Buying a Home; Where Do I Start?
Good question. Buying a home is often one of the biggest financial decisions a family will make and it is important to have a plan. But where do you start?
Most Buyers start by looking at homes on the Internet. This is good, as it helps you decide what features you would like in a home, where you would like to live and current prices. Many Buyers will take up to six months of browsing before making a decision to proceed.
What website(s) should I use for my search? There are a number of popular websites, including Trulia.com, REALTOR®.com, Yahoo, etc. which are fine; however, for ease of use for ease of use we recommend this website for Vail and our Tucson website, www.InsideTucsonRealEstate.com for the Tucson Metro Area. With as few as 2 to 3 clicks you can find any home available in the Tucson, Vail, Oro Valley, Marana or Sahuarita market.
Once you are ready to start looking at homes the next step is to contact a REALTOR® and, if you will be obtaining a mortgage, a Lender. A REALTOR® understands all of the steps involved in Buying a Home and will guide you through the entire process.
If you will be financing your home, contacting a Lender is the logical first step as your decision to buy a home may rest on the results of your meeting. For example, if you are a new Home Buyer, you may want to compare the benefits of Renting versus Owning a home.
If you do not know a good Lender, then I recommend contacting a REALTOR® first. REALTORS® can recommend Lenders that will provide the best service at competitive rates.
REALTORS®, Why are they important? Buying a home is a complex, legal process. A good REALTOR® will represent you and protect your interests through the entire transaction.
What makes a good REALTOR®? Here are a few important considerations:
Experience: In Real Estate, knowledge is very important but you cannot gain experience from a class. Experience is not just time in the business; it is how many sales in the REALTOR® has completed (At least 25 or more is best).
Location: If you have already decided on a location for your home, then I recommend contacting an Agent that actively works in that area.
Broker/Agent Achievement: Agents that have earned REALTOR® Designations or Certifications have demonstrated their commitment to education and excellence in the field. Look for Agents that have earned the CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) and GRI (Graduate, REALTOR® Institute) designations. If an Agent is also an Associate Broker, that is a big plus.
Big Firm/Small Firm: In our experience, we have found that agents from the larger Tucson area firms are more knowledgeable and better at representing their clients than in the smaller companies. Larger firms often provide more training and support of their agents which is critical in this fast changing industry. The name recognition of larger firms also helps when negotiating terms.
Part-Time Agents: I would not recommend working with Agents that have another job or are “part time”, as they have competing interests and cannot possibly keep up with the market and legal changes in Real Estate as well as full time agents.
The Right Agent: Finally, once you meet with a REALTOR®, make sure this is the right person(s) for you. In your initial meeting, a good agent will listen closely and ask a lot of questions to help them understand what is important to you. Do they explain everything and answer all of your questions?
What About Us? Catherine and I are available, of course, and we are Great REALTORS®! But don’t take our word for it, see What Our Clients Say.