Monday, May 16, 2011

Buyer Beware

I had a young couple this weekend all full of hope until . . .

The story begins on Wednesday when I had met the wife online via a babysitting website. We spoke via Skype and she realized I was a realtor. She asked if I could help and I said no problem. To my shock I actually found condos in their price range and we set a time to meet on Saturday. We found a lovely condo and the buyer handed me an approval letter from USAA.

Now I am no rookie, I have been selling real estate for 17 years. I read the letter and it was genuine they were approved with minor conditions. So we decided we would meet again on Sunday to look at some other condos and then decide. After speaking with the buyer on Saturday evening it was evident that they wanted one of the units they saw that day but we were going to look just the same.

We met again on Sunday morning at another condo and then they decided to write an offer on a unit they saw Saturday. As I started to explain the process now, I started going down the need for earnest money a blank look crossed his face. I am going to need earnest money. They would also have to be ready to pay for an appraisal. They buyer was confused when I asked as he was not told any of this by USAA.

So then he states that he is getting a VA loan and that it is 100%. I said yes it is but you have to put earnest money down otherwise the seller will not take you seriously. Also with the changes in mortgages all appraisals must be paid upfront by the buyer to the appraiser or lender. Any seller concessions paid will be refunded to you at the table but we still need these items. Again, none of this was mentioned by USAA. How could they not mention these items?

At my suggestion I referred them to a lender so that they could speak with another person regarding their mortgage. I went back to do my work and later touched base with the lender who also voiced his concerns regarding back ratios, etc. The question that kept coming back is how did USAA approve them?

In the end, they felt they were not ready to move forward and the buyer's wife was concerned I might get angry because she had taken my time. Never, I am actually relieved because I could see they were not ready for the responsibility that comes with homeownership. They made the right decision for themselves and that is all that matters. I hope that I changed the impression they have of realtors and that we are here to make a dream come true not to start another nightmare.

So here is the moral of the story work with a realtor first. Please realize we go through this process several times a month. We are here to help you reach that ultimate goal. The reason they were so uninformed is because they did not receive a Good Faith Estimate or a Schedule of Initial Fees. They should have consulted with a realtor first. Instead anyone they spoke to just was not interested because the price point was not high enough. Then get a referral so someone can help you.

Buyers, here are your steps in buying a home.

1. Have an initial consultation with a realtor. As a realtor we will refer you to reputable local lenders and guide you through the steps for finding a home, preparing an offer for a home and finally getting you to the closing table.

2. Call the lender and ask for an Initial Fee Sheet. This gives you an idea of the fees they charge. Once you decide on 2 lenders get a Good Faith Estimate from each. This locks them into what they are quoting you.

3. Any questions, consult your realtor so she/he can speak with your lender to get the particulars regarding your loan, parameters, guidelines, etc.

4. Find your home, write the offer

5. Offer accepted then back to your lender

6. Coordination between realtor, lender and buyer

7. Settlement

8. Get the keys and move in!

Any questions, please just ask or call me 202-344-0045 or visit my website www.TheNeighborhoodAgent.com

Esther Camarotte-Kelly
Associate Broker
Keller Williams Capital Properties

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