You always need help when selling your house or buying a new one. If you’ve not been involved in house hunting before, here are the kinds of experts that can make your real estate transaction move more smoothly no matter your level of experience.
A financial expert can help you find out what kind of home you can afford to buy and help you get pre-qualified for a loan. The fact that you are pre-qualified will strengthen your bargaining position with sellers of houses, according to Randy Hotchkiss of Hotchkiss Financial in Tucson. When you find a house you want to make an offer on, your real estate agent can then present your offer along with the pre-qualification document.
“You might be surprised at how much you will qualify for. But the amount may translate into a larger monthly payment than you are comfortable with,” Hotchkiss said. “So, it is very important to have the comfort level discussion when discussing the loan amount.”
Financial advice and being pre-qualified can give you an advantage over other buyers. You also want to have that financial expert on hand throughout the buying process to help finalize all the paperwork for a loan once you find your perfect new home.
Real estate agent
You need a real estate agent who knows what market trends are and can find a house to fit your budget or help you determine what the right price should be if you are selling your home. Ask mortgage lenders to recommend real estate agents they work with if you need help finding just the right person. You want a real estate agent, of course, who will hunt for homes that fit your wish list.
“With inventory down right now, homes priced right are selling faster than normal,” said Joelle Kahn, Realtor with Tierra Antigua Realty in Tucson. “Sometimes a buyer will have to move quickly to get an offer in if they really like a home. We can still negotiate closing costs to be paid for by the seller even though it’s a seller’s market.”
Kahn also mentioned that if you’re interested in buying a new build, you should call your real estate agent before you even visit those attractive new homes going up in a subdivision.
“Everybody loves looking at shiny and new model homes, but if you go into that builder’s site sales office and sign in without a Realtor, you are giving up representation on your side,” Kahn said. “A Realtor can negotiate on your behalf and possibly get you a better deal.”
Another area that might be problematic is appraisals. The buyer has offered a certain price, the seller has accepted it, and then the appraiser for the lender says the home isn’t that valuable. A real estate agent might then arrange a second appraisal or help negotiate the seller’s price.
If you find a house you like and your offer is accepted, you also want to have a home inspector who can quickly review all systems and parts of your potential home and recommend solutions to possible problems. Usually, a buyer in Arizona has 10 days to have any necessary inspections done on a house. The buyer pays for any inspections.
“Most people’s largest personal investment is their home,” said Dave Woityra of Seal of Approval Real Estate Services in Tucson. “When people buy stocks or bonds, they tend to review the prospectus that highlights the investment’s assets while describing its liabilities. A home inspection works the same way. So, after an inspection, you’re making an informed decision on what may be the biggest investment in your life.”
Lots of buyers fall in love with houses, he noted, “and then the love affair comes to a screeching halt when the mean old inspector comes up with his report on the house. But things that are broken can be fixed. A Realtor can negotiate for the buyer.”
Inspectors can also be adept at finding problems in houses being sold by flippers who have not done renovations correctly. If major work has been done on a home, like adding on a room or enclosing a covered patio, the construction that was done needed to have a building permit, for example. If you buy without getting that documentation, you may have to bring the property up to code later on.
You also want to have roof and termite inspections as well.
Before you sell
On the other hand, if you are selling a home, it’s also a good idea to have a home inspection done before putting a for-sale sign in your front yard. According to Woityra, an inspector can look at the electrical panel and other major systems of the house so that a seller doesn’t run into any surprises that could potentially ruin a deal with a buyer.
In particular, sellers might also want a plumber to check out pipes under a house with a video camera to be sure that tree roots aren’t blocking the plumbing.
With expert help in the complicated world of real estate and finance like this, you as a buyer or a seller will be heading in the right direction before you move into a new home. JN
R.C. ‘Romey’ Romero is co-owner of Arizona’s home improvement radio program ‘Rosie on the House.’