I recently had the pleasure of assisting a friend and client buy a new home in South County. I’ve known this friend for years, and I thought that we would work really well together. I was surprised, however, at how little effort he made to help himself to purchase the home. I’m not sure what he was thinking a buyer’s agent does. For example, I can’t read emails sent to my buyer from the lender if I have no copy of the email. Here are some things you can do to help yourself as a buyer when buying a home in St. Louis.
- Read your email. I don’t like email. I’m bombarded with it. But, I have to read my email if someone sends me something that is related to the purchase of a home. I thought that would be the same for my buyer. And, here’s the thing. He isn’t really old, and he has a smartphone, so I don’t really understand why he just couldn’t read an email from the lender, or from title, or from me. He wasted a significant amount of time by not reading his email. For example, if the lender sends you a loan commitment, that’s probably something worth reading. It means you will actually be able to buy the house. Also, there are loads of documents in a typical real estate transaction. It would be good if you read them. Verbally communicating is fine, but that doesn’t get documents signed.
- If the lender asks for a piece of information, get it to them quickly. Lenders have all sorts of disclosures and deadlines they are on in order to get the loan closed. The longer it takes to turn in documents, the harder it is for the lender to meet the date requirements. For example, an appraisal received by the buyer needs to be signed and returned before a closing disclosure is sent out. The longer it takes to get the appraisal signed, the shorter time the lender has to get the disclosure out. The lender is required to get that disclosure out three days before a closing.
- Communicate known issues. If you’ve recently divorced, that would be something to mention to the lender and the title company. It is likely to come up during the home buying process. I understand that it can be painful, but the sooner we get it addressed, the sooner we can move forward. If you lose your job, that’s something we need to know. I once had a client get married before selling her home, and I was very happy for her, but that changed the way title needed to do their job.
- Make an effort to learn about the property. This particular buyer never really seemed to care about anything. During the inspections he didn’t really pay attention. He did choose this property out of many others, so that was good. This is a somewhat delicate issue. Some buyers will snoop on sellers Facebook accounts, Google search them along with the address, talk to friends of friends who might know the sellers. All of that stuff is a little too much. There’s a balance between being interested in the property and stalking the sellers. Still, be interested in where the grocery store nearby is. Learn what library is closest, etc.
- If you have questions, ask them! Throughout this particular home purchase, my buyer would call me and not leave a voicemail. I don’t know if that’s the way we do things now or not, but I would call him back looking to answer questions, and he’d forgotten them by the time I’d returned his non voicemail. A simpler solution would have just been to leave a voicemail with the questions he had so that if I didn’t have the answers, I could have gotten them before I returned his call. It’s perfectly ok to have questions along the way of a home purchase.
Above are the 5 ways you can help yourself as a buyer. There’s nothing difficult on the list. Anyone can do it. My thought is what likely happens is that some buyers think that buying a house is the same as going to work, or going on a vacation, and they don’t realize that they can help themselves greatly by just making an effort.