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Tips for Buyers

1. Work with a buyer's agent

Many buyers will submit an offer with the listing agent. We don't encourage that. Your REALTOR should be working just for you, with your best interests - both with service and price - in mind. We show our clients many different properties listed with a number of real estate firms. We guide our buyers through the entire process, from getting pre-approved with a lender until the close of escrow.

2. Work with a lender and get pre-approved

By taking a look at your financial situation and looking at your credit history, a lender can let you know what specific loan programs would be best for you. They can help you qualify for the loan that you want.

Many lenders call this process "pre-qualification." Pre-qualification is useful in letting you know how much you can afford. However, it is not the same as "pre-approval".

If you would like to be certain that you can be approved for a loan, you will need to be "pre-approved". In the approval process, all of your documentation is completed and submitted to an underwriter. In today's real estate market, many sellers won't even look at an offer unless it's accompanied by a pre-approval letter. It's free, and at no obligation to the lender.

3. Find the right property

Begin searching for a space that meets your needs. Make two lists: one with all the features you would like to have, and one with things you absolutely cannot live with or without. We will focus on something in between. Remember, some things that may make a space seem unappealing may be easy to change, so we will try to help you think outside the box.

When the time is right, make an offer. Don't expect that every offer will lead to acceptance. We'll do our best to make your offer as strong as it can be, but sometimes it takes a few tries before you find the right match.

4. Shop around for service

Save as much as you can on the purchase by shopping around for title, escrow and other services when you can. As a buyer, you won't always have your pick, but we'll negotiate on your behalf. We work with many different companies and always try to get the best deals for our clients.

5. Be flexible and trust in the process.

In this market, anything can happen between contract acceptance and closing. It could be areas of concern that the seller is unwilling to fix and the repair costs exceed your budget. We strive to tie up loose ends as quickly as possible. You'll probably feel a bit out of control during this transition time -- it feels like everyone else has taken over your life. The seller, your lender, the appraiser, the inspectors, they all have the power to say yes or no to your plans. We'll try our best to let you know ahead of time what your expenses will be, and what the unknowns are. Many buyers feel frustrated when costs are higher than anticipated. That's why we prepare our clients for every possible outcome, and help them make the best decisions for their sale or purchase.

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