If you are in the market for a luxury home, there are key areas you need to pay attention to throughout the search process. Here are my top 10 tips to help you find your dream home.
1. Learn the search process.
Many luxury homes go unlisted to protect a seller’s privacy. These properties are often found through the Realtor’s personal connections as opposed to the MLS or Zillow.
2. Go beyond the photos.
Make sure you don’t dismiss properties based on their front elevation photos. Many large homes aren’t photogenic that way and you have to see them in person to appreciate. Always conduct a search of the property and vicinity on Google Maps so you can see what’s around the home. Your Realtor should be constantly previewing with your criteria in mind – listen to them if they tell you that you NEED to see a property!
3. Work with a local expert.
It’s so important to have a great Buyer’s Agent who is familiar with the area you want to buy in. There’s more control on access to high-end properties. With some of these luxury homes, your Realtor literally has to “sell” you as a viable prospect to get a showing with the Listing Agent and Seller.
4. Use a local lender.
Listing Agents and Sellers know that many of the large banking institutions have challenges getting the loan approved on the actual closing day. Delays due to financing can cause unnecessary stress. It is wise to get pre-approved through a local mortgage broker that will make a personal call to the Listing Agent during the negotiation process. Check with the bank you have a relationship with but have a backup plan if they cannot perform. Also, know the difference between the pre-approval letter and the prequalification letter.
5. Document everything.
There is more scrutiny today in the high-end market. Financial documentation is critical. Anyone who is making a lot of money has a manager or an accountant and tries hard to shelter their money so it can be difficult to show the lender you have the income. Are you paying cash? Awesome. Make sure you have your Proof of Funds ready to submit with the offer. Some Sellers will insist on seeing Proof of Funds before they will even allow an appointment.
6. Hire smart, reliable advisers.
A good Realtor won’t make the client’s decisions but will make skilled and experienced suggestions. Pay attention to your mortgage broker and Realtor that you trust.
7. Don’t forget about title insurance.
An experienced Title Company can make the difference in your real estate transaction. I encourage a local, well-known title company – not a small office with one assistant. You want to make sure you have a chance to review the documentation of the title insurance process before closing time. Also, you do not want to have a challenge getting your earnest money released if you need to terminate during the option period.
8. Look into the future with new construction.
Make sure you know what building is planned around you. What happens if a new home community fails and some of the lots are sold to a less quality builder? Does the area have consistent growth? What are the deed restrictions? Know the timeline. What happens if there are significant construction delays? There is more involved when you purchase new construction and you need an experienced agent to guide you.
9. Unbiased Inspections.
Do you have an excellent, detail-oriented inspector that is familiar with all of the systems of a luxury home? How about a licensed structural engineer? The guy who inspected your brother’s home 10 years ago might not be the professional you need for this property.
10. There’s room to negotiate.
It is the individual points, the view or remodeling that makes these properties one of a kind and allows them to command a particular price. Have your Realtor research the comparable properties that have recently sold, getting closing prices, right before you make an offer. With a luxury property – this is not as simple as checking the MLS. Make sure your Realtor has knowledge about the private sales in the area.
If you’re ready to start looking for your dream home, you can start a search here on our website or call the The Sharon Ketko Group at 972-612-9620 or Sharon’s personal cell at 972-841-3110.