In general, the type of service provided by real estate agents is similar. What sets me apart from other agents, earning me high marks and recommendations from my past clients, is the fact that I take buyer real estate service to the next level. Take a look through my buyer services and you’ll see why I’m the best Realtor® for buyers in the Austin market. See below for more information on the ways we can help you.
Locating the Right Property for You
Have you ever worked with a real estate agent who showed you where to search for properties then told you to call them when you find what you want to see? That’s what we’d call Level 1 service. I have been recommended highly by my past buyer clients because I provide a much higher level of property search services!
– Yes, I provide a search page on my site, but I do more for my buyers. I provide help in knowing how to use the search for optimal results, including explaining some of the information fields and real estate jargon.
– Once I know the characteristics and neighborhoods that you want for your property, I create a custom search for you that will alert you with emails when new listings that meet your criteria hit the market. It will also alert you to price reductions.
Getting The Best Financing
Finding the right home for you is the primary goal but finding a lower payment and better mortgage terms is a very important secondary goal. I’ve researched and worked with many mortgage brokers and lenders in the Austin real estate markets and I’ll help you to contact those that are the best fit for you and your financial picture.
The normal mortgage for working families– Just because there’s nothing unusual about your income stream and you receive a paycheck every week, doesn’t mean there won’t be different mortgages and lenders for your needs. Every mortgage broker and most lenders tend to work within their own requirements and procedures and these may or may not be the friendliest terms for a salaried or hourly wage earner. I know which lenders will treat you right and give you the best terms and I’ll guide you to them.
The self–employed borrower– Since the mortgage and housing crisis of 2007 it’s become a grueling process for a business owner or self–employed person to get a mortgage. Documentation of income and expenses is much more detailed and I’m up–to–date on all of it. I’ll steer you toward multiple sources for great mortgages for the self–employed.
Less than stellar credit– All types of lenders have become tougher in our new financial environment and it’s easy to get a ding or two on your credit. It doesn’t even take a mistake or late payment, as credit scores are reduced for the amount and ratio of debt as well as types of debt. Millions of people pay their bills on time and still don’t have those high-end credit scores. I know the lenders in the Austin, Buda, Cedar Park, Georgetown, Hutto, Kyle, Lakeway, Leander, Pflugerville, and Round Rock real estate markets ready to provide good mortgages for those not-so-stellar credit scores and I’ll tell you who they are.
ARMs and When They’re Appropriate – Though most residential home buyers are buying a home they intend to occupy for a number of years, this isn’t always the case. ARMs, Adjustable Rate Mortgages, are appropriate if your plan is to own a home for five to seven years or less. Because the lender is tying up their money for a shorter defined time period, they loan at lower interest rates. In some cases, ARMs can result in hundreds of dollars of savings per month. They can also allow a buyer to qualify for a larger home loan. A word of caution: when the ARM’s fixed rate interest period is over, rates can escalate more than expected.
Financial Disclosure and Deal-To-Closing Considerations– After the mortgage and housing crisis of 2007, lenders and their underwriters are scrutinizing financial, income and expense information much more closely than ever before. Be prepared to dig out a lot of documentation and it’s best to be forthcoming with any financial information that impacts your ability to pay the mortgage payment. Be prepared for questions and requests for documents throughout the process. Also, it’s highly recommended that you not add to any credit card or other debt between the purchase contract and the closing. Most lenders will do another credit check and a check for any liens or encumbrances just before closing.
Watch the Fees and Question Them – There are a number of fees associated with getting a mortgage and the total of origination and other fees is usually the highest closing cost aggregate item in the deal. Never hesitate to ask about all fees, why they’re charged, why they’re a certain amount and how they’re calculated. It’s your money and you’re the customer!
I love helping Austin area real estate buyers find the perfect property. Even more, I love the ways in which I can help them buy it at the very best price with the very best terms. Sometimes negotiations are not all about price. A great contract can involve other seller concessions that create the right deal for my buyer clients.
Real estate market data– How can you be expected to make price offer decisions in a vacuum? I spend a great amount of time and effort collecting market data to help my buyers in their price negotiations. This involves looking not only at sold property prices but also considering current listing prices to determine the level of competition in a neighborhood or market. This data is very thorough and it’s called a Comparative (or Competitive) Market Analysis. It is the comparison of the property you’re considering to similar properties recently sold in the nearby area. This gives me a firm grip on what has happened in the recent past but “past” data may not be as accurate as it was when you were in negotiations. I then do another CMA process on current listings similar to the one under consideration and in the same neighborhood or nearby. This gives me a current market snapshot so that I can adjust my valuation model and the offer to reflect the current market situation.
Thorough knowledge of your situation– Only through constant communication can I advise you properly in price negotiations. By understanding your motivations and financial capabilities I can help you craft a price negotiation strategy with the highest probability of success.
Seller motivation research– While it’s not always legally possible to determine why someone is selling there are things I can glean from their listing and price activity that will allow me to help you negotiate from a position of strength.
It’s not all money– There are many ways to negotiate a real estate deal, and they don’t always involve money. Perhaps the seller doesn’t have a lot of ability to work with you on price but they can make other concessions that could result in a deal. I’ll help you determine the best approach.
It’s not over till it’s over– Many real estate price negotiations involve multiple counter offers and a lot of back–and–forth. I’m with you for the duration and will help adjust your negotiation strategy accordingly. Some buyers are elated when they cut a major low-priced deal on a home but then after inspections, they hit a repair-related brick wall in negotiations with the seller. I can’t always know exactly what will happen. The negotiation doesn’t always end with the price in the contract and it’s important to know that a great deal at the front end could result in less flexibility after inspections. The thing to remember is that I’ll be right there by your side throughout the negotiation process with the latest information, experience, and advice.
Inspections and Repairs
Many buyers forget that the price isn’t the only or the last negotiation point in a real estate purchase. There are a number of contingencies and processes that happen before closing and one that frequently causes deals to evaporate is the inspection and repair negotiation process.
Inspections in a real estate deal encompass many property aspects:-Structure-Roof-Mechanical equipment-Plumbing-Electrical-Pests & insect infestation-Mold & other environmental hazards-Wells & water quality-Septic systems while your deal may not require them all and some may be combined and provided by a single inspector, it’s my job to help you to order the proper inspections, schedule them and make sure they’re completed on time. Failure to complete inspections and object to their results by deadline dates can result in the buyer’s inability to take any action based on the late results. I make sure that this doesn’t happen. Inspections can sometimes lead to the discovery of issues you weren’t expecting and want to have addressed by the seller. This is the second negotiation in the contract process. I review inspection results with my buyers and prepare the documentation required to request seller action and corrections. Sellers do not normally have an obligation to undertake corrective action so this negotiation is critical, especially if the problems are significant.I’m here for my buyers to assist in these negotiations. Aside from selling price, inspections and subsequent repairs are the biggest killers of real estate deals. Sometimes I have to get creative to keep a home deal moving when the seller balks at repair or corrective action requests. I’m an expert, I do this every day. Also, I maintain an extensive list of contractors so we can get any job done right and at a price that’s right for the seller. The key to keeping a deal going with inspection problems is for me to be involved in every step of the way. I have a great deal of experience in these situations. I will make sure that every resource is employed to keep your home purchase on track and gain every possible concession from the sellers
Level 1 real estate service would be delivering you the title research documents and insurance binder then leaving you to wade through the book–sized document on your own. Some agents don’t even give the documents a cursory once–over. It’s true that properties that have changed hands before generally don’t have major title issues, but you can never know for sure without a thorough reading and understanding of the documents. I won’t leave you to drown in a sea of paperwork alone. There are restrictions and covenants revealed in your Title Binder or Commitment package which you may not have known when you made your offer. Though you may have read disclosure documents or even a copy of subdivision or condominium covenants, there may have been changes. The only way to find out is to read your title insurance binder’s copy of the documents which will include the latest documents recorded at the courthouse. You may also find some recent filings related to obligations of the homeowner association that could result in future expensive assessments. Any covenants and restrictions you notice in these documents that may restrict your use of the property in a way that causes you to reconsider your purchase would be important and you’ll not want to miss them. Let’s say that you have a recreational vehicle and intend to park it on your property. Maybe you even plan on creating a shed for it. Any restriction of these actions would be important to you and I’m committed to helping you to uncover every important item in your title insurance documents. At the front of the title (or commitment) insurance binder, there are two sections that summarize what’s included and can give you a quick overview to guide you to the subjects of most concern. These two sections are the “Requirements” and the “Exceptions.” Requirements are things the title company says must be done or criteria met before title insurance will be issued. Generally, these are pretty cut-and-dried, such as the seller paying off any mortgages or liens against the property, paying current taxes due, etc. The “Exceptions” are where you’ll find the things that could be a problem for you such as those restrictions we discussed above. However, some people aren’t quite up-to-speed on what an exception is and what it means if an item is excepted. Most of the benefit of title insurance comes from protection from threats to your ownership or things that come up about property lines or encroachments. When something is already recorded at the courthouse the title company will not cover you against it in the future as it’s a “done deal” and it normally can’t be changed. If they say you can’t store that RV, then you can’t claim damages later when you try to do so. Anything that’s already of record will be “excepted,” and you just need to be sure that there isn’t anything in that pile of papers you can’t live with. You’re the customer and your money is making this deal work so don’t be shy about asking any and all questions you have about the documents, requirements, and exceptions in the title binder. There are deadlines for objections to what you find that could result in the deal dying so don’t hesitate to get right to the examination of this document and the attachments.
Contract to Closing
It’s both exciting and stressful negotiating a real estate purchase contract. Once it’s signed by the sellers buyers can relax a bit but I can’t. There are still more negotiations, document deliveries, inspections, title details and mortgage tasks to be accomplished to reach a successful closing and walk away with the keys to your new real estate property.
There are more than 50 specific due dates and tasks on an average transaction checklist, the most important of which include:
-Post contract delivery of documents to the title company and ordering of a title binder or commitment.-Deposit of earnest money and delivery of receipt to the buyer client.-Helping my buyers to order inspections, coordinating them and providing access to ensure they’re completed on time.-Coordinating timely delivery of any documents objecting to disclosures, inspection results or title binder issues discovered.-Coordinating appraisal and appraiser access.-Working with mortgage company and coordinating delivery of documents they require.-Assisting my buyers with any negotiations related to contingencies, inspections or documents.-Constant monitoring of status of all processes at the title company.There are a number of companies and people involved in a real estate transaction including attorneys, surveyors, appraiser, title company, mortgage broker, lender, loan underwriter, both agents and possibly others. Each has specific duties and requirements and each is concentrating on doing a good job for you. However, their focus is narrow and targeted on their specific niche in the deal. As your buyer agent I’m your “go-to” resource to bring it all together. I’m here to coordinate the activities of all of these companies and people for you.I’m constantly monitoring those 50+ document delivery items and the work done by these people. We check the progress daily against contractual deadlines and act on our project requirements. A lot of this activity goes on behind the scenes and you’re not even bothered. Some of it requires that we contact you and request documents or actions. Please understand that my overriding goal is a smooth transaction and helping you meet each deadline is part of my job. I’ll only bother you when necessary letting you know what I need and when moving you towards a successful closing. There is much more than what’s listed above involved in the process but those are the highlights. Many subtasks are related to each of them. I’m obsessed with proper follow–up and detailed coordination of every step of the closing process for my buyer clients. It’s critical that I make all deadlines and keep the transaction on track to avoid defaulting on any terms of the contract. I’ll keep your real estate transaction on track and you’ll have the time and advice you need to assure you’ve covered all of the bases prior to closing.
If you are interested in more information about this process please fill out the form below and I will be in touch! We also offer a free, no obligation buyer consultation if you are ready to take the next steps.