Advice to Buyers

Real Estate Agent with Renown Realty and Property Management BRE# 01762146

So you are looking to buy a house. One thing to remember is that if you are looking for a place to live, you are buying a home not a bargain. If all you look for is the best deal you won’t be happy in your deal versus your home.

Now there are some things to think about. First off you can always fix the house but you can’t fix the neighborhood so choose wisely. If you have children or are planning on having children, make sure the school district is up to par. You can check Great Schools to get information. You can also check the neighborhood crime statistics at and These sites can help you make sure your neighborhood is right for you.

Now it’s time to think about the house. What are you looking for? If you are single this part is easy. If you are married then it’s a little harder. I suggest that you make a list. Sit down and brainstorm what you want in a house. Things such as how many bedrooms do you need? Bathrooms? Pool? Granite? Bonus rooms? One or two stories? Etc. Next you need to prioritize the list. I suggest you break it up into 4 categories.

  1. Must haves – These are deal breakers. If it doesn’t have these features, we are not interested.
  2. Would likes – These are not deal breakers but you would really like them. They help you decide which house is better.
  3. Ok if it had – These are features that will help in a tie breaker. They are nice but not needed.
  4. Definitely don’t want – These are also deal breakers. You do not want these features. Some people, for example, do not want a pool.

Now its time to think about your time frame. How much time do you have to buy your home? Typical escrows usually take 45 days or more. They biggest delay is usually with the lender, which is on your side of the deal. If you are in a hurry cash is king. If you, like most of us, don’t have the cash then you know you need to wait the typical timeline. Also if you are in a hurry to move, then do not waste your time with short sales, they take too long. Sure they can be a good deal, but you have to wait, typically 60 days or more. Sometimes its 60 days just to hear from the bank and then the escrow time after. Some short sales require a deposit with no guarantee that the sale will even be approved. Also you may have to start all the inspections before you have bank approval, which means money out of your pocket with not guarantee. So if you’re pressed for time, stick with standard and REO sales.

If you have time to wait and find the perfect home for your family, then go for the short sale. Again you can get a good deal you just have to be patient. More short sales are being approved now then even before. Banks now have more staff to deal with them since they finally figured out that they are better than foreclosures. Also there are government programs that can help speed up the process, such as HAFA short sales. Also many banks have learned to streamline the process and there are even websites to help speed things up.

Once you have done all the above things you are ready to talk to a Realtor. Armed with the information above you can let your Realtor know what you are looking for. It will help them find the right home for you based on your timeline. They are search for features you want and exclude those you don’t want. It is always better to use a Realtor since they have access to the MLS, a property data base that is the most up to date listing service out there. Many websites you access have outdated or missing listing.

Now it’s time to go looking for the right home. Bring your lists to help you decide on the right home. Also before you put in an offer, ask your agent for a cost analysis. Ultimately it is up to you how much to offer, the realtor can help a little but its your money, better to have some info before you spend it. Also do not rely to much on sites like zillow as they are often off on their appraisals since the market changes faster than there program can deal with.

Hopefully this will help you find the right home. If you are looking in the Inland Empire contact me and I will help you find a home.

Comments (24)

Ann Hayden 636-399-7544
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties-St. Louis Missouri - Chesterfield, MO


A buyer should really check out where they are thinking of buying....

Ann Hayden in Wildwood, MO

Nov 02, 2011 05:00 PM
Vickie Nagy
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate - Palm Springs, CA
Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen

I had a buyer once that definitely did not want a pool. He found a home online and asked me why I hadn't brought it to his attention as it was 'simply perfect'. Told him it had a pool and he was crestfallen, but wanted to view it anyway. Guess what? We wrote it up!

Nov 02, 2011 05:03 PM
Donald Reich
Prudential Centennial - New Rochelle, NY

Great post Bryan. You hit the nail on the head with this one!

Nov 02, 2011 05:03 PM
George Bennett
Inactive - Port Orford, OR
Inactive Principal Broker, GRI

Thanks for posting. You have provided professional advice and presented it in a clear and concise blog. Well done.

Nov 02, 2011 05:09 PM
Bryan Stephens
Renown Realty and Property Management - La Sierra, CA
Looking for Homes in the IE Call Today - Inland Em

Thank you all for the great comments.  Vickie that's why I advise them to make a check list and compare.  They may thinks its a definite no but when compared to the other amenities they may and as with your client do change their minds.  Again thank you all for your feedback.

Nov 02, 2011 06:10 PM
Ira Bodenstein
PNC Mortgage - Montclair, NJ
NMLS#: 445143

Great Advise!  We have all seen buyers who never buy because all things they desire don't fit into their box.  Life is full of compromises and home owning is not different. Too many Buyers think they are buying an investment as housing prices have constantly gone up until the last several years. Welcome to the new normal.

Nov 03, 2011 08:43 AM
Diane Dames
Broker Associate & Leasing Consultant@ Lions Share Realty - Victorville, CA
The Real Estate Chick

Very good advice. Another thing that many first time buyers are not aware of is that using a Realtor doesnt cost them. Many buyers come to me and ask me how much do I charge to find them a home. It still baffles me everytime.

Nov 03, 2011 09:07 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

A post with the ABC's of buying a home. I would have included the agent a little earlier in the scheme to help get another opinion on some of the needs.

Nov 03, 2011 09:48 AM
PRG Real Estate - San Jose, CA
VA Home Loan Specialist - SF Bay Area

I like the break down of things a buyer wants, does not want or could live with or without. Great Read

Nov 03, 2011 10:49 AM
Emily Lowe
The Lipman Group | Sotheby's International Realty - Nashville, TN
Nashville TN Realtor

Great advice to buyers!  Congrats on the feature!

Nov 03, 2011 12:00 PM
Lang Premier Properties
Lang Premier Properties - Clawson, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Group

I am right with you about Zillow.  When people mention that to me, I just laugh.  I even have a graph that shows the inaccuracy that Zillow has with the Metro Detroit regions and I use this in my listing presentaions because I had so many people tell me - Well Zillow said my home was worth...

They come to us because this is our profession, but don't want to listen to what we have to say sometimes.  Always gets me!


Benjamin Lang


Nov 03, 2011 12:10 PM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Too many wants, while overlooking the needs does one thing, limit their options.  If they are so adament about what they will not settle for, they are focusing on the wrong issues: what they will.

Nov 03, 2011 02:15 PM
Bryan Stephens
Renown Realty and Property Management - La Sierra, CA
Looking for Homes in the IE Call Today - Inland Em

Again thank you all for the comments.  I am glad you find it helpful.

Nov 03, 2011 03:14 PM
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Hi Bryan, you have really broken this down and have covered it all. Nice job.     

Nov 03, 2011 06:07 PM
Ellie McIntire
Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate - Ellicott City, MD
Luxury service in Central Maryland

Sometimes buyers do miss the big picture and get totally blinded by getting "a deal". I have seen many miss out on great homes because of this.

Nov 04, 2011 12:47 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Bryan, good point about breaking it down into four categories. Being realistic in expectations will also help narrow down the search. Good points.

Nov 04, 2011 02:27 AM
Rosalind Nicholas
RE/MAX Condos Plus Corporation, Brokerage - Toronto, ON
Toronto Condo Real Estate Agent, Toronto ON

Thank you for sharing. Yes, there are buyers in the marketplace making ‘looking for a deal’ more important; than giving more thought, to the fact, that it is going to be their home.

Nov 04, 2011 03:15 AM
Gabrielle Jeans
WebTech Dezine, Gabrielle Jeans Real Estate Coach - Toronto, ON
Real Estate Web Solution, Real Estate Trainer and Coach

Great advice Bryan. I agree that Must haves are deal breakers. They are essential parts of your homes and they do have to be realistic. If you live in a city that has no winter, a fireplace is not a must-have. Thanks for sharing

Nov 04, 2011 09:10 AM
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
This is great advice for buyers. Armed with their preferences and needs, a real estate professional is the key to narrowing their search!
Nov 04, 2011 03:59 PM
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services Inc - Gulf Breeze, FL
Buyers Agent 800-309-3414 Pace and Gulf Breeze,Fl.

I don't know that zillow is ever right here they will have waterfront mixe din with non-waterfront because they are close to each other.

Nov 21, 2011 01:41 PM