I have been approached quite a few times this year by first time home buyers, and it has been great! I love the excitement and energy from them. They are finally taking that big step to their dreams…and then I squash them. Not always, of course, but usually. I mean, they have probably been binge watching House Hunters and spending hours on Zillow shopping out of their price range. Then I come in with the number one question. Have you looked at your finances? 90% of the time they say no. I find that fascinating! We as a culture love home shopping…it’s literally at our fingertips, but does anyone ever talk about what it actually takes to buy a home? Nope. The fantasy of our dream home is way better.
This is when I get real. What does your credit look like? Have you ever spoken to a loan officer before? Do you have an idea of a down payment amount? Do you have money available for earnest money, home inspections, and appraisals like right now? Do you know what those things are that I just asked you? How is your debt-to-income ratio? Do you know what that means? This is when it gets freaky people. I am asking them to look at their own personal finances in the face. Terrifying. Some people do not get past this step. I get it, it’s hard. But knowing what they can afford is really the only way to begin shopping. Looking outside their price point will only bum them out. There is no point in falling in love with something they can’t have. I have broken their hearts, but for the better. Now it’s time to be realistic. We have a preapproval from a reputable loan officer, and we are ready to shop!
But are we? Next question. Where do you want to live? This is another one that 50% of the time they don’t know! Price point will help depict where you can live, but I also find it fascinating people do not always know exactly where they want to be! They have a dream home in their mind, but they can’t afford it and they sure as hell don’t know where it is. We have all heard it: location, location, location…because it is true, true, true. You can change almost anything about a home except for where it is. Being a homeowner means being a part of a community and paying towards it. You will now pay property taxes. That money goes towards schools, park districts, roads, public services, etc. You should care about and fully understand where your money goes.
One last thing before we look, how is the functionality of the space? What are they looking for in a home? I do want to know their dream home fantasy. That will help me, and I will get them as many things as possible from that dream home. But we need to focus on functionality in the correct price point. How will this property work for my client? Can it work? This is my favorite part. This is when I get to really know people, their families, their jobs, their lifestyle, their hobbies, their commute, their eating/sleeping habits, their disagreements, their senses of humor (or lack thereof) …I mean we already got past the uncomfortable finance part, so tell me everything else about you. The better I know you, the better I can help you find a home that best fits your needs. Whatever that may be. I once had a home search based entirely on a pool table fitting in the living room. That was the most important thing to them. You do you, and please tell me about you.
Before we have crossed the threshold of any property, I do this. I do this to protect my client. I need my client to be comfortable and KNOWLEDGEABLE. They need know where their money is going. They need to understand the transaction, or at least be prepared in what to expect. Now, they are ready to buy a home.
Lol, jk. Time to explain this market…
Julia Ziller, Broker Miscella Real Estate
For those who want to sell their home in Aurora, Geneva, Batavia, St. Charles, Wheaton, Naperville, IL, get in touch with the real estate experts at Miscella Real Estate. Their agents will guide you through every step of the selling process from pricing to closing. Call them today at (630) 232-1570 or email info(at)miscella(dotted)com.