Homebuying Tips from Our Experts

Flyhomes team members and dogs

To kick start 2020 home searches, we’re sharing insight from Flyhomes folks who work with homebuyers every day.

What every buyer needs to know

Clients always ask “What is the best time to buy a house?” and I always tell them … “The best time to buy a home is when you find the right one for you.”

– David, Client Advisor in Seattle 

Don’t wait too long! Make a move, make an offer! It may seem counter-intuitive to act fast on a big purchase like a home. However, if you have been looking for homes for a while, you KNOW when you come across the right home. There are other buyers out there looking at the same house at the same time, and you don’t want to lose on the opportunity just because you think you need more time.

– Mehar, Client Advisor in Seattle

Know what a contingency is and how they are used in real estate.

– Eric, Client Advisor in San Francisco

There is no such thing as a perfect home. Just like a person, every home has its pluses and minuses. Identify the must haves and keep an open mind on the rest.

– Scott, Client Advisor in San Jose

Understand the importance of finding a good lender. Many lenders will promise a low interest rate, but not follow through in actually processing the loan. We’ve seen quite a few buyers drawn in by a lender’s promise of low interest rates, only for the lender to decline their loan in escrow.

– Jennifer, Business Ops Manager in San Jose

Make sure renovations were done by a professional. 

– Joe, Tour Specialist in Bay Area

How to decide if a home is right for you

Bring family or friends by to tour. Sometimes those around us know us better than we do.

– Andy, Client Advisor in Seattle

If you can see yourself being happy in the home and neighborhood 2-5 years from now, it’s probably the right home for you.

– David, Client Advisor in Seattle

Compare, compare, compare. See at least 5 similar properties to understand what is a need versus a must have. Drive your work commute from your target property. 

– Michael, Client Advisor in San Francisco

Myths, busted!

You absolutely don’t need 20% down. Every month you spend saving up to hit 20% is another month you’re losing equity AND money towards rent (and lining someone else’s pocket with equity).

– Andy, Client Advisor in Seattle

It’s a misconception that you can’t buy on your own in the Bay (that you must have a significant other due to cost). Start with a more affordable area as an investment. This way you can build equity for a future purchase.

– Amanda, Marketing in San Francisco

People think list prices correlate to the seller’s price expectations or sales price. They do not!

– Michael, Client Advisor in San Francisco

Mistakes you can avoid

One of the most common mistakes I see is buyers wanting to see homes before they’re approved  for financing to know how much or little they can afford.

– Tiffany, Tour Specialist in Seattle

It’s a mistake to not be underwritten before making an offer. Buying a home is a financial decision. It’s the biggest financial decision you will make, so make sure you have underwriting letters from at least ONE lender before you make an offer. I recommend working with at least 3 lenders of your choice. Don’t just get pre-approved, you have to get an underwriting anyway after getting under the contract, why not do it beforehand, have the commitment from the lenders and save yourself the stress after you are under contract.

– Mehar, Client Advisor in Seattle

Don’t assume getting a loan will be quick or that submitting 99% of paperwork is sufficient enough for a loan approval.  One missing document can delay the entire process.

– Cyrus, Client Advisor in San Mateo

The very first thing you should do

Truly know what makes you happy and what are your long term plans.  Just because a property is a good deal doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the right home for you.  I’m actually in this boat as I own a condo but just had a kid a few months ago so have been thinking of the future. So taking my own advice, instead of looking outward, looking inward as to what are my long term goals.

– Cyrus, Client Advisor in San Mateo

First and foremost, one should get pre-qualified for loan before beginning to look, because when you find THE house you will be that much ahead of the game. The loan process takes time, oftentimes the houses don’t last that long on the market.

– Eva, Tour Specialist in Bay Area

Understand renovation prices to see if a fixer upper is right for you. 

– Michael, Client Advisor in San Francisco

Tour homes in neighborhoods you hadn’t previously considered. Many clients are surprised at the variety of neighborhoods the Greater Seattle area has to offer and how much they might like something they hadn’t previously considered.

– Andy, Client Advisor in Seattle

In the home buying journey, a home that you like in a listing will disappoint you and a home that you had a mild interest in will exceed your expectations.  When in doubt, tour the home. It is difficult to gauge the personality of a home through pictures and words.

– Scott, Client Advisor in San Jose

Bonus knowledge from our Home Inspection Manager

Some buyers assume that if an item is listed on a home inspection that it is a requirement of the seller to address or repair the deficiency, but this is not true. 

 A general home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property to identify items that are materially defective or considered a health and safety concern. The report is created to inform the buyer of the general condition of a property at the time of the inspection. This report can in some cases (if it is a contingency offer) be used as a negotiating tool to request items be repaired or replaced, or request for a monetary adjustment of the price of the home.

The other misconception of some buyers and agents alike is that inspections are conducted based on current building codes. This is also not entirely true. We have a general knowledge of building codes that relate to safety within a home. It is not reasonable to expect all homes to meet the current codes. I often explain it in this way. If you want to buy a 1960s muscle car, it will likely have no power steering, power brakes, air bags or in some cases even a seat belt. It would be unreasonable to ask a car dealership to make these modifications to bring that car up to today’s standards. This is also the case with an older home.

– Stanton, Home Inspection Manager in Seattle

Let’s find your home!

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