Finding A Place You'll Call "Home"!
Whether you are a first time home buyer, a move up buyer, interested in new construction or relocating to Northern Virginia and the greater Washington DC area, this is an exciting time for you! You'll need a REALTOR® who will communicate frequently and respond quickly to you.
"9 Myths About Online Shopping For A Home"
You can view properties for weeks or months on the Internet - hoping that the "perfect home" will finally pop up. But here are 9 myths about that approach.
A listing agent’s job is to represent the seller. But depending on what website you are using, the inquiry may not likely be routed even to the listing agent at all. In fact, there is a very good chance that it will be sent to agents who are not even the listing agent.
Your inquiry is likely getting routed to several agents at once, none of whom are the listing agent. This is why you will likely be contacted by multiple agents in response to the one property you simply wanted more information about.
That’s right — there may not be a listing agent on the receiving end of your email. Leads are not free. There are agents paying big dollars to subscribe to particular ZIP codes in order to receive leads. Agents are continually cycling in and out of buying subscriptions to these ZIP codes as this is quite pricey. The costs involved for an agent to receive these leads often equate to a monthly rent or mortgage payment — just to receive leads that may or may not work out.
If you have a buyer agent, you need to work through your agent for all showings. Agent communities are small worlds in that word will get out very quickly about the buyers contacting every listing agent in certain areas to see homes on their own.
You should expect to be contacted multiple times by text, email and phone by an agent or their designee. These "follow-ups" might be in the form of auto-responders if not an actual person trying to reach out to you. The best way to get these multiple inquiries to stop is to simply respond.
If you are already working with an agent, please let the person who has contacted you know that. If it was an accidental inquiry, let the agent know that too. If you are dreaming about buying a certain kind of home and simply curious, be upfront about that so the agent can appropriately manage the communication with you. You are not obligating yourself to anyone or anything simply because you "clicked here for more information," but you need to understand what goes on behind the scenes of the process to minimize confusion in an already confusing situation.
You might think requesting a showing is as simple as "point, click and show," but if you are working with an agent, or if your agent is not available, please do not mislead the other agent who responds to your internet inquiry by letting him or her show you properties. You already know you have no intention of writing an offer with that agent.
Although getting familiar with inventory in the marketplace in advance of buying is acceptable, you are better to engage with one agent who'll assist you upfront versus randomly inquiring about properties here and there.
There are many agents eager to jump into action, arrange to show you property and incubate you as a lead for weeks, months or even years; but doing so when you have other intentions will only lead to disappointment, confusion and frustration for all involved.
Trying to see a house is not quite as instant as ordering an Uber. The agents contacting you will probably be asking the following questions:
- Do you have an agent?
- Have you been prequalified or preapproved by a lender?
- What is bringing you into the market?
- What is your time frame for finding a home?
- Do you rent or own?
- If you rent, when is your lease up?
- If you own, do you have to sell a property first in order to buy?
And that might just be the tip of the iceberg.
Why do agents have to ask all of those questions, you ask? Well, agents are trained to "prequalify" all prospects. Their job involves so much more than simply unlocking a door. They have an obligation to themselves and all involved in the real estate process to ensure would-be buyers are following the right process and are qualified to purchase what they are looking at. Not to mention the safety factor involved.
Most people do not buy the property that they inquire about. In fact, most times it is often everything but what they are looking for. An online listing is a surface level look at something that often does not tell the whole story. How much are the association dues and taxes — and what about that hidden assessment? Is there a busy highway near the home or community? Has the neighborhood been overrun by renters?
If you are casually thinking about buying a property in a particular area and are not committed to anyone, consider engaging with an agent who reached out to you to better start the process so you can get some advice and guidance about what you can get for your money in your desired area.
Otherwise, searching online and sending random inquiries on various properties is a lot like throwing a dart. You have no idea what you are looking at, nor do you have any sense of the property, neighborhood, area or factors that could affect value. You will grow weary of multiple agents continually contacting you.
Despite what the proliferation of technology may have you believe, there is never a substitute for in-the-trenches insight, advice and guidance imparted by a highly-knowledgeable and skilled real estate agent. Contrary to what you might think, an agent can actually save you from making an expensive mistake, overpaying for a property and not fully exploring your options.
An agent might be able to suggest the ideal area for you — one that checks all your boxes and has available properties in your price range — which you would not have found randomly searching online. Agents know what you should know (but don't) and it is their job to fill in those gaps.
A little online knowledge can be a dangerous thing when it leads buyers to believe they’ve covered all their bases. An agent's knowledge is a highly valuable thing that far exceeds the price of any property you buy — it's designed to help you make wise decisions about what is likely the single largest transaction you'll make in your entire life.
Guess what? The agent only gets paid at the end of the transaction through a commission or brokerage fee. Meanwhile, the best agents will work their tails off to get buyers their dream houses.
That usually entails at least 20 trips back and forth to show buyers homes, finding out answers to the buyers’ questions, triangulating between the listing agent, homeowners association, county and city, researching public records, making phone calls to the mortgage lender with continually revised closing cost spreadsheets prepared with different down payment scenarios and interest rates.
We must then spend the time explaining how all this works to the buyers, write offer after offer and cancelling or rearranging personal plans so that we can show the buyer a house so they don’t miss out.
All of that is done without a paycheck the day the agent starts working with the buyer. If the buyer decides to purchase and purchase through that agent, and only if that transaction goes to closing - then and only then - will the agent get paid.
In truth, buying a home - new or resale - needs the knowledge & attention of your personal representative - your agent. That new home sales representative works for and represents the builder, not you!
A new home sales representative won't necessarily advise you against purchasing one of their lots that may back up to a power line, or a lot that won't bode well for future resale, if you're unknowingly spending too much on upgrades, fight for your behalf if the construction personnel don't deal with issues you come across, etc. You should always have your own representation. The builders have theirs, you should have yours.
It would be natural to think that a builder might be saving money if you showed up to buy unrepresented. And you think that perhaps the builder can just give some of that 'would-be' agent compensation back to you... in the form of extra upgrades or a lower price perhaps? Well, it doesn't work that way. The builders already have that compensation built into their budget and if you don't bring your own representative, they'll just pocket that savings for themselves.
Their sales price of their new home assumes you will have your own agent to represent you. Why? Because the majority of new homes are sold by agents representing the buyer. Without an agent, you, the buyer, do not have any representation. Most often your agent can & does negotiate a better price & terms for you.
Why You Should Hire Me When Buying Your Next Home
Buying a home is always an exciting process! As your REALTOR, I will provide you with information to help you make an educated decision selecting the perfect neighborhood while helping you find the homes that really meet your criteria. I know how to listen and after looking through your real estate "wish list", I will focus on finding the home that is just the one you're looking for!
I strive to make the home buying process an effortless and enjoyable one. With extensive knowledge of the area combined with savvy negotiating skills you will find the perfect home at a great price. With the most current technology, I will help find you the best value for your money. I am there with you every step of the way - from negotiating your offer to recommending top loan officers and home inspectors to the settlement - all to make sure that a smooth transaction happens for you.
My hightest priority is to ensure your customer satisfaction. I value my clients as real people with real needs... not just another home purchase, but a friendship. Call or email me and let's get started!
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