Hi everyone!  Christie here--one of the team leads of The Honest Agent Team.  I'm going to be honest....I am SUPER excited to by typing up this blog post today.  When I became a first time homebuyer, I would have killed for an article about the true ins and outs of the process.    I've really been looking forward to sharing my experience in blog format.  I thought it would be a great idea to create an "insider's guide" into the scary, and not so scary, parts of buying a home.  


Loan Application:  I had never applied for a loan before, beyond buying my car (which was quick and painless).  I spoke with my mortgage lender and applied for the loan over the phone while driving.  It took about 30 minutes, and some of the questions were pretty in depth.  A few examples were where I had lived in the previous few years, a thorough work history, a thorough financial picture, and a formal running of my credit score.  Since the lender holds the purse strings, I was really nervous at this point because in order to buy a home, you have to be able to obtain a loan!  


Appraisal:  In this market, appraisals are coming in low relatively frequently.  While this isn't a huge deal, the appraisal process in general had me a little bit nervous.  However, I prepared for it by coming up with a plan to move forward with my purchase no matter how the appraisal came in (a plan for "bridging the gap" in the event of a low appraisal).  

Final Contingency Removal:  Removing ALL contingencies essentially eliminates your "safety net."  At this point, if you cancel for any reason, the seller keeps your deposit (in my case, $10,000).  So, signing off on full contingency removal is a big deal! I made sure my loan was approved, appraisal was done, and inspection was done at this point to mitigate the risk as much as possible.  



Negotiation Process:  Since I'm a Realtor myself, this was easy.  I found my condo off market, coordinated with the seller directly, and came to terms quickly.  If you're having trouble finding a property on-market (since inventory is so low), let me know, and I can try to do the same for you! 

Inspection:  I have a great home inspector, and it was awesome to have him inspect a home I was buying MYSELF!  The townhouse was a bit of a fixer, so he definitely included some items on the inspection report.  I personally did not ask for any repairs to be made, simply because I am fully renovating the property anyways, and it seemed silly to ask for things to be repaired that I'd be ripping out in a matter of weeks.  

Signing loan docs:  This can sometimes go slightly awry, depending on how experienced your notary is.  Our loan doc signing went off without a hitch and took only 30 minutes or so.  Here's a pic of our notary preparing our loan docs!  I don't think she knew that I snapped this.  She took our fingerprints, and we signed and signed and signed.  



Keep calm:  As a buyer, I was actually very low-key and relaxed throughout the process.  This is probably because I'm a Realtor and understand what was going on each week in the transaction.  It really is a Realtor's job to work behind the scenes to push the transaction along, not the client's job to stress about it.  A good Realtor will ask the client to take care of that week's "action items" that only they can do, and then will handle everything else! 

Think Outside The Box:  In this seller's market, sometimes you have to get creative as a buyer.  I personally hand-wrote notes to owners in the HOA community I wanted to buy in.  I would have been willing to waive my appraisal contingency if needed.  I was willing to accept the condo "as is" without asking for repairs.  I was willing to do a 60 day Escrow in order for her to give her tenant sufficient notice.  This type of flexibility will help you "win" in this market! 

GET TO IT:  Real estate is one of the #1 ways people build wealth.  I bought at the "upper" end of this market because I wanted to get in the game, despite the timing of the real estate cycle.  My next purchase will hopefully be an investment property, once the market dips a bit.  My long-term goal is to acquire enough rental properties to have a lot of 100% passive monthly income!  Join me?  ;) 


Posted by Christie Gray on
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