Being completely unprepared won't cut it in today's real estate market
I received a call yesterday from a nice lady who wanted to see some homes while she was in town on vacation. This is a fairly common occurrence in a vacation areas such as Central Florida. Folks save for years in hopes of vacationing here and seeing Disney and Universal Studios along with all the other attractions. So its fairly common for folks who want to buy a home in the Disney area to want to do their home viewing while they are here on vacation.
What some folks don't realize is that they need to be prepared and plan ahead accordingly. Right now the real estate inventory in Central Florida is exceedingly low and it is very tough to get an offer accepted. If you are not prepared you are practicing an exercise in futility. When I asked about whether she was preapproved for a mortgage or whether she was paying cash, she hadn't even thought about it. Of course my first thought was that maybe she wasn't really looking to buy a home. However, through further conversation I found that she was indeed serious about purchasing a home and planned to use cash. She just hadn't gotten herself prepared for the situation at all.
Her plan was to just come down to Florida and see some houses, decide what to buy, and then make an offer once she got home from her vacation. Unfortunately that is an unrealistic goal in today's market. Almost every listing is selling in less than 2 weeks if priced anywhere close to reasonable. Some are selling quickly even if they are priced too high. Almost all of the homes we look at will likely be sold by the time she gets back home.
We discussed all of this and it turns out she really doesn’t have the ability to make an offer right now because her money is tied up in various other places. Of course I’ll try to help as best I can, but this situation isn’t going to end up leading to a successful purchase. She is probably 3 weeks from being able to provide proof of funds with her offer (which is required with all offers) and by that time the homes she has looked at won’t be on the market anymore. Then she won’t be able to come down and visit again to view more homes. So lack of preparation might have cost her the ability to purchase a home while the market is ripe.
Some people will elect to go ahead and purchase a home site unseen but many folks want to see what they are buying before they commit. I don’t blame them for that. However, if that’s the case then preparation is key. If you are in this situation there are some things you need to do to prepare.
1. Select an agent and stay in touch with them about your plans so that they can make proper arrangements for your viewings.
2. Have your proof of funds ready to go so that your agent can present it with your offer. It needs to be on file with your agent prior to viewings. It will also need to be in US currency. Most banks (the ones selling those cheap foreclosures) will not accept proof of funds in other currencies so if your funds aren’t in US currency...take care of that ahead of time. **Caution, this applies to cash buyers. If you need financing you should not move your funds around until you've consulted with your lender.
3. If you are getting a mortgage you need to be pre approved prior to going out and looking at any homes. This is only common sense since who knows how much financing you qualify for until you ask a lender. And if you don’t know how much you qualify for how do we know how much home you can by. The horse needs to be in front of the cart so to speak. Preapproval...then house hunting.
4. Last but not least, make a short list of the homes you are interested in and give them to your agent at least 24 hours prior to your appointment so that he can make the arrangements. Some homes are lived in and will require 24 hours notice before being shown.
That’s it folks. It’s that easy to get prepared for success. Follow that advice and your chances of securing a home in this tough seller’s market will be greatly increased. Good luck and of course if you need some help just let me know. All the best.