Real Estate Buyer

The Seven Habits of Experienced Homebuyers

Buying a home is a complex process

Congratulations, you decided to buy a home! Have you purchased a home before?  Buying a home is a complex process that usually takes a few months to complete.  If you’ve never been through the home buying process, do what experienced home buyers do.  It’s really pretty easy to do and there’s nothing to study. This article will show simple techniques you can use to give you the advantage over other home buyers.  While this may be your first home, you can still buy it like a pro. 

During the homebuying process, you and your real estate agent will spend a lot of time together.  At times you may even drive each other a little crazy and mostly in a good way. While it’s important to maintain a good relationship with your real estate agent, there are things you can do as a smart real estate client that will help you get your deal. 

If you’re serious about buying a home, use this as your guide. Be a smart client and you hold the advantage when buying a home.  The 7 Habits of Experienced Homebuyers will help you buy the home you want at the best price and terms. 

The 7 Habits of Experienced Homebuyers

  1. Look past aesthetics.   Whether you look at three homes or thirty before you buy, you need to look past the color of paint, carpets, furniture, and decorations because these are easily changed.  Remember that everything you see that needs replacing, repairing, cleaning, or moving has a price. Consider these prices in your negotiations should you decide to buy this home. The seller may be willing to make many of the changes you want prior to the close of escrow or give you credit to pay for them later, such as flooring, paint, or roof.  The cost to make the home like new is often easy to negotiate if both parties agree.   The lesson here is everything you want to be done, can be done — for a price. If that price isn’t right for you, keep looking. However, if the price and terms are right, be ready to act.
  2. Remain tight-lipped.    You will usually become completely comfortable with your real estate agent and observations can sometimes just slip out, such as, “Why didn’t they clean up a little.” Or, make a joke about the seller’s taste in art.  Sometimes a seller will be home and overhear such a comment, or it can be captured on home surveillance video, even if the home is vacant.   Save jokes and comments until you and your agent are back in the car.  Some sellers take negative comments or criticism of their home personally and become offended making negotiations with that seller more difficult.
  3. Be ready to act when the time comes.  Found the home you want to buy? Buy it. Don’t delay. If you’re in a competitive market like we’re experiencing today in Orange County, CA, you need to be ready to jump. Part of being ready to act is to have an agent with the experience you need in today’s competitive market made more complex due to public health policies now in place. We close this article with information about evaluating and hiring top producing local real estate agents. 
  1. Remember, there’s more on the table than money.  Of course, money is the most visible factor in buying a home, but it’s not everything. The highest-priced offer is not necessarily the offer a seller will accept, rather an offer with a better structure usually wins. I have often said, “You can set the price if I can set the terms.” Meaning price isn’t everything. A good purchase offer is a mixture of timing, price, and reasonable contingencies. Contingencies in the offer give you the option to cancel the deal if one of the contingencies isn’t met. If in negotiating, you and a seller agree to a purchase price yet you refuse to give in on your ten contingencies, you make things difficult for you, your agent, and the seller. In most cases, this would not be considered a good offer.
  2. Pay attention to what the seller wants.  You’re buying a house but you also need to remember you’re also buying a product. Buying a home isn’t like normal purchases. In real estate, the seller needs to choose you as the buyer, and sellers are motivated by a variety of needs that you, the Buyer needs to pay attention to.  Money isn’t the only motivator, though it can be in some cases. Some sellers want to see their home go to nice people who love it as much as they love it, and others simply like one buyer over another.  An experienced real estate agent will also look into the seller’s motivation.The information gathered will be used to write the best offer. For this reason you need to hire a top producing real estate agent – busy but not too busy.  Ignoring the seller’s motivation could put your offer at risk.
  3. Team loyalty.   Both sides share a mutual interest and wish to complete the sale.  Team loyalty is about keeping confidential your negotiating strengths and weaknesses; it isn’t about taking sides.  The seller’s real estate agent may be a very nice person but remember they are also gathering information about you and your motivations as a buyer.  Even friendly conversations with the other agent can reveal important negotiating issues. Inexperienced home buyers will often disclose information that will harm them when negotiations begin. “Don’t worry about the small repairs, my son will take care of it.” Or, “We’re getting a giant relocation bonus so we’re buying all new furniture.”  It’s the little, not obvious statements that will tip your cards.

Remember the listing agent’s job is to get the highest price at the best terms for his client.  It’s best to avoid all unnecessary conversations with the seller and their agent.

  1. Write a meaningful counteroffer.   It’s going to happen; a seller returns your offer with a counteroffer. A counteroffer isn’t personal and not meant to be anything more than what ii is; the next step in a normal negotiation.   A counteroffer is an important step in real estate negotiations.   A counteroffer shows that the seller is motivated to sell to you.  You have only two options with a counteroffer: (1) Accept the counteroffer. Or (2) Do not accept it and make another new offer back to the seller. If you choose this option, your job is to be reasonable.  If you counteroffer one of two things will happen…  Your agent will either begin going back and forth with the other agent which drives agents nuts, or the sellers become irritated and sell to someone else.   Of course, you don’t want to overspend. Agents already know this.   If you hired an experienced real estate professional, listen to them. Their experience combined with their insight into the seller’s motivations will help you construct a new counteroffer the seller may accept. Just remain cool.

Start smart, hire the right real estate agent.  

Experienced home buyers hire experienced real estate agents.  Hiring a local top producing real estate agent is your most important job as a home buyer.  It’s more important than ever during these trying times of strict social public health requirements you hire an experienced real estate agent. Your agent will need current experience, observing these new challenges in the way we preview and purchase homes today. 

We offer these 5 criteria as a guide for you to follow when evaluating real estate agents.  This list is based on the standards used at, an Orange County real estate agent evaluation and referral program.

  1. Hire an agent local to the area in which you wish to purchase.
  2. Hire an agent who is busy but not too busy for you.
  3. Look for an agent with 6 to 18 home sales in the past 12 months.
  4. Hire an agent who shows you proof of their home sales record for the year.
  5. Use a full time agent in good standing with the local board of Realtors.

Buying a home in Orange County, California may be a bit stressful even if you hire an experienced top producing local agent. But it can also be a lot worse if you hire the wrong real estate agent.  Be a smart real estate ‘buyer client’ by hiring the right real estate agent.

Welcome to your new home.

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