Are you buying a house in the Bay Area?
I have 8 essential tips for you!
Buying a house can be one of the most exciting adventures in your life and it can also be one of the most overwhelming if you try to do it alone. I will show you how to find a great Realtor, what questions to ask when interviewing agents, and how to get pre-approved.
As a buyer, it does not cost you anything to hire an agent. When the seller hires the listing agent to sell their home they are paying for the listing agent and the buyer agent’s fee.
In Part 1 of this series, we will go over the first three tips.
1. How to Find a Realtor
Here are some ways to quickly find a good Realtor to assist you with buying a house:
- If you have a good friend, co-worker, or family member you trust who recently bought a home or you can ask for their recommendation and what their experience was like with their agent.
- If you are already working with a lender you can ask for their recommendation.
- You meet agents at open houses, find someone you can connect with that has a similar or complimentary personality to yours and understands you.
Those are usually the best ways to find a Realtor.
2. Questions to Ask When Hiring a Realtor
It is important to thoroughly vet the agent that you are thinking of having represent you when buying a house. You are going to be working with this person for a significant chunk of time, not to mention for a significant event in your life. Here a few questions that are important to ask:
How many buyers do you work with at one time?
If they are working with 10 buyers, they have a team and you will be working with an assistant. There are just not enough hours in one day to work with so many buyers. You will not get the undivided attention and things can get missed during the process.
Are you full time or part time?
This is an important question because there are people out there who are doing Real Estate as a hobby or side job. How much time are they going to have available to show you properties or answer questions you have as they come up when they work an 8-5 job? Probably not much.
Do you have any recent reviews or testimonials?
Reviews are great sources of unbiased information. It’s important to know what it is really like personally working with the agent.
3. Getting Pre-Approved
Buying a house in the Bay Area is very competitive and fast paced and requires 24/7 service and availability. It is important to find a lender who is knowledgable, responsive, has the highest level of customer service, and can consistently manage and close transactions.
There are two ways you can get pre-approved:
- You can go to the bank you love working with.
- You can ask your agent for their recommendation on who would have good programs or the best service for you.
Agents will be happy to give you contact information for lenders. We do not receive any compensation for doing this but we want to make sure you are in good hands. We refer people to lenders we know, like, trust, and have worked with in the past, and are confident they will do a good job for you.
But why do you need to get pre-approved?
Sellers want to see you are pre-approved and don’t want to risk taking the house off the market not knowing if you can either get a loan or qualify for the house you’re purchasing. You are not likely to have your offer accepted if the seller cannot see proof of your ability to pay.
Pre-Approval also helps your figure out your budget for a mortgage. Agents need to know upfront what your budget is so we can look at buying a house in a range you can afford. Click here for a budget sheet that I’ve created to help you track your monthly expenses! Once you know how much you typically spend in a month on essentials, you can figure out how much you can afford to spend on a mortgage.
For your convenience, I’ve made a handy checklist to help you figure out exactly what documents you need to bring to your bank or lender to get pre-approved here.