I expect like most REALTORS I learn something from every transaction, and from every buyer and seller. Sometimes it's good stuff, and sometimes not. But there are always valuable lessons that can help improve business operations, communication, marketing, and knowledge. There are times when I don't even realize how much I have learned and the difference a particular transaction can make until after the fact.
Here are some lessons:
My blogging and Internet presence is working - there are several cases where buyers have been looking on their own, then found me on AR before we started working together.
Communication must be timely and multifaceted - email, text messaging, cell phones, home phones, and faxing have been used to keep things moving along BEFORE we found the right home and during the transaction. This was especially important when buyers are not local. And of course there was plenty of face-to-face contact during their house-hunting trips.
Buyers, especially first time buyers, need lots of information about the buying process but also the local market. Providing this information in your blog is essential, especially when the buyers are relocating. Making sure folks are prepared for what the process may involve, in particular educating them about the short sale and REO issues (many buyers are in price ranges here in SoCal where most of their options are of this type of property) they may encounter.
Don't give up - it's easy for buyers (and agents) to get frustrated when they have trouble finding a home they are willing to purchase. It's even worse once they do and your efforts are thwarted by the banks in short sale and REO situations. In several recent cases the buyers persisted and found the right home, in their price range, in move-in condition, and not a distress sale.
Be realistic - this is for you, buyers. In this market, at least our area, we are seeing multiple offers on just about every short sale and REO. BUT we are also seeing them on well-priced non-distress properties in the communities when foreclosures are rampant. You will NOT get a home like this for a below-asking offer - well, that's probably true for distress sales, too, because of the competition. Be prepared to provide as clean an offer as possible.
Be prepared to move quickly - a delay in your decision making can cost you the home. You are NOT the only person looking for a deal and there are others who are as hungry for it as you are. I have had several multiple offer situations recently.
Be prepared for appraisal issues - not to be a doomsayer, but in some areas appraisals are coming in lower due to the large number of short sales and REOs. This will mean a problem with the loan, and a need to negotiation between the parties, or more cash on the table, or walking away.
DocuSign is a great tech tool - this can be s a godsend, with all the paperwork that needs to flow back and forth very quickly. Getting DocuSign signatures via email from all parties, and having a PDF file that could be saved, is a terrific time saver.
Always be prepared for issues to arise - not sure there is any deal that doesn't have some issue come up. Some are big ones, and some are minor. Some happen at the last minute, like a delay in the funding, or incomplete paperwork. Knowing your options is important, but also recognizing that problems can and will come up. And it's not over til it's over.
ONE LAST THING - Not all first time buyers know about the $8000 tax credit. Make sure they do in case they qualify.
Real estate is a great learning environment, with valuable lessons at every corner. I could probably write a book. How about you?
If I can provide more information about San Marcos, Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.
All content copyright © 2009 Jeff Dowler Carlsbad Homes and Real Estate Tidbits