How I Work with Buyers
Holly put our best interests first – we never felt like we were working with a sales person who only wanted to close a deal and get on with it. She had educated opinions and told us the pros and cons, but she didn’t try to sell us. She made the sometimes nerve-wracking process of buying a house easy for us.
After our initial interview, should we decide to work together, we enter a short, steep learning curve. I learn from you what your dream house looks and feels like, and you learn from me what it takes to be a successful buyer in today’s competitive market. I will help you get pre-approved for financing, as well as resolve any other obstacles standing between you and your new home.
Through the miracles of modern technology, I design a customized Multiple Listings search which will automatically e-mail new listings to you as they come on the market. (If you are viewing this internet site I assume you use e-mail, but if not, we work around it.) You then send me back messages such as: “The house on Euclid looks interesting…how big is the workshop?” I will then preview that house for you, and/or obtain additional information from the listing agent, and/or meet you at the house for a showing.
In general, after a few weeks of working together, I will have developed a good intuitive sense for recognizing homes that will excite you, and you will have become prepared for what happens once we do find that house. Most of my clients become home owners within 2 to 3 months of starting this process with me.
Once we find a house you’d like to purchase, I will devise a strategy based on the convergence of many factors. It may be appropriate to overbid, or to underbid. It may be smart to ask for a loan contingency, or to be contingency free. I may suggest you bring in an inspector before you make your offer, or I may warn you against doing that. Some of the things that will influence my suggested strategy include: the temperature of the market that week, the type of property, the condition of the property, the location of the property, the asking price, the listing agent, the number of other bidders and the agents representing them, the seller’s situation, the length of time the property’s been on the market, local real estate customs, how much you love the property, how long you plan to own it, and what you plan to do with it.
So: I suggest a plan of action, which we follow if you concur, and we modify if you don’t. Usually my clients are in full agreement with my suggestions, and I have a very high rate of offer acceptance in competitive bids. However, my suggested bid (a “bid” consists of an 8-page contract, prepared by me, comprised of the offer price as well as numerous other terms) is not necessarily always designed for acceptance. Frequently, buyers need to warm up gradually to the multiple-offer frenzies which have unfortunately become so common. You may choose to start with more conservative offers, and take small steps further and further out on that limb, until you finally reach your prize – and I will be supporting you every step of the way.
Once your offer has been accepted, we enter the escrow period. “Escrow” is the period of time between offer acceptance and transfer of title to you, the new owner. Escrow is also a place: an actual office where an escrow officer acts as a neutral 3rd party to hold funds and documents during the escrow period. A typical escrow lasts 30 days, and it is during this time that you act on any contingencies you may have (a contingency is a safety net that allows you to terminate the purchase without liability), such as inspecting the home or obtaining final loan approval. During the escrow period I tell you exactly what you need to do, when to do it, and what it all means.
Closing the escrow involves signing mountains of paperwork at the escrow office, and forking over a lot of money. I accompany you, interpret for you, fetch coffee for you, play with your kids, and generally strive to ease what most people find to be an emotionally stressful time. I do not stop being your agent when escrow closes. I consider myself to be your agent in perpetuity, and in particular during the first few months of your ownership when you will need to know where to buy a stacking washer/dryer, who will repair your fence, and what that notice from the assessor’s office is about.
Throughout the process of helping you buy your home, I am always here as your sounding board – as well as counselor, crystal ball gazer, baby sitter, dog scratcher, commiserator, and hand holder.