In any real estate market, there are buyer behaviors that are going to yield you better results. Like any venture, a real estate purchase requires some level of dedication and sophistication.
The first buyer skill that is required is honesty. This goes two ways. One, be honest with yourself as to what you can accomplish with the money you have and two, be honest with the Realtor® you choose.
If you have $100,000 to spend on a home, don’t believe that you are the person who can look at homes worth $150,000 and “steal” one at a grossly undervalued price. Look within your price range and, believe me, if your Realtor® happens to stumble upon a deeply distressed property that they think is a “needle in a haystack” find, they’ll inform you. Until then, focus on the 99.9% reality that you are going to pay $100,000 for a home worth $100,000. The market has always worked this way and always will. Market value is what the average buyer and seller agree the property is worth in an open market.
You must also work honestly with your Realtor®. Find one that you feel is honest, knowledgeable and, most importantly, is a good personality match for you… then commit. Don’t lie to or hide information from your Realtor®. They are working for you and have an ethical commitment to do so. If, later, you become unhappy with your Realtor’s performance, let them know. You can always move on, but the honest way to do so is let them know.
It is not beneficial to use several Realtors® at once. It is disgusting behavior to have another human being work for you (sometimes for several months) with the expectation of putting food on their table for a job well done when you have told several people the same thing.
Let’s not even begin to discuss the vile behavior of buyers who work with one Realtor® and then one day simply pull up to a home with a sale sign on it and “go direct” with the listing agent. Not only are you dishonest with the Realtor® who is working hard for you, you are significantly hurting yourself by not having anyone negotiate price and contract terms for you.
If you are looking for a home, don’t look only at foreclosures and short sales. The common misconception is that this is where the bargains are in today’s market. Sure, foreclosures and short sales are distressed properties, but because of the sheer volume of them on the market today, regular sellers must compete at the same pricing levels.
So, if the open market consists of all three types of sellers (foreclosure, short sales and regular sellers), which similarly-priced home is likely to be in the best shape and care? Now, as a buyer, ask yourself who has the most control in negotiating the terms of the contract, particularly when it comes to the timing of the closing. Yup, regular sales are where you want to be!
You cannot buy real estate without putting your time and thought into it. Like most things in life, the more you put in, the more you get out. Further, your Realtor®, no matter how good or bad they are, will match their commitment to your efforts.
It’s simple. If I am working with two buyers at one time and one does not respond to emails and phone calls and the other one does, guess who I work with. Further, if the same buyers happen to be looking for the same type home at the same time, guess who is going to see the good ones first?
The key to buying real estate is to understand that your Realtor® can only help you if they are on the same page as you. Any decent Realotr® knows that the only way to get paid is to close and therefore, they are usually laser-focused on trying to communicate and know what their buyers want at all times.
It is not a problem or an embarrassment to change your mind over time or have circumstances change. If you start out looking at homes priced at $150,000 and then realize you can only really afford $125,000. Don't keep changes to yourself! It's OK that you have less to spend. Your Realtor® will simply adjust the criteria and continue to work for you. What is not OK is not telling them. You will both be spinning your wheels and getting no traction.
Further, it is simply unproductive to not communicate. Even if your communication is to tell your Realtor® they are too aggressive, you feel pressure or that you just are consumed at work for the next few weeks and can't do any home hunting. In fact, it is a MUST to communicate those types of issues.
Home purchases are one of the most important, stressful and rewarding experiences in a lifetime. Your Realtor® knows this and has helped dozens or hundreds of others before you. Let them help you! It's all about communication and a commited partnership.