Financial planning is comprised of the six decisions people make with their money. Doctors need to make decisions as to how they borrow, spend, and protect their money when it comes to finding a lender in the home buying process. A realtor can help you find the right home for you and negotiate the house price and closing costs by representing you through the buying process.
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With an abundance of information and tools online, Doctors may ask why they need a realtor to buy a home. Some people are fine on their own, but there are many reasons a realtor can make your home buying process run smoothly... if you find the right realtor.
A licensed realtor can provide doctors with neighborhood knowledge, price guidance, market conditions, and more. I sat down with Andy Dameron, a Real Estate Agent at Chantel Ray Real Estate to chat with him about the home buying process and why it's important to shop realtors, instead of picking the first one you see on Zillow.
Andy is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and a Masters of Business Administration with concentrations in Investments and Corporate Financing. After graduate school, Andy entered into the Healthcare field as an executive and worked in the industry for 10 years.
After a successful career in healthcare, Andy decided to pursue his second passion, real estate. He comes from a family that invested and developed both residential and commercial properties. With his extensive knowledge in finance, investments, and healthcare/government regulations and compliance, real estate was a natural fit.
It’s a great idea to reach out to both a realtor and a mortgage lender at the same time. As a realtor, we have great recommendation for lenders but that also puts everyone on the same page from jump street. In Charlotte and the surrounding areas, the days on market are still extremely low and multiple offers are very common. A pre-approval is almost always required by a good agent, because when you represent either the buyer or seller, we want to know you can afford the house and the transaction will go through. A pre-approval will also let us know exactly what you can afford. The last thing you want to do is look at houses that are way out of your price range.
Usually clients start with Zillow, Trulia, or Realtor.com. These are great tools to get an idea of house prices in certain areas. After that, you need to find your realtor and get on the Multiple Listing Service (known as MLS). This is what all of the websites pull their information from and is the most up to date at any given time. I have had clients send me a listing that shows a home is active online, but the house may have not been active for 10 years. My two favorite apps to send clients are the Homesnap app and Keller Williams apps.
Clients are making one of the biggest, if not the biggest financial decisions of their lives. You spend a lot of time with your realtor and it needs to be a good fit. Would a patient visit a doctor they don't like? All realtors have to be licensed by the State of North Carolina, but that doesn’t mean you should go with any realtor. You also want to make sure they have a knowledge base of the market and areas you want to live in. Years of experience does not equal an in-depth knowledge of the market. Anyone can fill out a contract. A great realtor will explain and walk you through the entire process from beginning to the end.
I know this is a stressful and exciting time. There are ups and downs in any transaction, it’s all in how your realtor helps and addresses the issues. Lastly, you are hiring the firm when you are working with a realtor. Look at the reputation of that company and always check reviews online!
This is tricky. The addadge of “location, location, location” is and should always hold true. That’s another talk you should have once you’ve selected your realtor. I often ask several leading questions in our first couple meetings to get a better idea of the clients perception of areas and price. Sometimes the answer is "let’s have you rent another year and save." Your realtor shouldn’t be afraid to help you find rentals or recommend ways to look at them. Many clients I serve today were from inquires over a year ago.
PREQUALIFICATION! I know people are scared to have their credit pulled, but you shouldn’t be. If you really want to buy a home soon, we need that in our hands before we actively start looking at homes. Your agent should ask you questions such as location and time frame. If you hire a solo real estate agent (like myself) make sure they have a back up agent to show you houses if they are unavailable. Also understand that your realtor is only human and do have personal lives. It’s important to set expectations upfront. Your agent might be available right that minute but showings and calls should be planned. While you can find me generally 7 days a week, I also need to sleep, eat, and live life.
This should be an exciting time! I want you to love your house. Don’t make a square peg fit in a round hole. A lot of times clients will want to pull the trigger because their lease will be up, they are afraid nothing else will come on market, or they want to lock in a rate. You are likely going to live there for an extended period of time, so you want to be happy. Also, some of the work will be on you.
If you are worried about your commute to work, noise from the road or nearby trains, go to the property when you would normally leave or when you feel the noise would be the worst. We can give you crime and school websites and we recommend researching but the actual research is up to the client. Realtors legally can’t tell you a neighborhood is “safe” or the schools are “good.” These are personal opinions and websites that rate areas would be your best bet.
Lastly, you can’t pick your neighbors. Some clients will ask about the neighbors and my answer is always, “neighbors could stay for years or move tomorrow.” If you are concerned about the neighborhood or neighbors, move on and don’t waste your energy. Again this is your home and you want to come home everyday loving it! Happy house hunting!
If you missed the first two blogs in this home buying series...
Molly was the marketing director at SDT from October 2017 through November 2020. She is passionate about connecting with people, digital marketing, and serving her community.
For over 50 years, Spaugh Dameron Tenny has provided comprehensive financial planning for physicians and dentists across the U.S. In addition to providing personalized advice, we walk our clients through their options to help maximize finances and maintain financial security.
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