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Paul Burns' Blog

By Paul Burns | Broker in Lakeville, MN

Is this your year to buy a home?

The first question you need to ask yourself is, "Are we prepared".  I receive many calls from potential buyers from either our listings online, yard signs, First Time Buyer Seminars, blogs, open houses etc.  One of the first questions that I ask potential buyers is, "Are you prepared to buy?"  The reason for this question is that many buyers in the market place are not.  This does not mean that they do not have the ability to be, but it is more exciting to look at homes than it is to put yourself in a position to be able to purchase.  There are many different professionals that are involved with the real estate process such as Realtors, Loan Officer's, Inspectors, Title Companies, Insurance Agents etc.  The main person to contact prior to looking at homes is a qualified Loan Officer.  Many good agents will work with a Loan Officer that they can refer you to that is up on all of the available programs, grant funds, and market activity.  This could not be anymore important, especially if you are a First Time Buyer.  After you know what you are qualified for, reconnect with your agent.  Many homes on the market now days are going to need some sort of specific financing to go along with them.  This will help your agent narrow down your search and maximize your time searching for the perfect home! 

Picking an agent!  This too is a very important piece, now more than ever.  Our market place has a variety of different homes from Short Sales, Foreclosures, Traditional Sales, Contract for Deed, etc.  Navigating these homes to find something that is going to work for you, and doing some home work up front will be very helpful.  For example, you have a lease that is up in the next 2 months and want to be in a home.  Knowing and viewing homes that have the ability to have a quick decision from a seller would be an important factor as many homes in today's market are not conducive for that.  A good agent is going to help you with this and be very familiar with how the process works pertaining to the variety of different home status in the market.  The agent should also do their homework for you upfront to only show you homes that have the ability to suit your needs based of the criteria you give them.  It can be a bit frustrating looking at homes that do not work for you as that is a waste of time.  An agent with strong knowledge of the inventory on the market, as well as has a good selection of homes on the market themselves is important.  An example of why this is important is that the agent is constantly sharpening their skills to determine market value before they list it as we know that this has been fluctuating quite a bit.  They may also come across a property that would work for you, that is competitively priced, and have you be the first to see it!  I also find it to be important to have access to an agent that has a team supporting them as well as give you all of the appropriate tools to help educate you with the market.  When I work with buyers and we come to a decision on what home to write an offer on, and at what amount, we are typically on the same page of what it should be due to tools, education and research we have done together.  It is nice to have confidence as a buyer with your decision to purchase a particular home. 

In closing, our market place is ever changing and evolving, as well as the process and tools for information.  If you have any additional questions pertaining to your strategy on buying a home this year, or what tools you should be using, please do not hesitate to ask!  There are many public sites when it comes to doing research online.  The site that I recommend for my clients is the Home Scouting Report.  I have attached a link for you to view to see if this is the right tool for you.

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