If you’re even thinking about buying a home in the next 12 months, enlist the assistance an experienced Realtor followed by a pre-approval with a reputable lender. Please don’t make the mistake of shopping for a house before getting a pre-approval. You’ll spin your wheels. Trust me on this.  You can’t write an offer without a pre-approval letter. Don’t put the cart before the horse so to speak.

A lender can tell you if you need to increase your credit scores, how much you can get a loan for, what your estimated payments are including escrows such as taxes, mortgage insurance, and homeowner’s insurance. First time homebuyers often google a payment calculator, punch in a purchase price, and find the principal and interest payment that fits their budget not realizing that there are additional funds to be factored into that.  These factors can decrease the purchase price on the house they “thought” they could afford. Is it in a flood zone? What’s the flood premium to be factored in? What loan program do you qualify for based on certain personal income factors and location of the home? What loan program does the area you’re interested in qualify for? How much down payment does each loan option require? How much are closing costs because if you need a seller to pay closing or contribute, it will need to be written in the purchase agreement.  Let a Realtor guide you. If your agent doesn’t know this information, get a new Realtor.

Many buyers are hesitant to complete the loan application because they know their credit needs some work. Many believe they know what to do to work on their scores (i.e., close credit card accounts, pay a 3 year old collection account, etc.) when in fact 9 times out of 10 this hurts their credit scores! Get with a Realtor to connect you with a qualified lender to run a potential score improvement and tell you exactly what steps to take to get you where you need to be. You’d be surprised how fast your scores can increase if you follow these directions. Don’t waste years when you could possibly be in a home within months.

Do you have to use your Realtor’s preferred business partners? NO, you are free to use whomever you choose but an experienced Realtor has spent years of trial and error to find the best in the business who can save you time and money. In addition, when push comes to shove, a Realtor has more leverage to get things done and done faster with his or her preferred business partners that he/she is in constant contact with on a daily basis…usually 24/7 via text, email, and phone (day or night.) If you choose your own, be sure they come highly recommended and you have an open line of communication with them.

Once you choose a Realtor that you trust, be loyal to them and you’ll get the same in return. If you call four Realtors and give them each a 25% shot at earning your business, you’re going to get 25% of their time and effort. It’s smarter to find the ONE you want to do business with and use only him/her. At Zatta Real Estate Group, we prefer to use our in-house prepared Exclusive Buyer’s Agreement to protect all parties.  Don’t hire an agent to represent you and then call other agents off the yard signs because your agent was unavailable for an hour. It can cost you in the end.  Also, if you are working with an agent and cruising on a Saturday, don’t go into new construction model homes without telling those builder’s agents that you’re already working with an agent. They usually have a sign-in sheet where you can list this information.  Once you allow another agent to show you a home, you more than likely will not be able to bring your own agent into the deal after the fact-this is a common misconception. You can have independent representation as a buyer! It’s free!

If you find a FSBO you like, give your Realtor the opportunity to show it to you. Many FSBO’s are willing to work with buyer’s agents. FSBO’s aren’t usually educated in comperables so it’s beneficial to you as well so that you don’t overpay resulting in lost time and money.

PLEASE do not believe that if you don’t use a Realtor as a buyer that you’ll save money and get a better deal on a house that is listed! Seller’s sign listing agreements with listing agents and that listing agent either retains the entire commission or has to split it with a buyer’s agent so you can have your own representation at no cost to you. You do NOT save money by “representing yourself!” The commission is the same regardless. Be smart and informed!

Be sure to work with a professional Realtor whose opinions and advice you value and respect. Don’t be scared to ask for their sales stats or client testimonials.  Let me put my experience to work for you today! I have a team of highly skilled professionals to guide you from start to finish.  Your best interests will be protected at all times.

Lisa Zatta, Broker/Owner

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