Category Archives: Real Estate

4 Steps for a Zen-Like Home Buying Experience

 

The home buying process can be stressful. Instead of looking at it as a stressful process, look at it as an exciting time, a new adventure and a new beginning.

Along with being a Realtor, I’m also a yoga teacher.  That being said, I try to incorporate my zen-like mindset into the home buying process to help reduce the stress level for my clients. For example, my Realtor side will do as much legwork as possible ahead of time, keep my buyers expectations in check and minimize unforeseen obstacles. My yoga side will help my clients take a deep breath when they need to, keep emotions in check and try to keep everyone calm.

Here are steps to keep things zen-like:

Step 1: Get a Preapproval from a Trusted Lender
I know that you may have a price point in mind for a home but there are many items that go into how much you can afford.  It’s a wise decision to speak with a lender to actually get the numbers. This will help you in your home search.  You don’t want to fall in love with your dream home and then find out you can’t afford it. This is also helpful to see how much money you would need to actually purchase the home and what your monthly payment will be.  I like my clients to be completely comfortable with those numbers. Like I always say, “buying a home isn’t like buying a pair of shoes, you can’t return it if you don’t like it.” If you trust your real estate agent (which I hope you do!) they may recommend a lender.  They are doing this because they have worked with the best of the best…..and possibly the worst of the worst.  Along with a great Realtor, having a trusted and knowledgeable lender can make a world of difference with the home buying process. You can select any lender you would like. Besides your agent, ask friends and family too.  They may have recommendations as well.

Step 2: Set Expectations
Before you start house hunting, make a list of non-negotiable items, your needs, wants and desires. Really take time to think about what you want to accomplish with buying a home. Does the school district matter, short commute to work, big yard or maybe if you are downsizing or travel a lot for work, you want less maintenance. Are you handy and can handle some DIY projects? Or do you want a place that is completely renovated.  Compare these items to your preapproved purchase price and see if you are being realistic.

Step 3: No Large Purchases
When you find that perfect living room set or dining room table, DO NOT buy it.  Large purchases during the home buying transaction can throw off your finances and may delay things or even possibly end the transaction because you can’t get financing now. I know you are excited for those new items but for now, just heart them on your Wayfair app. 😉

Step 4: Keep Emotions in Check
This may be one of the hardest ones to accomplish. You want to try and keep a level head during this process.  Buying a home is most likely your largest financial decision and emotions can run high.  When you are stressed, you can sometimes make irrational decisions. Again, take a deep breath and think things through before making big decisions.

Doing your homework and the initial steps that I outlined here will help you. Also, a good agent and lender that you trust, will help guide you through this process and hopefully keep it zen!

Life of a Realtor – Top 10 questions / comments

I’ve been a Realtor for 5 years and I truly love it. But there is a lot more to it than showing houses and doing open houses. Here is a list of the top 10 questions and comments I get from clients.

You must work a lot of weekends!
Being a Realtor, I work 24/7/365.  So yes, I do work weekends and evenings but I can have somewhat of a “normal” schedule.  Typically I work while my kids are at school.  I am home to get them off the bus and then I become commander-in-chief for after school snacks, homework, activities and making dinner.  Some nights I run out the door when my husband walks in so I can do showings, meet new clients, go on listing appointments etc.  There are days that I’m writing offers at 6am and some nights that I’m talking with clients at 10pm.  And yes, I do work on vacation.  Just part of the job.

Don’t you just love looking at all the houses?
In one week I could look at 2 homes all the way up to 20 homes!  That’s a lot of homes.  Looking at houses for me is different than a client looking at houses.  I’m looking at the Seller’s Disclosure to see how the mechanics are, I’m noticing the water stain on the ceiling in the bedroom, I point out the lack of basement when all my buyers wanted was a basement even though they LOVE the kitchen.  The truth is buying a home can be a very emotional adventure.  I try and help to keep the emotions to a minimum.

Your home must look like it belongs on HGTV!
Sorry to disappoint but….it looks like a family with 2 children live there if you get my drift.

How do you do it all?
I have an amazing personal tribe behind me that helps me look good.  My family, friends/neighbors do so much for me and I am forever grateful.  I also have an amazing professional tribe behind me too.  Lenders, title companies, other agents, contractors…the support to get my job done is truly amazing.

I’m so sorry we’ve seen so many homes.
I always tell people you have to see the homes to know if it is the one for you.  Pictures can be deceiving sometimes.  Purchasing your home is one of the biggest investments you are going to make so we don’t want to rush it and you certainly don’t want to settle.  I know we will find the right one…we always do.

When you aren’t showing homes or doing an open house, what else are you doing?
There are a lot of things that are happening behind the scenes when it goes to buying and selling a home.  When we get a home under contract, that’s when I go to work even harder. Working with the other agent, the lender, title company, keeping my clients on schedule with the timeline for home inspections, appraisals, mortgage commitments etc. Think of my role kind of like a director.  I keep all the pieces moving together to hopefully get to a final product.  We all work as a team and we all want to have the same outcome.

You must make SO much money!
It can look like that on paper sometimes but you have to remember that the commission on a sale is typically split between the listing and selling agent.  Then the broker takes their portion and don’t forget the government needs their part too.  And there are many fees that Realtors pay to keep their license up to date, marketing themselves, insurance, and costs for certain systems.  I DO NOT get paid unless a home is sold.  The benefit is, there is no limit to what I can make.

Example:
The commission on a $250,000 home might be around $15,000.  But after it is split between the 2 agents, the broker (agency that I work for) take their percentage and I pay taxes, I would end up with about $3,500-$4,000.

Who is your boss?
I am required to have my license at a brokerage but technically….I am my own boss.  There are some benefits and drawbacks to this just like anything else.
Benefits: I have to have some flexibility but make my own hours and I try my best to work around our family’s schedule.  I don’t have to work 9-5 and I don’t have to work at the office.  Though I will say, working at the office helps me stay on task.  I make my own goals and it’s up to me how I get there.
Drawbacks: I don’t get paid vacation, sick days, health benefits or a retirement plan.  Those items are completely up to me.  There are days that motivation is hard to come by….and if you don’t have a boss to answer to, you might binge watch Netflix and go shopping instead of working.  Oh the temptation……

How can you stand the stress of the job?
First of all…..I also teach yoga.  This can help.  I feel like this transitions into my real estate career.  I try to make each step along the way as stress-free as possible for my clients.  Transparency, educating my clients on the process and keeping them in the loop with every step, all of these help.  I also give them the worst case scenario and the best.  Sometimes I joke with my clients that I’m a marriage counselor, an interior decorator, a babysitter, a mover, a chauffeur, a house keeper and more!

Why do you love being a Realtor?
I’m a people person and I love to help others.  It is exciting to me to become almost like family with some of my clients.  It really is fantastic to watch new buyers buy their first home and it’s humbling when clients ask you to help with something sensitive like sell their parents home.  I learn something new each day in this industry and no 2 days are the same.  I find that invigorating and keeps me engaged with my career.