My story as a first-time buyer
I remember very well the process of buying my first home, a 2BR townhouse condo near Northgate. (I wish I’d been in a position to keep it as an investment property when buying my next home, since the mortgage on it was under $600! Oh well, not much I can do about it now.) Buying a home is a complex process, and can be quite overwhelming. From financing to negotiating to closing, there are a lot of important elements to consider, to say nothing of real estate representation, or agency. Agency laws were different when I bought that condo in 1990, and the agent who wrote up my offer wasn’t even representing me. I had no idea she was representing the seller!
A real estate agent can help guide you through each step of the buying process, offering sound advice along the way. Be sure they’re representing you, the buyer, and not the seller. They are required to provide you with a pamphlet on “The Law of Real Estate Agency”. Because of my own experience when buying my first home, I take great satisfaction in working with new buyers, and properly informing them on the process, laws of agency, and setting the right expectations.
Here are some of the key elements where a skilled, professional real estate broker/agent can and should assist you:
Getting pre-approved by a lender
By providing your real estate broker with some basic information about your income, savings, and debt, he or she can assist you in getting pre-approved by a reputable lender. The lender will then go over your financing options, what monthly payment amount you can afford, and what you can expect for down payment requirements and closing costs.
Choosing a home
For most buyers, choosing a home is an emotional process – and it should be, since you’ll be living there. It’s a very different process from buying an investment property, which is all about numbers. An agent can assist you in the process by offering objective information about each property you consider. From local community information like schools and zoning, to home-specific details like condition and amenities, an agent can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Making an offer
Once you’ve found the home that’s just right for you, an agent will research recent sales of comparable homes in the area to help determine a fair selling price. Based on those comps, as well as other factors, like inspection results, needed repairs, other similar homes on the market, and current market conditions, an agent will then help you structure an offer and negotiate to get the very best deal possible.
Closing, or settlement, can be a very complicated process. In Washington state, an escrow company handles the closing process. There are always snags leading up to the actual close of the transaction. Sometimes they happen in the finance process, sometimes in the title report, etc., but regardless of when in the process you hit a snag, you should expect it, and your real estate agent should help you navigate it.
I would be thrilled to represent you – with the highest degree of integrity, skill and professionalism – in what will be the largest, most important transaction of your life…so far.