I know the title is a bit crude, but wouldn’t you want to know whether or not your realtor was messing around with you? If you are a first-time home buyer, it can be difficult to navigate these treacherous waters – there are tons of mortgage lenders, banks, loan officers, real estate agents and appraisers out there all vying for your attention and trying to get their hands on your wallet. So what are the first steps in buying a home and, more importantly, how can you tell if your realtor is messing with you or has your best interests at heart?
I had the opportunity to sit down with Brian and Christina from the Jackson Home Team and not only are they incredibly knowledgeable, but they also helped me understand this whole process better. After speaking with them and getting to know their modus operandi, I got to understand how incredibly amazing or awful the experience of home-buying can be, further enlightening me on my own personal past experiences with realtors. No one likes getting screwed. Due diligence, people….due diligence!
This is part one of a two- maybe four- part series. Forgive me, I am indecisive and planning isn’t my forte. I DO guarantee you at least two parts – this particular article is about what first time home buyers need to know when buying a home in Springfield, Mo. The second is tell-tale signs your realtor is effing you. You can thank me later.
What You Need to Know When Buying a Home in Springfield, MO
- Find a good lender, or talk to a seasoned agent who can refer a good lender.
Getting pre-approved for a loan will help you identify what your budget is. Beware though! Just because an individual or organization advertises doesn’t necessarily make them a good lender.
In fact, you can get really GREAT loan rates from local credit unions, local banks (as opposed to national banks) or independent mortgage companies. I don’t want to pick sides, but I referred my sister to a friend at Gershman Mortgage who offered her a rate 1.5% lower than three other places she was talking to. My good friend Clifford gave her that first-time home buyer glow that many hope to have after nailing down their dream crib.
- Find a good realtor! If you haven’t found a realtor already, be sure to take the time to find one. If you are buying a house and happen to drive by one that looks particularly pleasing, DO NOT CALL THE NAME ON THE SIGN! The reason being isn’t because the realtor on the sign is a bad or evil person – it means they have the seller’s best interests at heart. Getting your own realtor means hiring someone who is in your corner – someone who knows the ins and outs of the home-buying process, makes your life easier and has your interests at heart. And yes, I am a little biased.
I highly recommend finding someone who knows the Springfield market like the back of their hand and who has been around for a while. I loved looking at houses with Brian and Christina because they were walking around the house scrutinizing them with me! They pointed out water leaks, faulty foundations and cracks in the walls that I had missed. It became clear to me from the first moment we started working together that they wanted me to pick a home I would be happy in – it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It wasn’t about the sale – it was about my happiness. Ooh! That’s an awesome tagline, “Real Happiness. Real Estate.” Boom! Or how about, “Real Experience. Real Estate.” Ho my goodness, how’s about all three? “Real Happiness. Real Experience. Real Estate.”
- Come prepared!
Take your time and figure out exactly what you want before you run a hard-working realtor halfway across the U.S. and Canada looking for the best deal. It will help you and your realtor not only narrow down your search, but help you find that dream home or even commercial property you’ve been looking for.
What is your budget?
Are you looking for a fixer upper?
Are you looking for a fixer upper?
Are you looking for something you can move into right away?
What are things you MUST have in your home (three bedrooms, at least two bathrooms, a basement, a large backyard, a back porch, new heating and cooling units etc).
What location did you have in mind?
How long are you looking to live in this place – or – are you looking to live here at all?
It may also be good to look at the different loan options available – ask your lender to go over which loans are optimal for your particular situation. Keep in mind certain homes will work with certain loans. There are FHA loans, USDA loans and VA home loans to name a few…. Call Clifford – I am just a writer.
In short, there are new real estate agents joining the scene all the time, and in my experience, nothing trumps experience! There is that age-old adage – “Good judgment comes from experience. And experience comes from bad judgment.” If you get yourself a seasoned real estate agent, they have been through the ringer a few times – they’ve lived and learned. It diminishes your likelihood of going through a learning curve with your realtor.
They say mastery in a given field takes around 10,000 hours of experience. Working 40 hours a week (I’ve never met a good entrepreneur who limits themselves to a mere 40 hours a week), without taking any holidays or vacation time (or sick days for that matter) will take a person five years to master the real estate profession in a given area.
Tune in later this week when we debut part two of this uh-mazing series.