Every day I go out with buyers to look at properties and realize many of them are woefully unprepared for the task. There are some fundamental tools every buyer ought to be armed with before hitting the pavement. Here is the list:
1. A pocket camera with flash
It’s always good to take photos of what you’ve seen because at the end of a long day, you won’t remember much of it.
2. A notebook that includes a list of everything you want to see
Staying organized is crucial as you go through the home-buying process. The sooner you start getting organized, the easier it will be to stay that way. Take notes every step of the way. Download the realtor.com mobile app onto your iPhone or iPad – it’s got a great map search function that lets you draw a circle around the area you are most interested in and it’s the only site that has data that is current. Trulia is constantly outdated and wrong.
3. A tape measure
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked if a Queen size bed will fit in a bedroom. You should know the sizes of your major furniture pieces and be prepared to measure while you are at the property to know for sure what will fit and what won’t. Masking or blue tape is also helpful to mark where the bed fits, or doesn’t.
4. A prequalification letter
When time comes to make an offer, you will have the advantage if you are prepared to move quickly. Knowing your finances and budget and having the requisite paperwork in order is a big step along the way.
5. The name and contact info of your real estate attorney
See #4 above. You should vet some lawyers at the start of the process so when you are ready to act, you have your ducks in line.
The market is getting increasingly competitive. I’ve experienced multiple bids on almost every property I’ve sold recently with each of the past three of my listings going under contract in less than a week. I’ve had almost every one of my buyers be involved in the same multiple-bid process. The buyer who acts first and with a complete package has a better chance than a late comer and being prepared is crucial.
I guess I need to add a 6th item to the list – a really good, experienced, full-time local agent who knows the market inside & out, lives in the neigborhood, specializes in working with buyers, has access to relevant comps, has seen everything on the market, can negotiate the heck out of the other side, has a roster of qualified lenders, lawyers, inspectors, contractors, and has the patience to guide you through the process and educate you along the way. That would be someone like me. If you’d like help with your Hoboken home search, give me a shout (info @ hobokensbest dot com)