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Things Buyers Need to Know When Purchasing a Home in a Buyer’s Market

June of 2006, Alisha was interviewed by Anne Yang in her TV talk show. Because of the changes in today’s market, many of the Home Buyers want to know “How to Purchase a Home and What Home Buyers Need to Know”. Below is the content of the interview: Things Buyers Need to Know When Purchasing a Home in a Buyer’s Market 1. Anne asks: When a client ask you to help them purchase a home, do you need to pre-qualify them? Alisha answers: Yes. It is very important to do a pre-qualification. Many think of it as being able to afford a certain price of home to purchase only. However, it also consists of understanding the needs of the clients…for example: school district, location, community, newer or older homes, levels of homes, number of bedrooms, yard size, etc. Many buyers also forget to take into the account of other costs. Generally, newer homes have HOA and Mello Roos or Special Assessments which may add to the buyer’s monthly payment anywhere from $50 to $1500. In this case, we need to re-adjust the purchase price of the home for the buyers to compensate. Therefore, home buyers should welcome agents to ask questions before roaming out to see the properties. The more a client tells me about themselves and their needs, the more I am able to effectively help them find a suitable home. 2. Anne asks: Is finding a good Buyer’s Agent able to save a lot of hassles for the Buyers? Alisha answers: Definitely. A good agent is not only knowledgeable, but also cares greatly about his/her clients’ well-being. Years before, finding a house to fit the client’s needs at the best possible price are the two major factors. However, another factor that’s fast arising to be the number one importance…and that is LAW SUITES! A good agent is now not a preference, but a must! Many clients who had experiences buying or selling can tell you lots of large and small encounters they themselves cannot resolve. These clients express “finding a good realtor is a real blessing!” 3. Anne asks: Will you help the Buyers by explaining what loan programs will be more beneficial to them or will you just refer them to a loan officer? Alisha answers: There are many loan programs out there, as a result, it is important for myself to know about the loan programs so I can generally explain them to my clients and refer them to loan officers or companies that are honest and I can depend on. There are too many cases where the loan officer which the client themselves chooses couldn’t deliver what was initially promised to the buyers and places the buyers in a very disadvantage position. The buyers either had to agree to pay much more on interest or cancel purchase of the home and loose their deposit to the sellers. 4. Anne asks: Usually, a qualified buyer must have 3 qualifiers…ready, willing and can…if the Buyer doesn’t have all 3, how can you help them? Alisha answers: First of all, find out the problem. For example, if not ready because of lack of down payment refer them to a reliable lender to see what their options are. If there are credit insufficiencies, the lender would be able to guide the clients what to do so they can prepare for future home purchase. If the buyer has 6 months lease contract left, I can try to negotiate a lease break fee from the Seller to help buyers pay for it. However, if the client doesn’t communicate to the agent in full, even an excellent agent will not be able to help them. Clients search for a good realtor, a good realtor also chooses his or her clients to make sure their efforts will earn results. 5. Anne asks: What do you think buyers need to pay attention to when buying a house? Alisha answers: There are many things such as Title of the property, additions, foundation, inspection, history of the house, property boundary, special city or association regulations, termite, parking restrictions, neighborhood, land is lease or fee, amount of Mello Roos or Special Assessment, etc. 6. Anne asks: Many cases, people says “Buyers are Liars” some buyers give all the requirements to you on a house they are looking for but then buys a house that is completely opposite…what do you think about that? Alisha answers: I believe the main thing is COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION! Yes, this happens very often to an extent that buyers surprise themselves! I have clients who told me they are only interested in one story homes and end up purchasing a two story home. I have clients who would not even look at a home that has a swimming pool, but end up purchasing one that has a pool. I have clients who focus on buying a house based on Irvine School District and end up purchasing a Tustin School District. There are many more examples. One thing my clients learn is to communicate with me continuously of their needs and KEEP AN OPEN MIND. Too much restrictions sometimes may hinder themselves to find a better house at a better price. I ask all my clients to tell me the likes / dislikes and concerns about each house I show them. We have a mutual loyal, honest, open and trusting relationship which greatly benefits one another. 7. Anne asks: If a buyer needs to sell their house before they can buy, what should they do? Alisha answers: The buyer needs to put their house on the market for sale ASAP!!! In today’s market, it will take more time to sell a property than the past few years. During this time frame, the clients and agents can arrange to view homes. Other solution is to state “sale contingent upon seller finding a replacement property” or negotiate a longer escrow, etc. 8. Anne asks: Do you think it is still a good time to buy a home for investment? Alisha answers: Everyone’s situation and needs are different. If the client does not have sufficient ability to make a property purchase at this time, I would try to help them set up a goal and plan to prepare them for a future purchase. However, if there are great benefits for the clients to buy, it would be a good time to buy. For instance…if you are currently renting and you have a good and stable income, it may be more beneficial to purchase a property due to tax benefits. Same applies to the investors…if a good amount of tax break would be achieved by purchasing a property to benefit you, then it would be a good time to buy. There is no definite “good time” or “bad time” to buy. What if I am able to negotiate a price for the client that is $50,000 below market value and which the client pays $1000 more monthly versus renting but is able to get more tax refund back of $800 per month? Would you want to own a home for $200 more per month?