The Essential Guide On How To Buy Like A Pro
Leverage the Power of the Internet
By using a combination of MLS searches, 3rd party property search sites, social media groups, agent networks, builders, investors, and other resources, we can help you identify properties that fit your needs that you may not necessarily find on Zillow or other popular search sites.
These property searches will also help you get your finances in order, and get a better idea of the size of the mortgage you’ll need to live in the neighborhood or area of your choice.
Find The Right Lender and Mortgage For You
The right lender will help you see if you qualify for a number of loan types and programs, such as FHA, conventional, USDA, VA, DSCR, and government-sponsored programs geared for first-time buyers with down-payment assistance.
We have a network of excellent lenders who can provide what you need.
Be the first (or last) to make an offer
The phrase “you snooze, you lose” is especially relevant for real estate buyers.
That’s because the buyer that makes the highest offer doesn't always get the home. In many cases, it’s the one that makes the first offer.
If the seller is in a rush to sell, and the first offer is a good one, it’s quite possible the seller may simply accept the offer on the spot.
So when looking for a great deal, you must be ready to make the FIRST offer.
To make sure that happens, you MUST get your finances in order. Before you start making offers, make sure you obtain a pre-approval letter if you are financing your purchase or a proof of funds if you are buying with cash. We can help connect you with the lender that is right for you.
And once you’re pre-approved, don’t delay in making offers. Work with our team to establish the parameters for a good offer. And as soon as a property that meets those requirements hits the market, make an offer in the same day.
Also, as you wait for a the right property to hit the market, we can keep an eye out for properties that have been stuck on the market for a long time or that are not even listed in the MLS.
Ask the Seller to pay closing costs
Though the buyer is typically expected to pay for a number of closing fees, (especially those related to the origination of the loan), it’s not a law written in stone. Like pretty much everything in real estate, closing costs are negotiable.
Of course, sellers don’t like to sell homes for less than their bottom line. Not just because they don’t want to lose more of their earnings, but also because there’s always an ego element attached to any home sale.
Home sellers are keenly aware of how much their neighbor's homes sold for, and would hate to sell their home for less.
If the sellers are adamant against bringing down their asking price, we can possibly negotiate for the seller to cover the closing costs. Sometimes this does mean offering over list price so that the seller nets the same amount.
Not only does this allow the seller to save face and keep a larger final price, but it could also save you thousands of dollars.
Shop during the slow season
Even if you don’t live in a place with a harsh winter, most home buying and selling activities take place during late spring and summer.
As a result of that seasonal increase of activity, home prices go up.
So if you’re willing to brave the cold and wait until winter, you may be able to capitalize on some amazing deals. People who are willing to list their homes in the middle of the holidays are typically very motivated to sell. This, of course, could lead to amazing opportunities for you.
On the other hand, there’s a downside to shopping for homes during winter: you’ll have fewer homes to choose from. And when making offers, you’ll have fewer recently sold comparable properties to help you calibrate your offers.
Look into bank-foreclosed properties
Banks are not in the business of homeownership. They are in the lending business. Homeownership comes with a lot of maintenance requirements, expenses, and taxes.
Which is why any time a bank ends up taking possession of a home by means of a foreclosure, the bank would want to sell it as quickly as possible. This usually translates into banks selling homes at a substantial discount.
On the other hand, not every foreclosed property is an amazing deal.
The foreclosure process is a lengthy one which could drag on for years. Many foreclosed homes are in serious disrepair. If you’re not careful, your bank-foreclosed property “deal” could turn into a nightmare scenario.
It’s extremely important to work with a professional real estate team that has plenty of knowledge and experience dealing with foreclosed properties.
But if you’re willing to spend the time and resources needed to sift through the foreclosed home inventory, you’re sure to find some valuable gems.
Drive for dollars
A tactic commonly used by real estate investors is driving around neighborhoods they’re interested in to find good deals.
Yes... It really is that simple.
These investors would get in a car, drive around the area they are interested in, and look for homes that give signs of a potentially motivated seller. This includes homes with a “for sale by owner” sign, homes in disrepair or showing signs of neglect.
Next, these investors would knock on the door, and introduce themselves to the owners. They let the homeowners know they’re interested in buying a home in the area, and would ask the homeowners if they could point you to someone looking to sell, or if they themselves are interested in selling their home.
If no one answers the door, even after several attempts, not all is lost. These investors could do a property search in the city’s public records or a reverse phone number search to find the owner’s contact information.
We can help you negotiate these offers.
Look into new and pre-construction developments
Another possibility is new and preconstruction developments.
We have access to lists of inventory homes, builders who are building, and options that are available that are not listed in the MLS (you will not see these online).
Your real estate agent must register you with the builder first, so we will register you with any builder that interests you, and often attend the first appointment with you.
Some builders are offering lower interest rates (which means your dollar goes further and the purchase price can be higher than your pre-approval at today's rates) and cash towards closing costs or upgrades.
Look into tax-delinquent homes
As you know, every homeowner in the US must pay his/her yearly property taxes. But if they fail to pay these taxes, their name is added to the county’s treasurer’s “Tax Delinquent List.”
If enough time goes by (1-5 years, depending on the state) and the homeowner doesn’t pay those delinquent taxes, the county takes possession of the home via a tax foreclosure. Then, the house is auctioned off to recuperate those missing taxes (from which the homeowners would get $0 in return).
Believe it or not, tax delinquent lists are part of the public record. You can have access to your local list by asking for it in your county treasurer’s office, and paying a fee to obtain it.
This list is filled with homeowners that have a HUGE motivation to sell their property, especially if they haven’t paid their property taxes in years. If they’re only a year or two away from losing their home to a tax foreclosure, and they could be willing to sell their home or property for pennies on the dollar.
Of course, as you may expect, many of these homes fall squarely into fixer-upper territory, and would require you to have plenty of capital to get them into shape.
We can help you negotiate these offers.
Use real estate wholesalers
Real estate wholesalers make a living in finding amazing deals, marking them up a bit, and reselling them to real estate investors.
We network with dozens of these wholesalers.
Some of the homes they resell could still be fantastic deals. Meaning that with the right wholesaler, you could still find amazing deals without the need of doing all the work of finding the deal yourself.
Again, just like with tax-delinquent homes, many of these properties fall into fixer-upper territory. Make sure you keep that in mind.
We can help you negotiate these offers.
As a home buyer, you have absolutely NO reason why you shouldn’t hire the best possible real estate agent in your area.
First of all, hiring a buyer’s agent does not have to cost you a dime. That’s because the home seller is typically the one that pays commissions to both the buyer and seller’s agents. If they do not, then we can sometimes raise the price and have our commission paid from that increase. It is rare that a buyer has to pay the full buyer's commission.
Second, we bring a wealth of expertise, street smarts and knowledge to find you the right home at the right price. We can use those skills to help negotiate a far better price than you could get on your own.
Third, you should not call the listing agent, because they represent the seller -- not you.
Finally, our services offer a buffer of protection. Thanks to our experience and expertise, we can see toxic deals a mile away and can warn you against them. We can also help you avoid common legal pitfalls in real estate which you could stumble into on your own.