Questions About Today’s Real Estate?

Ask Phyllis!

Advice for first time
home buyers
Dear Phyllis,
I have been back and forth about buying a home for the last three years. I hear that prices have dropped, but I don’t see much evidence of that. Each time I make an offer on a home, someone else’s offer is better, it’s either cash or they offered more money than me. I am becoming discouraged and hope you have some advice for me.

Dear Avo,
The current market is extremely confusing. Most listings are selling quickly, in multiple offer situations and many for over asking price.  Certain price ranges are much more competitive than others.  The first time buyer market is especially difficult to penetrate.

The first thing I would suggest is to be patient. I know that is easier said than done, but it’s the best advice I can offer any first time home buyer.

The second suggestion is to work with an experienced real estate agent. Not one who has been selling real estate for 30 years and is semi-retired or one who is newly licensed.

The third suggestion is to work with a local real estate agent with an excellent reputation. As a buyer in today’s competitive market, your choice of Realtor® is crucial. There are certain real estate agents known for creating unnecessary conflict. In a multiple offer situation, your choice of real estate agent can kill your offer. All things being equal, the seller’s agent is not going to want to work with them/you and will guide their client (home seller) to a Realtor® who has a track record of closing escrows.

There are a couple of things you and your real estate agent should consider:

1)    With your lender’s
prequalification (which should be current/within 30 days and mention your stellar FICO scores) you should also include evidence of your down payment and reserves (cross out your account number/address/etc. to prevent identity theft).

2)    Have your real estate agent discuss with the seller’s agent specifics: preferred close of escrow date, preferred services (escrow and title companies, etc). What is the seller’s motivation? Is a quick escrow a benefit or hindrance? Tailor your offer to meet a seller’s preferences; it’s not just about the purchase price.

3)    When you see a home you like, act quickly – try your best to avoid a multiple offer situation. After writing your offer, be prepared for a counter offer and again, don’t drag your feet, know ahead of time how much you are willing to increase your offered price.

In more affordable price ranges, it is not uncommon for buyers to write more than half a dozen purchase offers. Best of luck to you, good things come to those who wait!

Phyllis HARB 2012 WEB

Please visit
Phyllis Harb is a Realtor® with Prudential California Realty.
She may be contacted at (818) 790-7325 or by email