Kathy Fetek and Laurie Tyler are real estate agents in Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Racine office. Each month, they’ll be sharing their real estate expertise with the readers of MetroMilwaukeeLiving to shed some light on various real estate processes. Today, they explain the steps it takes to negotiate a successful transaction.
Now that you’ve decided to become a homeowner, let’s go through the steps it takes to negotiate a successful transaction. The first step is determining how much money you have to spend. It doesn’t make sense to start looking only to discover your dream house will cost $100,000 more than you have. When shopping for financing, the best place to start is your own bank. Most banks and credit unions offer home loans, and it is usually easier to work with a lender you have already established a relationship with. Rates and terms of loans vary, so you may want to do some comparison shopping as well. Also, the larger the down payment you have the less you’ll have to borrow. Typically, government-backed loans such as VA and FHA require a lower down payment, but the rules change frequently so exact terms need to be confirmed by your lender.
Once your budget has been established it’s time to start property shopping! Many folks try to find a home on their own while others take advantage of the services of a Realtor®. Unless otherwise negotiated, most real estate agents will represent a buyer at no cost. Traditionally, commissions are paid by the seller in a real estate transaction to both the agents representing the buyer and seller. Obtaining a Realtor® to represent you will make the entire process easier to navigate and provide answers to any questions you may have. Today, a lot of home shopping begins online, but real estate agents have access to web sites the general public doesn’t. A Realtor® will guide you through the entire process of purchasing a home from finding a property through closing the transaction and getting the keys. It’s also usually much easier for a Realtor® to gain access to properties you’d like to see, especially if they are listed for sale with different companies. It can be a nightmare trying to schedule and juggle numerous home showings, so why not let someone else do it for you. Even after obtaining a Realtor® it’s always good to do your own homework as well – drive around to different areas you’re interested in and continue to look online. Even if your Realtor® knows exactly what you’re looking for, you’re the one who will ultimately be living in the home.
Once you’ve found a home you’re interested in buying, check it out at different times of the day and week – this way you can see if the dog barking next door is going to drive you nuts or the teenagers across the street have a heavy-metal band that practices in the garage. Also keep in mind that when you’re shopping for a pre-existing home there may be some concessions you will have to make. Having a wish list is great, but you more than likely won’t get everything on it. After making the decision that “this is the one,” you need to decide just how much you’re willing to offer. Your agent will prepare an offer to purchase to present to the seller – this may be accepted as it is presented, or may be subject to one or many counter-offers. Once an accepted offer has been negotiated you are well on the way to becoming a homeowner! Next month we will address the process between an accepted offer through getting those keys!