If you’re in the market for a Ferrari 485, first off, lucky you. More importantly, we probably don’t need to tell you that you might want to take it for a test drive before plopping down the more than $270,000 it would take to bring one home.
Whether it’s a Ferrari or a Nissan Versa, test driving a vehicle before you buy makes sense. While merely riding around is good, having an expert look at the engine is better. That Ferrari might purr nicely in the moment, but an expert can tell you if there’s something major about to break.
This is precisely why it’s a good idea to have an expert Realtor with you when you start your home-buying search. If you’ve made the decision to buy – and, of course, you’ve already been pre-qualified for a mortgage so you know how much you can afford, right? – your next step might be to head out to some open houses. These are events staged by those representing the people who want to sell their home. Think of it as similar to checking out the Ferrari in the showroom. The dealer has put the car in the exact right position to catch your eye, it’s under the best possible lighting, and it’s shined up awfully pretty.
But again, all the stuff underneath is what counts. And so it goes with a house.
We can’t emphasize enough how valuable it is for you to have representation when you go to an open house. Sure, you can ask the car dealer if you can check out the mechanics of that Ferrari while it’s in the showroom, but if you’re not a car expert, well, it’ll look like just a bunch of hoses and mechanical stuff.
Here are the Top 3 things the expert Realtors at The Allen Brake Team look for when they accompany their clients to showings.
#1 The Seller’s Disclosure
You might have heard commercials for those companies that sell you a report on a car’s history. Here’s the cool thing about real estate: You get one of those on a house you’re interested in for free! And boy-oh-boy do you want to read it closely.
Sellers are legally obligated to give you a full report on all the potentially major issues with the home they’re trying to sell. There are strong legal incentives for them to be truthful. So not only will you learn if the home you’re ga-ga over has, say, ever been a site to produce meth, you’ll also learn about its history with water leaks, sewage backups, exterior issues and much, much more.
What do we mean by “much, much more?” We’re talking about, among other things, the age of the house, the roof and the heating and cooling system, if there have been any insurance claims against the property in the past five years, and whether nasty little termites have ever squatted in the place you want to call “home.”
Simply put, not diligently reading the seller’s disclosure is akin to buying a luxury sports car sight unseen and with no grace period to return it once it’s officially yours.
The Allen Brake Team’s experts have vast experience examining seller’s disclosures with a keen eye to pick up on anything that might seem “off.” We also have great relationships with area Realtors and are in a great position to have serious conversations with them about the condition of the home. Bringing someone like this to an open house, well, it’s more than bringing a mechanic to the showroom; it’s like having the person who built the Ferrari by your side.
#2 The Seller’s Motivation
Some of the first questions we ask when we accompany a client to an open house are aimed at discovering how motivated the sellers are to make a deal. Remember, when you go to an open house, you’re not on your home turf. You’re visiting a place that you might want to own but that is currently guarded by someone who’s looking to get the best deal possible for her clients. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Most Realtors are honest people with tremendous integrity.
The reality, though, is that the best interest of the sellers is sometimes different from your own.
While you’re touring the house and picturing how your family would fold into this new space, we’re talking with the seller’s agent, figuring out what’s behind the sale. Did the homeowner get a new job out of town? That puts significantly more pressure on them to sell quickly than if it’s one of those situations in which a homeowner is just dabbling in the market to see how much they might be able to get right now.
Knowing the seller’s motivation makes all the difference when it comes to submitting an offer and shaping exactly what that offer looks like.
Which leads to …
#3 The Seller’s Deadline
We aren’t too far removed from a time in which sellers would put their homes on the market and there it would stay until someone made a decent offer.
This is not that time.
We now are in a highly competitive market, one in which there are far fewer available homes than there are people looking to buy them. That has created an environment in which, for many looking to sell, all they have to do is list their home, leave on a Friday night to go someplace fun, return on Sunday evening after the open house and pick from among a variety of offers in the next day or two.
That means that if you don’t know if there’s a deadline to submit offers and precisely what that deadline is, you might be pondering your decision on whether to make an offer while the seller is setting a closing date with someone else.
There’s so much more just under the surface of this. Knowing whether there’s a deadline and how soon it is after the home goes on the market can reveal how much interest the seller’s agent is seeing in the home. Thanks to our relationship with other Realtors in the region, we’re able to provide our clients with not just information about the deadline but also with valuable insight on how much interest the house is getting from other potential buyers.
If you know a home is seeing a ton of interest, you’ll know you’re going to have to put in a seriously competitive bid to capture the seller’s attention. Thankfully, if you’re represented by The Allen Brake Team, you have a whole group of people on your side who are experts at writing the most attractive offers in the region. In fact, one of our agents crafted the winning bid on a home that saw more than 50 offers in 2021!
So there you have it: The Top 3 things you need to learn when you test drive a new home. With an Allen Brake Team agent by your side, you’ll not only have this information by the time you leave an open house, you’ll also have answers to the multitude of other questions that will put you in the best place to calmly, confidently make a wise decision on what to do next.
The Allen Brake Team