Certainly, the year 2021 looks a lot better than the year before it. Not only are people in a better position to fight the virus, but there is a new administration under President Joe Biden. While there may be a lot of debate whether the recent administration change is a welcome one, Biden’s $15,000 homebuyer tax credit for middle and low-income earners should dispel all the doubters.
Then again, that should be a good sign for you that this year can be the best year to buy your first house. Chances are, you can get the online buying bug in your search for a new home, which is logical. In the time of the virus, online homebuying is picking up.
However, before you get ahead of yourself, know that remote buying has its downsides, too. For one, all that ease means online scammers are in the prowl, ready to pounce on your hard-earned cash if you let them.
The good news is you need not be discouraged when jumping into this popular bandwagon. There are proven ways you can make the most of online real estate transactions without being burned. Listed below are expert pointers to get you closer to your first real home.
Find the Right Agent
To ensure you get things right, you need to zero in on the right real estate agent first and foremost. This pertains to reliable real estate agent services instead of a listing agent who works for the seller. The reason is simple. When you have someone who has the expertise and the experience to help you, your journey to arrive at a good fit is faster. Even better, you have someone to protect you from the powerful talons of online scammers.
Take note that buying a home is not like buying a pair of shoes. The money involved can be the biggest financial transaction one can make in a lifetime. Not to mention, there are ramifications, which involve years of payment for your mortgage. In short, there’s a lot you need to be watching out for.
Bear in mind that not all agents are created equal. So make sure you do your due diligence. An interview should be paramount. Online video conferencing apps such as Zoom should help you in this regard. For best results, do some digging and ask for references and past clients.
Check the Experience
You must seek a real estate agent that has done online real estate transactions. Be straightforward and know the agent’s years of experience working with remote buyers. There’s no other way to go about it since experience is key. You don’t want to have the honor of being the first on an agent’s client list.
Plus, your agent should know people. For one, they should help you open doors to local lenders. Take note that non-local lenders will likely use non-local appraisers, which can be disadvantageous to you in unique markets.
Right off the bat, know if your agent is doing real estate full-time or part-time. A lot of agents work on the sides. That may not be your best prospect if you want to get to that property in record time. Remember that your agent serves on your behalf, so as much as possible, having someone who can be available within working hours is spot on. That way, you can safely assume they can attend to a host of tasks when you need them.
Take, for instance, home inspections. Depending on the client, your agent might do the checking personally. These home inspections, more often than not, happen during office hours.
Let Your Wish List Be Known
Now that you have an agent, let them know what you want to have in a house. This way, they can narrow down the options and help you land the right fit sooner. The more detailed your wish list is, the better. But be precise with what you want. You need to stick to the essentials, or you might add an unnecessary burden on your agent’s shoulder. So it’s best you stick to the essentials, such as house style, lot size, location, etc.
In addition, you need to tell your agent about non-negotiable features. That way, you won’t go back and forth and lose momentum in the process.
Make the Most of the Diligence Period
Even when the home is already under contract, you will still have time to review its pertinent papers (deed restrictions, title documents, etc.). Also, this time can be used to conduct inspections and bank appraisals and review financing before going for it. In North Carolina, for one, you are given a due diligence period, a time when buyers do their final look before making the actual purchase.
Take note that the due diligence period may involve a fee, typically not more than $2,000. It’s a bargain since the seller will have to take the property off the market.
Last but not least, put your signature on the dotted line to formalize the changing of hands after payments are made. Remember that the E-Sign Act (2000) informs everyone your electronic signature is as valid as in-person signatures. So send them and count the days before you settle.
Purchasing a home shouldn’t be a challenging task for a first-time buyer. Learn how to make the process easy so that you can acquire that dream home.