Today’s real estate market is nothing if not unpredictable, so whether or not you’re a first-time buyer, it’s good to be prepared before diving in. Here are a few top tips for those in the market to buy or sell a home: 

  1. Get a really good real estate agent.
    You need someone who is knowledgeable and a great communicator. They will be guiding you through this whole process.
  2. Be prepared.
    It is best to use a local loan officer who will let you know how much they can lend you, so you will have realistic expectations when you go to look.
  3. You will need a pre-approval letter from the bank when submitting any offer.
  4. Realize that the price you see of a home is the starting point.
    Since there is a scarcity of inventory, there will more than likely be multiple offers.
  5. Hold your options with an open hand.
    You might not get the first home you put an offer on. Do your best and try not to get too disappointed if it takes a while.
  6. You are probably not going to find your “10.”
    With your wish list, also know what your deal breakers are. Have a good idea of what your budget can afford.
  7. You will need to put down earnest money within a few days after your offer is accepted, which is normally held by the title company.
    You are risking this if the home passes the contingencies, and you change your mind to buy it.
  8. You might have to waive some or all of your contingencies in order to get an offer accepted in a multiple offer situation.
    That means the inspection you were hoping for may not happen before you buy the house.
  9. Love letters to the seller still work.
    When a seller is looking at similar offers and you have a personal letter to them about how much you love their home, that might just sway them in your direction.
  10. Remember that the seller pays the commission for the buyers’ and sellers’ agent, unless otherwise agreed upon.
  11. A buyer is responsible for paying for the inspection and appraisal.
  12. If a house doesn’t appraise, you have options.
    You could come up with the difference of price yourself or the seller could come down in price. You could also get another appraisal. If none of these are agreed upon, you might have the option to walk away and get your earnest money back.
  13. Try to enjoy the process.
    Buying a house is very stressful and nerve wracking– but remember it can be fun and exciting as well! Enjoy the ride and keep an open mind.
  14. When you go to sign for the home, you still have to wait for it to close.
    That means that the title and money need to be transferred. This can be a day or two.
  15. A seller legally has until 9 p.m. to get out of the house the day that it closes.
    Once that happens, you get the keys and it is all yours. Welcome home! 

Windermere Real Estate, 515 W. Bakerview Rd., 360.734.7500  Bellingham,