I find that very often Buyers have the same questions for me. I thought it might be helpful if I answer some of those in once place as a resource for home buyers, whether they are looking for their first home or their fifth.
What should my first step be?
I think the most important thing to do when you decide you would like to start looking for a home is to meet with a local lender. Once you sit down with a lender and find out the answers to some important questions; (which loan programs are best for you, how much of a downpayment you will need, how much you qualify for) it makes the next steps easier. Often buyers want to go and look at houses first. Who can blame them? That is the most fun part! But it is never fun to fall in love with a home and then go talk to your lender and find out this one isn't in the budge. It is hard to reset from there. Also, when you submit at offer on a home, the Seller is always going to want to know that the Buyer is qualified to purchase.
Missoula has some REALLY great home lenders and if you need recommendations, I am happy to share some names.
Why do I need a Realtor?
In this day and age with all the internet has to offer...a valid question is "Why do I need a Realtor? I can do this on my own and save money."
Here are a few of the services a Realtor can provide you throughout the process.
1. Experience/Expertise-Realtors have an abundance of knowledge when it comes to the local market. They are watching it daily and have the expertise to help you put together a great offer to present to the Seller and then follow the transaction closely until closing to ward off any unexpected bumps along the way.
2. Negotiation Skills- Agents have the experience of doing this over and over again. And let me tell you, every deal we learn something new that we can take forward with us when we help the next Buyer.
3. Paperwork-How many years ago did I hear people saying we were going to be a paperless society? Well...I can assure you that hasn't happened yet. In real estate transactions there are many different forms that require lots of signatures. As Realtors, we have access to all of these forms and know exactly what is needed for each transaction.
4. Search Power- Realtors not only have access to the Multiple Listing Service, but also we work closely with other agents and can often get the inside scoop on a property before it hits the market.
5. Realtor, Therapist, Analyst...all in one!- As Realtors, we wear many hats. We search for new listings, set up showings, write and negotiate the offer. In addition to all of that, we are here to listen and walk you through every step of this transaction.
6. In almost every case, the Seller pays the Buyer's Agents commission!
How many homes should I look at before I make an offer?
That is totally your call! There is no right or wrong answer. You may find the perfect home really early on, or we may look for months. A lot depends on your timeline and how quickly you need to move.
Once I find "the house", how long until I can close?
Typically from the time we put the house under contract to closing is about 30-45 days. This can vary though depending on the time of year ~how busy appraisers and home inspectors are and also certain loan programs can take a little longer.
Do I need to have a home inspection?
There is no rule that says you must have a home inspection. With that being said, I always recommend that my Buyers have a home inspection done. A home inspection gives peace of mind to the Buyer. If items come up on the inspection that are not up to par, you can negotiate with the Seller.
Those are a few of the questions that I get the most often. Do you have any questions for me? I am always happy to answer any questions. And if you are ready to start looking for a new home in Missoula in 2019, I would love to talk to you!
As always, you can reach me at 406-304-9010 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great first week in the New Year!