It is common knowledge that the home buying process is one of the most stressful life events we go through. There was even a survey by Housingwire that said 40% of those surveyed said it was the most stressful life event! I constantly have clients coming to me nervous about starting this process, totally unaware of where to start and feeling fundamentally overwhelmed by the unknowns surrounding the process.
My goal as your Realtor is to hold your hand through each step not just instructing you on what to do but educating you on the process, encouraging you to accomplish your goals and actually make the process an enjoyable experience. Having guided hundreds of buyers through the process I recognize that some obstacles are unavoidable. However, given my experience and the resources at my disposal I’m able to identify the areas where most of the stress comes from and navigate through it as painlessly as possible.
It can feel like we are letting strangers comb through our personal information when you start the financing approval process. Whether it's bank records, tax reports, credit scores or proof of employment it is meant to be as invasive and comprehensive as possible. If you were lending hundreds of thousands of dollars wouldn’t you want to know as much as you could and mitigate any potential risks? An absolutely pivotal decision to your sanity is to get professional references from your Realtor on lenders that suite your needs.
Start with those referrals, a lending institution with whom you have an existing relationship and a bit of online research including reviews. Get preapproved by more than one lender. Then you can compare Loan Estimates from each one to determine who offers you the best rates and terms. Interview each one to find out how they prefer to communicate, how quickly do they respond, are they available on weekends and afterhours, what are their turnaround times, are there any lender credits or incentives available.
As your Realtor, when I refer you to a lender rest assured that I trust them and know the answers to most of these questions for each that I refer. They have also demonstrated their commitment to keep your information safe and go about their job in a professional manner. Unfortunately, I’ve seen clients come to me with financing from lenders they didn’t know well and it introduced a ton of unnecessary stress to the situation. (see more in our section on Closing)
That first home tour or showing with your new Realtor has a lot riding on it. Maybe your lease is ending, or you are expecting a new child, or the new school year is coming up and you want to be in a new district. Take a deep breath, you do not want to rush this. It sounds cliché but when you find the right home, you’ll know it! Some Realtors have a pushy nature. That’s a red flag and should feel comfortable letting them know that you don’t want to be pressured into making a decision. If they’re not respectful of your concerns, consider terminating your agreement with that Realtor and finding a new one.
Once you find a home that you love and you’re ready to make an offer. Engage in discussions with your Relator to make your offer as competitive as possible especially in a seller’s market like what we’re seeing in Atlanta today. Oftentimes, this is where the stress creeps. One way I manage stress with our clients is through our buyers consultations and setting very clear boundaries at the very beginning. That way you know what to expect throughout the negotiations process and we’re aligned on how we’ll reach decisions when the time comes and respond accordingly.
Don’t get me wrong, emotions on a home purchase run high, but by going in with a plan it reduces the stress significantly.
Congratulations! The seller accepted your offer after a big of back and forth negotiation. It’s all smooth sailing from here right? Not quite. There are a few more potential stress points that come along at this point in process, including the inspection. An The inspection serves as an informational tool to assist buyers in their evaluation of a property. After you receive and review the inspection report, you have the option to continue with the sale and negotiate repairs with the seller, or terminate the agreement prior to the end of the due diligence period.
Here is a situation I see a lot. A first-time home buyer is buying an older home, they hire the inspector, who does a great job and delivers the report with a laundry list of issues, suggested repairs and more. The buyer gets scared thinking the home could be a money pit. Is it a money pit or is it just a 40-year-old home that would naturally have some problems common to the age of the house?
This is where you really have to do your due diligence and leverage your resources. Engage in discussions with the inspector, your Realtor and some independent research to identify the most concerning issues. This helps determine how best to move forward. A common mistake is asking for everything on the list to be repaired. This can anger the other party, create high stress, emotional negotiations and potentially sour the entire deal. Understanding what’s important to you and strategic negotiations alleviate the stress at this point in the process.
Closing is the final hurdle to getting your keys and being a proud homeowner. It involves a combination of final approval of your financing, a final walk-through of the property to confirm condition and signing lots of closing paperwork. So where does the stress come from at this point? Financing.
As mentioned earlier Atlanta is a very popular housing market. Mortgage brokers and banks are slammed with business. So what does this mean? Phases of the financing process can be delayed and in some cases the financing is coming together at the last second. Given the sheer volume of business and complications introduced by the pandemic, tiny issues can cause major delays and possibly put the entire deal in jeopardy.
This is why it’s important to stay in close communication with your lender and provide prompt responses to their request at all times. We take each step in the process incredibly seriously. Even in this crazy market my preferred lenders work to have financing firmly in place about a week early so we have plenty of time to take care of any potential issues.
Honesty is one of the most important traits in a realtor and here at 12LUXE we pride ourselves on being open and transparent with all of our clients and customers. We don’t sugarcoat the process –we prepare you for it. The home buying process can be stressful but with the tools and strategies we employ on every deal, that stress can be reduced if not eliminated. We’re here to earn your business, represent your interests and exceed your highest expectations, Oh, and don’t forget to breathe!