HomeSmart Evergreen Realty
Tricia Ebert & Ernie Sheesley, Realtors®

7 Steps to Home Ownership

by Tricia Ebert, Realtor®, CSA®, ABR®, BPOR®, CDPE®


Last week we discussed finding your ideal home, the one that makes you feel "in love." Now we'll deal with what to do next!


(5)    What to do when you find “the one”:  Let your Realtor know when you really like a house. Be sure you spend enough time looking at each room and getting a good feel for the inside and outside of the house. Pay attention to the neighbors and their houses and how the street looks. Do you see pride of ownership around you? Or are some houses looking run down with lawns that need mowing?


        Notice if the neighborhood is quiet or noisy. Is there a lot of traffic on this street? If you have a 2 year old and you want a safe street, a busy street may not be the best location for your ideal home. Are you near an airport? How much noise do you hear from planes taking off and landing? If this house is freeway close, do you hear noise from the cars nearby?


        Once you’re satisfied that you’ve found the house you envision yourself living in, it’s time to take action. Your Realtor will do “comps” for this house, looking at properties that are similar in size and location to help you figure out the fair market value. Then you have to look at your finances and see what the seller is asking. Most sellers price their houses above fair market value to get the highest price possible. Depending on the market, the final sales price could be higher or lower than what the seller wants. The bottom line for you as the buyer is to know what your top price is and not go above it. When you decide what you want to offer, your Realtor will write up a Purchase Offer or Purchase Agreement which you’ll sign. She will then submit this offer to the seller’s Realtor.


        This is the “nail biting” part of the process. Most sellers do not accept the first offer they receive from a buyer. It is most likely you will receive a counter-offer. In a counter-offer, the seller will usually ask for a higher price and will sometimes want to change some of the terms of the Agreement. Maybe you’re asking the seller to leave their Jacuzzi, washer and dryer with the house. The seller may agree to leave the washer and dryer but not the Jacuzzi. Or vice versa!


        When you get a counter-offer, you have to decide what’s important to you and if you can afford to go any higher on your price. If you can’t, you can’t. If you can match the seller’s price and you’re okay with it, you can accept the counter-offer as is. Or you can send a counter-offer to the seller’s counter-offer, perhaps accepting the change in terms but still offering a price that’s less than what the seller wants.


        This is why Realtors are so valuable during negotiations. The seller’s agent and your agent can have a frank discussion about each clients’ needs. Perhaps the seller needs to net a certain amount of money from the sale of their house because they’re retiring and buying another house in another state to be close to their grandchildren. But you, as the buyer, also have a financial cap on what you can afford. So Realtors can hash out what’s really important to each party and hopefully find a middle ground where everyone is happy. Maybe the seller will be happy to pay your closing costs, but you need to come up $5000 on your price so that they can afford to do that for you.


        So listen to your Realtor’s guidance during the negotiation process. They are working really hard to make everyone happy, which isn’t always an easy thing to do!


Next week: Once everyone agrees on a price and terms and your offer is accepted, you'll open escrow. We'll discuss this process next week. See you then! :-)

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What my clients are saying  

"When my wife and I separated, we of course needed to sell our house. It was a very tough time for both of us. But despite our stress and grief, Tricia was really great understanding our difficult situation, and was able to work with both of us to satisfy our needs. We had to sell the house as fast as possible and get the most possible from the sale. Tricia was able to accomplish both! She is VERY knowledgeable about the market, and treats each sale (both buying and selling) as if it is her own home. It made our difficult situation less stressful knowing she was taking care of us. We are both very grateful she was there for us. Tricia is the best!"


~ M., Burbank, CA

Tricia is a great person to work with. She was very familiar with the process, and she was very patient. Tricia did help us find the right townhouse for us. Highly recommended!


~ Aristos & Suzanna Theoharides, Burbank, CA

Tricia is AMAZING! We had to do a short sale with our property, and Tricia's expertise made the process so easy, and dare I say, even enjoyable! We will definitely work with her again and refer her to everyone we know who needs a knowledgeable, patient, and professional agent.


~ Bowe & Gina K., Burbank, CA

I love Tricia! She really helped me through everything. Very knowledgeable and thorough. So glad she was on my side!


~ Mari Helgeson, Hollywood, CA

I call Tricia my Angel. She genuinely cares about her clients and goes out of her way to help them. She helped my family do a short sale on our house, and we felt completely taken care of throughout the process. I highly recommend Tricia to all of our friends and family.


~ Fides D., Van Nuys, CA

Tricia is truly a hands-on Realtor whose attention to detail takes the stress out of house hunting. She has helped me buy two properties over the years, and I would recommend her to anyone looking for a real estate agent. Tricia is hard-working, caring, and guides her clients through the buying and selling process step-by-step. A consummate professional!


~ Kari Wahlgren, Burbank, CA

Tricia: Impeccable professionalism, humor and good spirits. Constant cheerleader and positive force of nature. Not only our Realtor but our teacher, our guide, our guardian angel. We feel so fortunate that Debi found you and led us to you. You encouraged us from the get go. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you. It goes without saying but, we could not have done it without you! Hugs and Happy Dancing!


~ Sarah & Chad Wiley, North Hollywood, CA

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