You have a realtor
You know what you are pre-approved for (price range)
You have a list of wants and needs
You have seen countless houses
Now is the time when you need to be ready to jump at the RIGHT house.
I know I said "don't be rushed" earlier on, but once you have found the house for you, you WILL be rushed. Its unavoidable.
So, You both have seen the house with your Realtor. You loved it, it fits almost all your criteria, and its in a great area.
Now, you tell your Realtor you want to put an offer. Ask your Realtor to feel it out - See if the house has been getting action. He can also tell how much the house sold for last time it was on the market. (usually)
He'll talk to the current owners Realtor, and figure out whats going on, if the house is hot, Practically sold, and might be able to glean some information (aka, have the sellers already bought a house, do they need to move, etc.)
Your Realtor is your "spy" getting you info. I was lucky, I knew that my sellers needed to sell because they were pretty much already moved and bought a business a few hours away, and that the deal fell through unexpectedly. I was able to come in aggressively and Because I was a first time home buyer, was very flexible on the closing date, which my Realtor was able to find out was a key for the sellers! Our closing date was just over 40 days, which is considered quick. (60 or 90 days is normal)
So, USE YOUR REALTOR.
Alex's Words of limited experience and wisdom:
Here's my Logic when it comes to Realtors. (Some of my Realtor friends will HATE me, but I'm calling it as I see it...)
Lets start off by saying that my Realtor was Great, and was exactly what I needed. He was "Gentle" with us to start, but started to push towards the end. (understandably, we dragged him to countless houses)
Your Realtor is both your friend, Going up to bat for you, and an invaluable tool.
But perhaps most important for you to remember: Your Realtor is a Businessman/woman, who needs and wants to make money.
I'm bringing this up because I felt that since I don't "Pay" my Realtor I felt bad/guilty for dragging him to countless houses, or when bad when he responded to my midnight e-mail questions in seconds. (he was awesome!)
A starter home can be within a wide range of prices, so we'll just assume you're looking at 200-300k for your house. 250k, to make it right in the middle.
Most Realtors charge 2.5% commission, so the total commission on a house is 5%. 2.5 for the seller, 2.5% for the buyer.
2.5% of 250k is $6,250.00
Out of that, Most Realtors have to give roughly half of that to their employer (Re-max, Sutton, Royal LePage, etc) with other things in mind (renting a desk, supplies etc)
So, roughly $3,000 is left. Now, a Realtor that sells a house a week is considered highly successful, and there's other things such as Taxes, Vehicle, Realtor Fees/associations... its not a cheap career to get into. Not to mention that Realtors basically dedicate every waking moment of their lives to their profession. They do work HARD for their money.
But, at the same token, Don't feel guilty about using your Realtor My friend sat me down when I expressed doubt into looking at a house because it "probably" wasn't the one for us. That's when we started talking Numbers:
Back to the $3,000...
- 30 houses, at max 1 hour a house
- I went through 10 offers/counteroffers on various houses (1 hour each, estimated)
- 2 hours over coffee for introduction
- 5 hours of e-mail writing to random questions/opinions on houses via MLS
- 10 Hours on the Road, between houses, Delivering urgent paperwork, cheques, etc
57 Hours / 3000 bucks = $52 dollars an hour.
Now, I'm fairly sure you don't make that much, (I sure as hell don't!) so in that regard - Don't feel guilty.
USE YOUR REALTOR as much as you need!
Next Post: Losing your "offer virginity"