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6 Things I wish I knew before buying a home

June 02 2017
June 02 2017
The Erdal Team (3)

Kevin and I have bought two homes, the first was a small condo we purchased when we were engaged, and later a home to accommodate our growing family. We know first hand that buying a home can be overwhelming, confusing and expensive - especially in Silicon Valley, am I right? Even though both of us were experienced agents, we still learned a lot with each buying experience. So here are 6 things I wish I knew before buying a home.

  1. Get pre-approved before you start looking. Lending laws have changed dramatically over the last decade, as tighter regulations have been put into place to protect both consumers and banks. Many of our clients have down payments that come from money tied up in stocks or sizable gifts coming from parents and family. These kinds of things can complicate the loan process quite a bit, so it’s best to walk through the different scenarios with a reputable lender before you start looking.

  2. Try to see beyond the ugly wallpaper. Personally, I love a good fixer-upper. But I know many of my clients have a hard time seeing past the dated faux painted paper, shag carpeting, avocado green toilet (and matching sink) to what I call “the bones” of the home. I look for a good floorplan and whether there is lots of natural light, among many other things. To help you figure out what are your “must haves” and “would be nice” features, head over to our essential buyer checklist.

  3. Lower your expectations. Then lower them again. The housing marketing in Silicon Valley is tough, to put it mildly. Multiple offers are still the norm. And most homes sell for well over asking. When I start working with buyers that are green to buying or Silicon Valley housing market, I always start by showing them similar recently closed sales, so they can get comfortable seeing what they can afford in their price range. We always want to set realistic expectations up front to avoid future disappointments.

  4. You’ll know when it's right. Just like falling in love, you know when you know. The same thing applies to finding the right home. Buyers often ask me whether I think they should make an offer or not. While I give them all the data and insight I can from a more analytical perspective, buying a home is a very personal and subjective decision. Sometimes it just doesn't feel right, and there is no way to qualitate that. And sometimes you just know it’s perfect!

  5. Don't get emotionally attached. Easier said than done. I remember being on pins and needles while we waiting for a response to our offer on our first home. Unfortunately it was a short sale and we didn't hear back for months from the bank! It was torture. I had gotten so emotionally attached to the home - in my mind I had already picked out all the new fixtures, furniture and paint colors. Fortunately, it all worked out, but often times it doesn't. So it's best to wait until everyone has signed on the dotted line.

  6. Work with a Realtor you can trust (that’s us!). You'd be surprised how many buyers out there are not working closely with a Realtor. What they don’t know is that a significant number of homes sells “off market” -  that means before they ever come on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). So by not working with an agent who is connected in the community, they’re missing out on a whole pipeline of off-market inventory. Not just that, a good Realtor will always have your back. One time our client lost out on a home to a higher offer. We kept up with the listing agent and low and behold the winning offer backed out unexpectedly and we were right there to swoop the house up for our clients!


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