This happens frequently... I get a call from a nice someone saying "my friend said you're a good Realtor, and I just saw a house in Logan I would like to see. Can we go see it this afternoon?" I absolutely love a call like this - because there a few things more satisfying than helping someone find a great home, BUT.... there are a couple of steps that should be taken BEFORE we go out and look at homes. Just as successful baking (following a recipe) often has sequential ramifications, home buying is more successful and less stressful if steps are perfomed in the right order. It should go something like this:
1) FIND AN EXPERIENCED REALTOR (in the above scenario, thankfully they found me:-). When looking for a Realtor, find someone you trust, is attentive, knowledgeable and that you won't mind spending time with (check references). Make sure the Realtor is someone who will have your best interests in mind and not just push for a sale; and then please be loyal to them in return. Realtors receive no compensation until a transaction (home sale or purchase) is successfully completed.
2) GET PRE-APPROVED FOR A LOAN with a lender who is competent, qualified, knowledgeable and a good communicator! Once again, check references. There are many loan programs - find out which one will be the best for your situation. If you need to wait a while & save up some more money, or work on debt reduction in order to obtain a loan with more favorable terms... do it! A good lender will give you direction. Either you or your lender need to a advise your Realtor on what loan program you will be using. FHA loans have certain guidelines on home requirements - not all homes will qualify for an FHA loan. USDA loans have geographic parameters. All loans have closing costs associated with obtaining the loan and your Realtor will need to negotiate help with those costs if possible.
If you have CASH to buy a home, you may ignore step two - and go straight to looking at homes! You'll also have additional negotiation power in many cases.
3) Now that you know your budget, know your loan parameters and have your pre-approval letter, you have the ability to ACT when you find the home of your dreams. IT'S TIME TO LOOK AT HOMES! When you find a home/homes that you want to see, please let your Realtor know a 1/2 day in advance if possible. Showings need to be scheduled with the sellers who often need ample notice to get the home ready and find a place to go while you're there. It also makes sense to be able to schedule showings logistically - saving time, gas & air quality.
When these steps are performed out of order, sellers are inconvenienced needlessly...getting their homes in order for showings - often dragging children away from dinner, homework etc.. not to mention the emotional burden of getting hopes up - expecting their home is being shown by a buyer who has been qualified to purchase. Buyers also waste time and emotional turmoil looking at homes when they may not be in a position to buy.
If you discover you're not quite financially ready to purchase, but you really want to see homes, continue looking at homes online (your Realtor can send you properties to view with filters in place according to your parameters) or you can set up your own searches. Visit homes in person by attending open houses. Here in Cache Valley there are open houses Tuesday 10-1 and Youngblood Real Estate typically has open houses on Wednesday afternoons/evenings as well as some Saturdays.
I would love to visit with you if you have questions or need help with a purchase. 435-770-9407