By NICOLE MURRAY
The joy and satisfaction of buying a home has been diminished because of remorse for many Americans. Experts say it doesn’t have to be this way.
Due to bidding wars, rising interest rates, and a scarcity of options, in recent years homebuyers put themselves under pressure to make quick decisions about the places they now call home. So it’s not surprising that a recent survey by Clever Real Estate showed that a high percentage of people had regrets about buying in 2022 and 2023.
First-time buyers were particularly affected. 51% said the seller of their home took advantage of them and 67% said they felt pressured to submit an offer.
More than half of all the buyers surveyed – 52% – said their overall happiness had not improved since purchasing their home.
Industry leaders spoke with The Mortgage Note about this topic, offering their advice for buyers and the professionals who work with them. This is what they had to say.
Research Agents Online
Rob Jensen, broker/owner of the Rob Jensen Company in Las Vegas explained that picking the right real estate agent to work with is half the battle. He suggests homebuyers take the time to research agents because their online presence could help determine if they are a worthwhile candidate.
“In my opinion, active agents should offer a variety of educational resources online that are easy to find and are of value to the buyer; this includes photos, videos, real estate information, and personal content. If you can only find an agent’s current listings, I would be hesitant because your agent is supposed to be your first resource throughout the process,” Jensen said.
Be Wary Of Stand Alone Agents
Jensen said that independent real estate agents may be capable of doing the job but they come at a huge disadvantage during the buying process.
“This market moves fast and if an agent is operating on their own, they have no support system or team members. This means that they are not available to research or show you homes when they are busy with another client. To make a well-thought-out decision to buy, you need a fully committed agent willing to do the work. It is something to factor in when making your decision,” Jensen said.
Get Yourself Someone Who Will Be In Your Corner
Nick Smutz, realtor at VRI Homes in Keyport, New Jersey, said worthy agents will explain the details of the buying process and how they are going to protect their client’s best interests from the start.
“I tell my clients to avoid those looking for a quick sale, ” Smutz said. “You want an agent who will thoroughly research properties, openly talk about your financial situation, and learn your personal interests and deal breakers within the first few conversations. This isn’t extra work; it is the basics of real estate. If an agent doesn’t hit these points within your first few conversations, it is a red flag they are just looking for you to sign on the dotted line as quickly as possible.”
Get Shoppers Pre-Approved, Especially If Financing
Every real estate agent who spoke with The Mortgage Note says that buyers should always get pre-approved before starting their search. Shoppers will be given an accurate depiction of what they can afford and where they should shop, which will ultimately shorten the time it takes to close a deal.
“Don’t even bother checking out homes before being pre-approved,” says Smutz. “Meet with a mortgage lender who will break down the numbers step by step because the price of a home is not the only factor. There are property taxes, insurance, and a lot of other variables that first-time homebuyers are not aware of that factor into your monthly payments.”
Encourage Shoppers To Start Early
Jensen says he always recommends that his clients begin educating themselves at least a few months before their goal move date to avoid rushed house tours and hasty decisions.
“Clients need the time to browse, research different areas, and to get their finances in order to find the best fit and that can take time. If we don’t have the time to figure that out, you may be regretting your purchase a few months down the line,” Jensen said.
Suggest A Drive By
Jules Zaphire, a real estate professional at The Pantiga Group, is licensed in New York and Connecticut. He emphasizes that any house can be personalized for any buyer’s needs. However, many shoppers underestimate the importance of surveying the surrounding neighborhood.
As a result, Zaphire advises his clients to check out the area they are interested in before putting in an offer to make sure it aligns with what they are looking for.
“The neighborhood is a totally different animal. Drive by the area and go to a local restaurant to get a good feel of what that town is all about. I would encourage people to go during rush hour or at night to see what the commute will be like and the type of people you’ll be meeting if you move there,” Zaphire said.
Inventory in the real estate market has been flying off the shelves. Zaphire tells The Mortgage Note he has seen this result in a lot of people rushing their decisions in fear of losing their dream home before determining the house contains everything they need. Think through the decision and take time before putting in an offer, he advises buyers.
“You see a lot of panic buying, especially with new homebuyers. Remember that there will always be another house. Stay emotionally detached because this is the biggest purchase of your life and once you’re under contract, you are already in too deep. Even if you can get out of the deal, you might lose the deposit,” Zaphire said.
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