Real estate agents are there to help you make the homebuying process efficient, exciting and, hopefully, a positive overall experience. But there are a few things that you can do to make your real estate agent’s job easier too, and help them better serve you. To put this list together, we went straight to the source–three Redfin agents who, combined, have sold hundreds of homes to happy clients. Here’s what they wish customers knew going into the homebuying process.
1. Switching jobs or accepting a promotion can affect your ability to get a loan
“It may seem like a no-brainer to take a raise or job with more money, but the transition may offset the required job history and affect your ability to get the loan,” said Matthew Brennan, a Redfin real estate agent in Portland. “I once had a doctor change jobs (same job, new location and more money!) mid process and it resulted in a major delay.”
2. Quitting your job is also a no-no
“Wait until after you have the keys,” said Brennan. “The lender will verify employment and check your credit one last time on the day of closing.”
3. Local lenders are often more responsive than national ones
“If you want to make a successful offer, you have to think about everything that can make the offer more appealing. A good local lender can impact the offer’s success,” said Collin Horn, a Redfin real estate agent in Seattle.
4. A little detective work goes a long way
“A hospital down the street means ambulances. A school nearby can mean screaming kids and school bells. A wifi username ‘midnight rocker’ may indicate a noisy, ‘rocker’ neighbor lives nearby,” said Brennan.
5. A neighborhood can look and feel different at different times of the day
“When my buyers ask, ‘how is the neighborhood?’ I always recommend they come back in the evening and take a stroll; bring the kids and dog, go to the local coffee shop or some other community space. It’s a good idea to see how the neighborhood feels to you while people are out and about. Is it lively, friendly, etc?” said Julie Jacobson, a Redfin real estate agent in the San Fernando valley.
6. With multiple parties involved, it’s not always going to be a simple process
“The seller may be selling their home, while purchasing another,” said Brennan. “A delay in their purchase may mean a delay in your purchase. Think domino effect. And be mentally prepared!”
7. Closing at the end of the month may result in less upfront costs
“If you close at the beginning of the month, you will be responsible for pre-paying interest for the remainder of the month, since mortgages are paid in arrears,” said Brennan. “This means that if you close on Oct. 1, you will be charged for 29 days of interest up front. If you close on Oct. 27, you will be charged for 3 days of interest up front.”
8. Viewing a home as soon as it hits the market can help you get into your dream home faster
“Many sellers have offer review days and it can sometimes take awhile to put a winning home offer together,” said Horn. “In a competitive market, you have to be fast. The faster, the better.”
9. Big purchases can affect your loan
“You may be getting a great deal on that washer and dryer, but purchasing furniture or appliances on layaway can result in a lower credit score,” said Brennan. “It may also offset your debt-to-income ratio. Purchasing the items with cash can result in lower reserves, which the bank may require to prove your home purchase will not be a hardship. Always talk to your lender first.”
10. You need a team (lender and realtor) that you really trust
“The homebuying process takes time; if you don’t care for or trust the team around you, it may equal weeks of hardship and result in an unpleasant experience,” said Brennan. “You could be in contact more with your lender and realtor than your best friends and family during this process.”
11. Some of the most important and valuable improvements to a home can’t be seen from the outside
“A coat of paint, new lighting or a pretty new kitchen can bring ‘wow factor,’ but there are other amenities you should look for too,” said Jacobson. “Insulation, LED lights and newer, more efficient HVAC systems won’t jump out at you, but may qualify you for rebates and incentives and lower your monthly bills in the long run, as well as add value to the home when you go to sell. Ask your agent about these things!”
12. This can be a fun process
“Have fun! If you have a team around you that you can trust and know are not out to get you, then you can relax and make the most out of this once – maybe twice – in a lifetime opportunity,” said Brennan.
13. We’re here to help you!
“Your agent is going to be invested in you and your homebuying journey. We want to help you find the home of your dreams. It makes our jobs much more rewarding!” said Brennan.
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