Monthly Archives: February 2012

Falling in Love with a Home – Reward or Punishment?

Valentine’s Day is just over and a great time to celebrate love and reflect on the rewards of being in love.  Falling in Love with a home when you are house hunting can be both rewarding and perilous and in today’s market and incorporates a new kind of buyer beware.

Buying a home is a big and wonderful commitment.  Not only is the place you live, but it is your largest investment.  As such, it is sometimes difficult for people to separate the heart from the head.

You need to like your home very much, if not love.  You are there every day.  You decorate it, you have memorable occasions and events there, you relax and entertain there.  It is part of your life.  But, it also has to be a sound investment, good price, and have potential for resale to grow your investment.  And remember, it will likely not be the house you have for the rest of your life.  Balancing those two things become both the pleasure and pain in buying a new home.  I always try to be the good sounding board for my clients to help them create that balance and introduce all the pros and cons.  But ultimately, it is their choice.  Here are a few of the tips I give them to make the best decision for them.

1.  If you love the home, make sure the other side is there.  Is it a good price, good area, have resale potential or problems.  Just because you love it, doesn’t mean someone else will

2.  At the same time, don’t throw away a good investment just because you didn’t have love at first site.  If you like a home meets all your criteria and makes good sense, think about why it is not a love connection.  Is there no furniture and it doesn’t look homey?  Can things be reasonably changed so you like it more?  Unlike a mate, you can change some things about a home.  Could you grow to love it?

3.  Sometimes it helps to be scientific.  Make a list of what you want and need and rate them.  I devised a rating system for my buyers so that if they want to see what hits all the buttons, they can add up the ratings and see what makes sense.  What did I like and dislike?  How much?  Ratings helps quantify the search and sometimes sheds new light on the choices.

You need to really like or love your home – certainly not hate it.  But beware falling in love too hard for a home can expose yourself to hurt feelings.  You need to have a thick skin.  Ultimately, this is a business transaction, not personal.  It feels personal to you and sometimes to the seller (if they own and/or are living in the home), but if the seller decides to go with another offer or doesn’t want to agree to your price or if the deal doesn’t go through, you need to move on.  Don’t worry about the one that got away.   Buying now is an excellent idea.  Interest rates will never be lower, prices will never be lower and inventories will never be higher.  With so many homes, sometimes it seems hard to find the right one.  But just remember, there may be more than one “right” for you.  There are always more homes out there.  Don’t get discouraged or frustrated – keep your eye on the prize and you will be happy in your home.

Suzanne Hamilton, RE Marketing Consultants, Inc. helps buyers in the south, southwest and western suburbs of the Chicago area find the best home for them with excellent customer service and professional experience and expertise to provide step by step assistance and make the home buying process as easy as possible.  Call 888-788-9544 to find out how you can take advantage of today’s market and find a home for you.




Why You Should Use a Broker when Buying or Renting a Home

As a Buyer’s Broker, I blog a lot about why to use a Buyer’s Broker when buying a home.  There are many reasons – not the least bit is expertise, representation, ease of finding homes that consumer sites can’t give you, etc. AND MOST OF ALL – having a buyer’s broker as a buyer IS FREE!  You get representation and guidance every step of the way and pay nothing, as the seller of the home or rental landlord pays all commissions, but legally your broker has no allegiance to the seller, only to you.

Here is a story someone recently told me about the perils of calling the sign in the yard for a home for sale.

Joe and Mary (names changed to protect the innocent) were driving around the neighborhood looking for a new home.  They called the sign in the yard and spoke with the listing agent, who showed them the home.  They decided they wanted to put in an offer.  The listing agent repeatedly did not call them back about the seller’s answer to the offer and over a week later said they were in a multiple offer situation and had to increase their bid if they wanted the home.  Even though they wondered about the timing of the other offer or it’s existence at all, they increased their offer price.  A week again later and no calls back from the agent.  Over a week later the agent said someone else outbid them and got the home.  That was all.

A month later the agent called and asked them if they were still interested.  Prior experience should have warranted otherwise, but they wanted the home so they dealt with the listing agent again.  After a month of repeated phone calls and no returns, Joe and Mary were very upset and felt that the agent didn’t care about them at all.  They didn’t know about an inspection or any subsequent repairs, what had to be done to close with the village, etc.  And when the agent did call, they were treated poorly and the conversation was one-sided – “I need, I want, you need to do”.  Basically, they did not get any service from the agent and were nearly ready to give up on the home all together.

In Illinois, dual agency is allowed so that the buyer and seller can use the same broker.  There are very specific rules about disclosure and representation.  The specific rules have nothing to do with the quality of service being provided.  Obviously, this was a bad situation from start to finish, but more importantly, it illustrates why you should use your own representation and get your own broker.

House hunting and buying a home can be a complex adventure, especially in today’s market.  There are a lot of homes  on the market and a lot of different kinds of sellers – banks, governments, short sales, etc.  There are things you need to know about inspections, market conditions, negotiation, repairs, procedures, forms, attorneys, etc.

Having a buyer’s broker is an essential tool in your arsenal in finding the right home for you and having the smoothest transaction possible, instead of a lot of frustration and uncertainty.

In day to day life, we use professionals all the time to protect ourselves because they are the experts.  Doctors, attorneys, insurance agents, travel agents,  hair stylists, dry cleaners, etc.  Some things we can do ourselves, but sometimes we pay someone else to save us time and headaches or when we want to ensure we are protected.  We rely on their expertise and experience in the area.  So, if it doesn’t cost you anything – Why wouldn’t you use them?

Suzanne Hamilton, RE Marketing Consultants, Inc. works with buyers in the south, southwest and western suburbs of the Chicago area to provide them excellent customer service and ensure they get the home they want, while helping them every step of the way to make the process as easy as possible.  Call 888-788-9544 with any questions on how you can get the home you want.