7 Habits of Highly Effective Buyers

This post is influenced by Jay Thompson's similar post in 2011.  I found his advice so compelling that I wanted to share my own version. This is my take on the 7 habits of highly effective home buyers.  I hope you enjoy it and can use it when buying in Montana.

Habit #1: Get Pre-Approved

It only makes sense that you know what you can buy before you go out the door and start looking at properties.  It is imperative to find a lender that you can work with and sit down with them or go on-line and complete and application for financing.  If you don't have a lender, ask us and we can supply you with a few possible choices that we have worked with over the
years.  Looking at houses before you are PRE-APPROVED is effectively a waste of time for you and your buyer's agent.  Sometimes looking at properties you cannot afford also can be very disappointing when you do put an offer in and cannot qualify or you find out you cannot qualify for the financing level you've been looking at and the houses now don't seem to be so exciting.  Do yourself a huge favor and get pre-approved.  You can get pre-qualified pretty quickly and that can be useful but the negotiating process is very much enhanced in your favor by being able to submit a pre-approval letter from your lender with your offer.

Habit #2: Define Your Must Haves, Your Liked To Haves and Your Cannot Haves

Know what you are looking for.  If you tell your agent that you are looking for a three bedroom, two bath home in the Missoula or Bitterroot market, you will have over 500 properties to look at unless you eliminate a few of them right off the bat.  Let your agent know what your absolute needs are such as a large kitchen because you love to cook, a master bath with tub and shower, a large back yard or particular amount of acreage because you have two horses.  Be as specific as possible including what you don't want.  If you don't want maintenance, you might not care for a cedar home.  Also explain to your agent if you are looking at two completely different properties.  Don't put a 4 bedroom on 10 acres on your list of properties to
see along with a two bedroom condo in Missoula.  It doesn't make a lot of sense unless there is some overriding reason for it.  The better your idea of what you need, want and don't care for, is important in making the process easier.

Habit #3: Be Realistic

The market in western Montana has improved.  It is not a full on buyer's market anymore.  If you saw an infomercial on late night T.V. last night that said you could buy a house for pennies on the dollar, get ready to be disappointed.  Also, you are NOT going to be able to offer 80% of
the homes value and get an accepted offer.  Most homes are selling at 97% of ask currently.  There are strategies to use but don't be ridiculous.  And don't expect that you could make an offer on a short sale home and close within a month or moreover have them do any fixes that are found in the inspection cause it ain't gonna happen'.  And also, don't anticipate that you
can find a rent to own situation if you don't have the ability to finance.  There are some sellers that are in a position to offer that option, but not many and they want a significant amount of money up front.

Habit #4: Be Flexible

Understand it is difficult to find the perfect property.  Don't be so rigid that you can't make a decision on a property.  If you simply cannot find what you want in the market place, you may want to explore building your own home.  This is another entirely different topic we will discuss another time! Recognize you will probably need to compromise a little in order to purchase an existing home.  And don't nit pick your sellers about their property.  Emotions can come into play and if you are looking at buying a 25 year old home and expecting it to be flawless or otherwise the owners should fix this or that, be careful.  That approach can come back to bite you.  You certainly want to stand firm on those things that are important but remember to pick your fights in terms of pricing, features and fixes.


Habit #5: Know The Property Buying Process

There is no reason to know everything there is to know about buying a property, that is your agents job.  However, understanding the various elements can certainly reduce the stress involved.  Sometimes agents throw out words and jargon that they understand but you, as a buyer, might not recognize.  Don't be afraid to ask questions.  Your agent should be able to provide you with a look at forms in advance of making an offer and explain their function.  You will have a variety of disclosures that you will need to complete and there are dates and contingency releases that are critical to the process.  The more you know, the more comfortable you will be in the purchase.


Habit #6: Be Responsible

  The purchase of a home requires that you, as a buyer complete certain tasks by certain dates in order to be in compliance with the contract.  Be responsible for making sure you do what you say you will do such as making your final loan application, ordering inspection reports and
responding by dates delineated in the purchase contract.  And don't do anything to effect your credit before your loan process is done like go out a buy a new car (I've seen that happen) without checking with your lender or your agent. Also, recognize this is a legal contract.  Once you make the commitment, you have certain responsibilities and you cannot change them in mid stream.  Be responsible for your decisions. Use common sense and just treat others as you would like to be treated.


Habit #7: Have Fun!

Buying a new property is one of the greatest feelings.  For better than 20 years I was an insurance guy and believe me, no one is excited about writing the check to pay premiums and no claim was ever met with complete joy.  Real estate on the other hand is just great fun.  It
can have its moments and almost certainly will but your agent will help you get through it and the final result is a glorious feeling of accomplishment.  Enjoy buying your next property.

Bitterroot Valley Real Estate- Craig Siphers, Senior Broker
Providing trusted consultation on buying and selling Montana
real estate for over 30 years in Lolo, Florence, Stevensville,
Victor, Corvallis, Hamilton, and Darby. Call or text Craig Siphers
at 406-360-9108 to make a legendary deal!


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