August is traditionally a slower month for real estate in our area. Many are taking advantage of the last chance to vacation and enjoy our region's splendor. Families have either found their new home or are putting the search on hold for now, as they ready themselves for the new school year. This market shift can present an opportunity for those looking to purchase, as there may be less competition.
Here are the steps we recommend to ensure that you are positioned correctly when you find that gotta-have-it property.
Most buyers that successfully get their contract accepted are the ones that have already done work to ensure they are in the best position to make their offer stand out from the rest.
As your buyer's representative, I can help make your online or in-person search for the right property more timely and efficient. Once we've narrowed down the approach that works best for you, we'll review comparable sales and market activity to determine the best way to submit an offer that has the best chance of acceptance by a seller. In Montana, the seller pays agents on all sides of the transaction for their work, so working with an agent comes at no cost to you, the buyer.
Here are the steps we'll take:
1. Pre-qualification for a loan.
This is different from getting pre-qualified. To be pre-approved means a lender has pulled your credit report, taken a full application from you and had conversations about your income, debt and other issues that might affect what you can afford. This is usually required once you have an accepted Buy Sell Agreement and are under contract to purchase.
Many buyers shy away from this very important step, or don't take it until AFTER they've found a property. This can often mean the difference between getting a property or losing it to a buyer that is better prepared.
The lender has everyone's best interests in mind--yours as well as the bank they represent. The goal is to ensure you can afford the homes you are viewing, and that the bank can minimize their risk. We are all a team in this together.
Sometimes there are snags in this part of the process, and the lender can work with you to establish a plan of attack to remedy any items that may cause a problem down the road. This also helps avoid making an offer on a property, and sadly, having to walk away from the deal due to problems that crop up during the underwriting stage that could have been avoided.
A good agent can provide you with several trusted lenders they have worked with, and will also be part of the communications with your lender so that they are showing you the right houses that meet your goals and budget.
Need referrals? I can provide you with the right people to work with, just contact me to get the ball rolling.
2. Get Educated.
This means much more that simply knowing what homes in a particular neighborhood are going for, or choosing a school district boundary area to live in. If you are a first-time buyer, many steps in the process will be new and unfamiliar. Working with an agent that is familiar with the different options available to you, as well as someone that can read between the lines when determining what homes to look at is invaluable. This experience can save you time, money and headaches. The more you know, the less stressful the process will be.
3. Understanding the Costs
This is where your agent and lender will work together to provide you with estimates of what it will cost to purchase a property. Depending on your type of financing, loan package you use and other items such as HOA (homeowner's assocation fees), property taxes and other items that vary with each property, you'll have a clear idea of what you will be paying for the home you choose BEFORE you write the offer.
4. Putting Together An Offer That Will Close!
You've finally found the property you want to purchase! Together we'll review comparatives (homes that have recently sold in the area) to determine the best way to present your offer. Writing an offer includes more than just what you are willing to pay -- putting together a strong offer, one that is difficult for a seller to refuse -- can include many other pieces. Details such as closing date, inspections, and other contingencies will be reviewed to put you in the strongest position possible so they will accept your offer over another.
5. Under contract, now what?
Once both the buyer(you) and the seller agree on contract terms, the next piece of the process begins moving forward. This is the heavy lifting part for the agents. The paperwork is shared with my transaction coordinator who tracks deadlines, coordinates with parties involved and assists both me and you to ensure things move forward smoothly. We'll provide you with a timeline as well as information on what to expect as we move towards closing.
For the visual types out there, here's an infographic of what we just covered:
Contact us for a free download of your copy of the 2017 Home Buyer's Guide for Montana below to help you set your goals for buying this year.
Interested in investing in real estate? Visit our page on using your IRA or 401(k) to fund real estate purchases here.
We specialize in buyers searching in Southwest Montana. Looking elsewhere? Get in touch with us and we'll refer you to a great agent in our network.
Information provided by Gallatin Association of REALTORS/Big Sky Country MLS.