Let’s assume that you already know the basics and you are pre-approved for a home loan (necessary unless you are paying cash) and that you have chosen a TechTown REALTOR to guide you.
A few months before you are ready to buy, look at homes for sale online to see what is available and attend Open Houses to familiarize yourself with what type of home you can expect to get for what price. TechTown has TWO good search engines on our website, both linking to Lubbock’s multiple listing
Have a good idea of where you want to live, how much you can pay, and your top ‘must haves’ for your home. Share your criteria with your REALTOR. Stay focused and plan to see only homes that fit the criteria you established. Let your REALTOR know right away if your criteria changes after you see your first few homes.
Make a list of homes you see online that interest you and then drive past those homes, scoping out the neighborhoods. You will likely narrow the list of homes to tour with your agent based on neighboring homes, proximity to busy streets and such.
Plan to see no more than 4 homes in a session* because trust me, seeing lots of homes in a day can be exhausting and confusing. Based on your criteria your REALTOR can decide which homes to show or you can provide your REALTOR with the list of homes a couple of days ahead of time. Showings have to be scheduled through the Lubbock Association of Realtor’s showing system, even on vacant houses, so your agent will need time to request and receive confirmations for all showings. (* If you are coming to town for a weekend only, this tip goes out the window as you may need to see more than 4 homes)
Take notes! Your REALTOR can provide printouts of the homes. Make notes about the pros/cons of each and then give the home a score from 1 – 10. If you are a couple, have more than one decision maker, you can both give the home a score. I’ve worked with buyers who are very detail oriented who create a spreadsheet to analyze options!
As you tour the homes, give each house an easy to remember ‘nickname’. It will help you avoid confusion when you discuss the homes later. (Blue Door House, Atrium House, Scary Cellar House, etc.)
For occupied homes spend the time you need but don’t camp out. The sellers may be parked down the street, waiting for you to leave so they can come home and fix supper. If you have kids, be sure they stay with you and are respectful of the possessions of the homeowner. As soon as you realize a home will not work for you, it is time to leave.
You will see flaws as you tour a home and your REALTOR will not be privy to why the family is selling, how long the home has been vacant, or what caused cracks in walls. To get a better idea of condition issues, look at the Seller’s Disclosure of any home you are seriously considering as that document prepared by the seller may answer some questions. And you will have an opportunity to have an inspection during your option period.
When you find the home you want, make a move! I once saw a sign at an antique store that said, “the time to buy an antique is when you see it because if you come back later it may not be here”. The same applies to homes! You will sit down with your REALTOR and discuss the particulars of your contract; how much to offer, when you want to close and take possession, and more. Your REALTOR will write up the contract for you to sign and then present your offer. Sometimes things move very quickly, and you may need to negotiate, so stay available by phone.
Once you go under contract and have an inspection, you may ask the seller to make some repairs. Your inspector can give you guidance on what deficiencies would be important enough to include on your repair amendment and you and your REALTOR can also discuss the findings. Your agent will prepare an amendment for you to review and sign. Most sellers will make some repairs but there is no guarantee. Your desire to buy the home and the seller’s desire to sell will likely propel you both to negotiate the repairs and move forward successfully toward closing.
Our TechTown buyer’s specialists provide excellent guidance and representation so when you are ready to buy, give us a call!