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Tips for Home Buyers

Thinking about buying a home? Congratulations! Whether you are a first-time home buyer, upsizing or downsizing, buying a home is certainly one of life’s most exciting endeavors.

Here are some steps to get you started:

1)  Determine Your Budget – Determining your budget is the first step as everything else follows from there. Do you plan to get a loan? If so, you will want to get a pre-approval letter from a lender that will tell you exactly how much you can spend on a house. I am happy to refer you to one or more lenders if you need one. You will also need to determine how much cash you’ll need to have in the bank. This will be used to cover: a) your downpayment (at least 20% of the purchase price), b) closing costs, and c) any appraisal gap (if you offer $1,000,000 for the house and it appraises for $980,000, the lender will only lend on the appraised value and so you will need to pay the $20,000 “gap” with cash out of pocket.)

2)  Pick Location – Once you know your budget, you can start thinking about what areas you’d like to live in. What is important to you? Good schools? Quick commute? Views? Walkability? If you’re not sure which towns might be a fit, I am happy to take you on an afternoon “grand tour” of multiple towns so that you can begin to see what does and doesn’t appeal to you. This will help you to hone in on a few areas.

3)  Go to Open Houses – Once you know your budget and target locations, you can start going to open houses. I can put you on an auto-alert that will send you relevant homes. I am happy to accompany you to open houses, if you like, or to show you homes by appointment. If you generally like what you are seeing, fantastic! You can begin to hone in on the exact things you like: home style, lot size, street, neighborhood, etc. If you’re not crazy about what you’re seeing, you may need to revisit either budget or location. If that’s not possible, then start to get clear about your “must haves” vs “nice to haves” and focus on what is truly most important to you. It can take some exploring to find the sweet spot for house/location/price, but it’s all part of the process and if you stick with it, you will find a great home in the end!

4)  Get to Know the Market – Once you have identified some serious prospects, start to get to familiar with the market and pricing strategies. In Silicon Valley's appreciating market, it is common to price homes around or just below the most recent comp to attract multiple offers that will take the house up to its market value. This can be sometimes be 10%-30% above the list price. Once you start tracking the sales, you will see that there is some method to the madness. I will provide you with market comps and will offer my opinion on likely sale prices for any homes that interest you.

5) Make Offers and Get the House – Once you know what you want and have some market savvy, it’s time to make an offer! (or maybe a few offers.) I will coach you on how to best make a winning offer.

6)  Move In – Once you have closed on your wonderful new house, you’ll get to move in and take on all the exciting responsibilities of being a homeowner. If there are repairs or upgrades you’d like to do, I am happy to refer you to my favorite contractors who will help you to get everything done.

I welcome you to contact me at (650) 847-0432 or tamara.pulsts@cbnorcal.com to discuss your specific situation and home-buying goals. I look forward to speaking with you. Let's get you a great house!