October 23, 2018 | Jasmin Bradley

       Today we’re talking about stage two of the buying process. So first, you will need to search for a home. And the way that realtors usually like to approach this will be by sending you a list of properties with the criteria that you gave us. If you said three bedrooms with two baths, then we'll send you everything with three bedrooms and two baths. If we see that there are not enough three bedrooms and two baths with your specifications like a two car garage or in a specific area, then we might go up or down a room, send you four bedrooms or send you two bedrooms so that way you can have more choices.

      Another thing that we would do as a realtor would be to go up a little bit on the price and hope that if we do find the perfect house for you, we will be able to negotiate it down to the price that you will feel comfortable purchasing. So if your realtor sends you a house that's a little bit more expensive than the price that you originally told them, just know that they might feel that they can negotiate. Another thing will be area familiarization, where we as professionals know the area but if you come in from out of town you may not know the area as we do and you may or may not feel comfortable. So one thing that your realtor might suggest will be for you to go and drive past the houses that you like, so drive in the daytime, drive during the night time just to make sure that you are still head over heels for the properties before we could schedule a showing, so that way you don't feel like you're wasting your time because your time is precious.

      Next, you would choose a house and make an offer, you choose a home and you make an offer on the property. So some of the things that I want you to know about when you're negotiating, depending on what side of the country you're in, you may be on either a seller's market, a neutral market or a buyer’s market. And the reason why there is a spectrum is that depending on what type of market you're in, you will want to frame and strategize on how to make an offer. If you're in a seller's market it means that the seller has the upper hand so, at that moment, there's low inventory usually in those types of markets. If you really love a house you might want to either start at the asking price, but most likely you want to go a little bit above the asking price with little to no contingencies. All that means is that you won't have any stipulations attached to the offer, because the seller has more options on the buyer that they want to select so you don't want to be the person that gets left out because you were asking for too much or you didn't offer enough.
If you're in a neutral market then you're most likely going to offer asking price or just a little bit lower or you might ask for some things like some repairs or you make a contingent on an appraisal. In a neutral market, it can go both ways; it's very negotiable. Now if you're in a buyer’s market that means that there is a lot of inventory and you might have the option of negotiating a little bit. Make sure that you speak with your real estate professional because you don't want to risk offering too low and offending the seller and then they don't want to deal with you at all. So make sure that you always consult your realtor and that you strategize on what kind of offer that you're going to make, especially if you're emotionally attached to the property and you really want it bad.

      One of the things that I really want to discuss is counteroffers. Whenever most buyers place an offer on a property, they get so nervous their knees start shaking. They're just so nervous they don't want to write an offer even though they love the property. Well just because you've made an offer and you sign a document doesn't mean that you are under contract yet. Once that offer is written it gets sent to the other party, the other realtor and then they get to discuss it with their client and unless the seller signs it, you don't have a contract. If they change anything in the original offer it now becomes a counteroffer. Now it's like they're offering you a new rule or a new contract and then you have to discuss with your realtor and decide if this new offer that the seller made you is still good for you. And if you decide to accept it and you sign then you have a binding contract. When you have the signatures of the seller and the signature of the buyer that's when you finally are under contract and then you can move forward with the next process of the buying process.

      So after you have your written offer and your binding offer, now there are some things that you must remember. There's this thing called earnest money. What is earnest money? Earnest money is like a deposit to the home. It shows the seller that you are serious about moving forward. One of the things that I like to explain to my clients is that earnest money is still your money; it doesn't belong to the seller just because you made the deposit. So this money is credited back to you at closing. Now, remember there is a difference between giving it back to you and being credited back to you. If you have to bring money to the table, then they're going to subtract the amount of earnest money that you originally paid. If you don't have to bring any money to the table, then you will get a check with your earnest money back.

      Another thing that I want to discuss is the power of attorney. Don't feel nervous if you're buying a property and you're going on vacation and the closing day is right on vacation day. Or let's say something happens and you're going to be out of town or your job say you must go to a different side of the country. Then one thing that you can do to solve that problem is giving somebody a power of attorney on your behalf. You could have a close family member or a relative or close friend be the one to be your power of attorney. Make sure that you do this in advance so that way whenever the closing day comes you are ready and they can move forward and sign for you.

      So keep all these tips in mind during the second stage of your buying process and don’t be afraid to ask your realtor questions and get a full understanding of what’s going on. That’s what we’re here for!
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