“I’d like to thank you for the fine job you did in selling our home… The brochure was so beautifully done, I still have one… You were always prompt in returning our calls and keeping us informed on progress. Our home sold quickly and was brought to a stress-free closing.”

Ann & Bob Mello
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Welcome to the RE/MAX Home Buyers Guide! This constantly growing resource provides tips from the experts at RE/Max. Whether you have spend years saving and preparing to buy a home, or you still aren’t sure if it is something you can even dream of, the questions surrounding a first-time home purchase can feel endless. We are sure you will find these tips useful in the home buying process.

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  • Do you want to get the best house you can for the least amount of money? Then make sure you are in the strongest negotiating position possible. You see, price is only one bargaining chip in the negotiations, and not necessarily the most important one. Often other terms, such as the strength of the buyer or the length of escrow, are critical to a seller.
  • In years past, I always recommended that buyers get “prequalified” by a lender. This means that you spend a few minutes on the phone with a lender who asks you a few questions. Based on the answers, the lender pronounces you “prequalified” and issues a certificate that you can show to a seller. 
  • Sellers are aware that such certificates are WORTHLESS, and here’s why! None of the information has been verified! Oftentimes unknown problems surface! Some of the problems I’ve seen include recorded judgments, child support payments due, glitches on the credit report due to any number of reasons both accurately and inaccurately, down payments that have not been in the clients’ bank account long enough, etc.
  • So the way to make a strong offer today is to get “pre-approved”. This happens AFTER all information has been checked and verified. You are actually APPROVED for the loan, the only loose end is the appraisal on the property you want to buy. This process takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on your situation. It’s VERY POWERFUL and a weapon I recommend all my clients have in their negotiating arsenal.
  • If you have a house to sell, sell it before selecting a house to buy! I haven’t seen a contingent sale work in the last 3 years, unless it’s with a new home builder who has other houses to sell and can afford to put one on a contingency.
  • Let’s pretend that we go out looking for the perfect house for you. We find it and you love it! Now you have to go make an offer to the seller. You want the seller to reduce the price and wait until you sell your house. The seller figures that’s a risky deal, since he might pass up a buyer who DOESN’T have to sell a house while he’s waiting for you. So he says OK, he’ll do the contingency but it has to be a full price offer! So you see, you paid more for the house than you could have because of the contingency.
  • Now you have to sell your existing house, and in a hurry! Otherwise you lose the dream house! So to sell quickly you might take an offer that’s lower than if you had more time. The bottom line is that buying before selling might cost you TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars. I always recommend that you sell first, then buy.
  • If you’re concerned that there’s not a house out there for you, then let’s go on a window shopping trip. We can identify possible houses and locations without falling in love with a specific house. If you feel confident after that, then put your house on the market.
  • Another tactic is to make the sale “subject to seller finding suitable housing”. Adding this phrase to the listing means that WHEN YOU DO FIND A BUYER, you will have some time to find the new place. If you don’t find anything to your liking, you don’t have to sell your present home.
  • Before house hunting, make a list of nine things you want in the new place. Then make a list of the nine things you don’t want. I call this “NINE OF THIS AND NONE OF THAT”. You can use this list as a scorecard to rate each property that you see. The one with the biggest score wins! This helps avoid confusion and keeps things in perspective when you’re comparing dozens of homes.
  • If you have kids, there are several other ways to make the moving experience more fun and less stressful on them. We have an award-winning video “Let’s Get a Move On!” that helps children 4-10 years old deal with the feelings involved when relocating. Just ask and we’ll be happy to lend it to you.
  • Your agent should show you everything available that meets your requirements. Don’t make a decision on a house until you feel that you’ve seen enough to pick the best one. Go to the Multiple Listing computer with your agent to make sure that you are getting a COMPLETE list.
  • In the late 1980’s, homes were selling quickly, usually a few days after listing. In that kind of market, agents advised their clients to make an offer ON THE SPOT if they liked the house. That was good advice at the time. Today there isn’t always this urgency, unless a home is drastically under-priced, and you’ll know if it is. 
  • Don’t forget to check into the SCHOOL DISTRICTS of the area you’re considering. I’d be happy to provide you a free “School Report” on any 6 high schools in the county just for the asking. This report contains over 200 facts on each school, such as class sizes, % of students that go on to college, SAT scores, etc.
  • Whether you decide to work with me or not, pick an agent you feel comfortable with and stay with that agent if he or she is doing the job. Agents work on commission and are paid by the seller, NOT THE BUYER! I charge NOTHING for my time when I work for you. To get 100% effort from me, I have to know that you value and appreciate my work on your behalf. 
  • Many agents are now demanding that buyers sign a contract so they can be sure of their loyalty. I believe it’s better to have a relationship built on trust, and if I don’t perform for you, you should be free to go elsewhere. So I don’t require a signed agreement, but I do need a verbal commitment to do my best.
  • Did you know that many homes are sold WITHOUT A SIGN ever going up or an AD EVER BEING PUT IN THE PAPER? These “great deals” go to those people who are committed to working with their agent. When the agent hears of a great buy, who is he going to call? The client WHO IS COMMITTED TO HIM, not someone who just called on an ad. So to get the best buy on a property, I always recommend that you decide on an agent and stick with him.