I want to change the order of business when it comes to the home-buying process because the natural order of things, more often than not, hurts buyers.
The most common question that I receive first from prospective buyers is usually "where do I start?" The second most common is "will this home still be available once I have my documents together?" I get it! It's very normal for an interesting property to prompt the home buying process for a lot of people. And to be honest, some of my clients are able to pull it off. They get lucky. But you're not here to learn how to be lucky— you're here to learn how to best position yourself to win.
So before you start looking at homes online, I want you to start building your team, and I recommend that your first call be to a realtor that you want representing you! Sure, you can just call the listing agent for properties that you're interested in. A lot of people understand that the listing agent is the most familiar with the property, and that's a valid line of thinking. But wouldn't it be so much better to have an agent that is loyal to your interests and yours alone?
The best way to establish an agency relationship is to sit down at the very beginning and discuss your goals with them. In the business, we call this a buyer consultation. The power of the buyer consultation is that, from the get go, there is an understanding of your priorities. In other words, if you and your agent are on the same page, you will save time in your search. This clarity goes a long way in a competitive market, and it will give you an edge.
The second thing the buyer consultation establishes is trust. This is really important because you're likely going to be taking some risks in the 2022 market. During the consultation, make sure you ask the agent about their experience and strategies for winning in competitive situations. Explain what you are or are not comfortable doing. It's just as important to be on the same page with your game plan as it is to be on the same page with the type of property you're looking to buy.