1. Calm your credit report. Don't take out a new loan, or buy a car, or do anything that is going to impact your credit report in a negative way. Lenders want to see a stable credit history, especially over recent months. Also, don't do a lot of balance transfers or moving of money from one account to another. Your lender is going to have to document the paper trail of any out of the ordinary deposit into your accounts.
2. Choose your real estate agent. No question about it: you need one. Yes, with today's online tools, you may be able to find your dream home on your own, but that's really the smallest part of the agent's job. You need someone who knows the local business backwards and forwards, who can negotiate a purchase and look out for your best interest, who can manage the myriad of details and deadlines that must be met between contract and closing, who can solve problems when they arise and help you avoid making costly mistakes.
And here's the thing: compensation for that great agent is already built into the price of the house. You'll be paying for it in your purchase agreement whether you take advantage of it or not. Sometimes home buyers think they can get a better deal if they go it alone or deal only with the seller's agent. It's just not true. It is a rare seller who will give their home away for less than Market Value, so you end up paying Market Value without the benefit of the help a professional could bring to the transaction.
What to look for? Certainly someone who makes you feel comfortable. But beyond that, you need someone who knows what they're doing and is up-to-date with this ever changing business. A successful track record of helping buyers buy is important. Ask to see testimonials. When you have the right agent, you come away from every conversation knowing a little more than you did before and understanding the process a little better.
It goes without saying that the professionals at The Vincent Group and GreatNest are your best option when it comes time to buy. We've helped hundreds of your neighbors find and secure their dream homes and we can do the same for you.
3. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Pre-approval is a powerful negotiating tool. Home sellers are more willing to entertain the offers of buyers who are able to buy rather than those who might not be. But it's more than that. The pre-approval process should be a time to investigate finance options. Your lender can evaluate your financial situation, make recommendations about how to improve your credit score and help you choose the right mortgage for you. Ask your agent to recommend two or three lenders to evaluate. Good agents have working relationships with lenders who have good products and know how to get a loan approved.
4. Make home search a team effort. You should absolutely look for homes online. Use Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com - or - search the local MLS at www.greatnest.com; but communicate what you like and don't like with your agent. At GreatNest, we use a wonderful tool called Listingbook that not only gives our buyers access to the most accurate and up-to-date database of area homes for sale, but also provides a platform for agents and buyers to collaborate and communicate through the home search process. We provide this service for free and your Vincent Group agent can set you up with an account.
5. Relax! Once you have the perfect home under contract, breathe a sigh of relief and relax in the knowledge that you have a good team - agent and lender - working together to ensure that everything goes as it should.
There is a great truth about real estate: there has never been a transaction that didn't have a problem somewhere. Usually they are small, sometimes they are larger. But the important thing is that they are just problems, and almost every problem can be solved if you have the right people shepherding you and your transaction through the process. At GreatNest, we will keep you apprised every step of the way, alert you to problems as they arise, and always present options and solutions.
GreatNest and The Vincent Group is a full service real estate company charging a low set fee instead of a percentage commission. We serve buyers and sellers in Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem , Summerfield, Oak Ridge, Jamestown and surrounding areas. You can reach us at (336) 790-5210 or by emailing Steve Vincent. Visit our website: greatnest.com.