want to be as comfortable working with themas the agent you choose.

Find a good agent: This is where I talk about the importance of finding someone you will work well with, someone that listens, understands your goals and has the experience to help you around hurdles and other limitations  and achieve them.  Meeting with a few agents or asking friends and relatives for a reference won’t hurt.  In fact t will make you more comfortable moving forward after having made a decision.  I have satisfied clients in just about every corner of Madison and the surrounding communities.  In a town as small as Madison, chances are you may know one of them. Most any one of them could be available as a reference.   Here are a few already in the can.

Below is a snap shot of my work until now.  A wider view shows homes sold from Sauk City  to Cottage Grove. You will also notice a concentration on Madison’s near east side and isthmus.  This is where I live and do most of my work.  That being said, you will also see evidence of satisfied buyers  and sellers in Monona, Fitchburg, Verona, Prairie du Sac, Oregon, you get the idea.
View Sold in a larger map

Once you make your choice, here are some ways to better your chances:

Try to learn about the seller, their position and situation.  Price is not always the determining factor, occupancy, a closing date or lack of contingencies may be the difference between an accepted offer and the dreaded counter.

Earnest money:  Have it on hand. One percent or more is customary and shows your ability / willingness to make good on your contract.

Minimize or eliminate contingencies:  Address the issues that are important to you but do not add frivolous or unnecessary contingencies or concessions unless you feel you need them for negotiating purposes.  The fewer contingencies, the stronger the offer. Put yourself in their shoes.

Prepare a brief buyer profile with your agent:  Including some warm fuzzies in your offer wont hurt, and it’s worth the time if it helps. Things like reasons you want the house and other aspects of your move that may be complimentary to the buyer could help you stand apart.

The inspection.  You’ll want one, for some homes it may even include well, septic, radon and other environmental concerns. This is another area in which I become a handy resource. Not only did I complete the required education for home inspection but I have solved many of the problems we are likely to find.  What really matters, which problems are minor and which will be trouble.  Chances are I have worked through them before.

Keeping in touch and on time. After the accepted offer and a completed inspection all you need do is do what you said you would.  It’s that simple.  Keep a list of your deadlines and complete the tasks before they arrive.  Earnest money, inspections, commitment letters.  If you keep on track you’ll complete the sale and be moving in in no time.