Lessons Learned in Buying and Refinancing my Homes
As a Carlsbad Realtor I have, for years, worked with many buyers and sellers (plus for 3 years back in Boston), and a good number of relocations here from out of the area or out of state. My wife and I have bought and sold 10 primary homes over the years, along with 2 vacation homes on Cape Cod (the one above is our first, in Brewster, MA) and a business condo, so I’ve learned a few lessons and thought I would share them about how to buy a home or how to sell a home.
EMOTIONS RUN HIGH WHEN BUYING AND SELLING
Having been through multiple purchases and sales, 2 here in California, I truly understand what it’s like to go through the process of buying and selling. Just because I do this for a living doesn’t mean I’m immune to all the emotions and stress that come with selling your home and buying another; I bought and sold 6 homes even before I became licensed so I gained some pretty good practical knowledge as a buyer and seller, and had a few tough learning experiences that have help me in other purchase, but also can benefit you.
I’ve been in your shoes multiple times, including buying and selling simultaneously as well as going through 4 major relocations (the latest from Boston to California). It’s tough, emotional, and very time consuming. Even when you know what to expect, as I do, there is still lots of anxiety and stress, especially when things don’t go the way you expect, which sadly is not unusual. That said, there are plenty of wonderful and exciting moments when buying a home.
BUYING AND SELLING IS SORTA LIKE FLYING
When you fly these days you know there could be a delay before you take off, but you don’t know sometimes until the last minute nor how long a delay it will be.
You can also expect there will be some turbulence, but you don’t know exactly when it will hit or how long it will last, even if the pilot tells you to expect it (but it’s nice to know it’s coming). Not knowing causes some anxiety, and then when it happens, wow, do those emotions take off –especially with delays. Plus there is plenty of frustration because you can’t control it.
As in real estate, one delay can lead to another problem. You should expect that things can happen, mistakes may be made, and unexpected delays may pop up. You won’t like it when they do, but at least you won’t be staring through rose-colored glasses expecting perfection. Having someone you trust at your side – your lender, your agent – can help prepare for problems and weather any turbulence.
VERIFY, VERIFY, AND VERIFY
It’s nice to trust but there are definitely things that should be verified during your due diligence. After all it can significantly affect you, either as a buyer or seller, if you don’t, in particular those matters which are important. When we bought our first home in CA the seller, and agent, stated that there was a gas line in the kitchen for the stove (which was electric) when asked.
We neglected to verify this when we toured the home and did not attend the inspection since we were back in Boston and didn’t request someone else check on our behalf. It was a stupid mistake and we never should have trusted. We ordered a new gas stove and when they came to install, guess what? No gas line. It cost $1500 to have a new one installed from the gas line in the garage (up through the attic and down the kitchen wall). There are all sorts of things to verify during a transaction and making assumptions rather than verifying can hurt!
ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS, AND THEN ASK SOME MORE
There’s a ton of stuff to know, and even after buying and selling a lot of homes in 4 states, and working with buyers and sellers for 14 years I keep learning more every day. Even with all I know and have seen, there are always new problems and issues that come up that are new to me, both in my own personal real estate dealings and when helping my clients.
I’ve learned you just can’t ask too many questions, and in real estate I don’t believe ignorance is bliss, as they say. Whoever said that neer bought or sold their home!
BE PROMPT WITH PAPERWORK AND RESPONDING TO QUESTIONS
There are plenty of deadlines in real estate contracts, and I’ve learned, both in my own purchases and sales and working with clients, that you just can’t ignore these deadlines.
And getting paperwork done promptly not only gets it off YOUR back but helps keep the process moving. This is especially important with mortgages which can require a ton of paperwork – you may be surprised if you haven’t gotten a loan recently how much documentation you may need to provide.
SOMETIMES IT PAYS TO BE A NAG
That’s not intended to sound rude or negative, but whether you refer to it as being a squeaky wheel, a nag, or just being persistent, sometimes you have just to do it. When you aren’t getting the information you need, have to have an answer to an important question, or someone said they would follow-up or do this or that but didn’t, it’s time for that phone call, and a follow-up email.
People get busy, forget, run into their own delays, or may not be the best communicators, but as the buyer or seller you have a vested interest in keeping things moving along and meeting those deadlines. No need to be rude, but following up with a reminder, and a request for the information or answer is in your best interest as the buyer or seller.
KEEP YOUR OVERALL GOAL IN MIND
I’ve learned over the years…most of the time...to not get bogged down in a transaction and to keep focused on what the end goal is, buying or selling the house so you can move on with your life. I’ve had plenty of low offers, difficult people or agents on the other side, petty situations that blew up, delays that made no sense and could have been prevented, mistakes in paperwork, and moments when I simply wanted to say “forget it”...there’s those emotions again!
There are times it’s easy to find it hard to move past certain issues but the overall goal, to move with you life, whatever that means, puts the little things in perspective and can allow things to move forward.
I’d love to put my practical, personal and business experience to work for you AND help you with any turbulence that might come along if you are buying and selling in Carlsbad or elsewhere in the North San Diego County area.
Why not give me a call at (760) 840-1360 so I can answer any questions you might have?