The Sacramento, CA area industry standard is as follows:
1. Know what you can afford – Attain a preapproval letter from a lender or ensure you have supporting documents if you plan to pay cash. This is referred to as “proof of funds”.
2. Find a good REALTOR – There are varying types of real estate agents out there. But the one that may best serve you will be a REALTOR, full-time, and with the experience needed to help you navigate this challenging market. You will provide your agent with the pre-approval or proof of funds (or both) right up front. This lets the REALTOR know that you are serious and ready to move forward when you identify a home.
3. Identify your “Must Have’s” and “Can’t Stands” – Your REALTOR will go over this checklist with you which will also include the area you desire, square footage, bed/bath requirements, etc.
4. Check MLS (MetroList Services, Sacramento service provider) – I recommend ONLY using this database because sometimes the online property websites are delayed with the statuses of the properties, and by the time you see something you want, it may no longer be available. Your REALTOR can set up a client portal for you which displays properties available in real-time. The REALTOR can also choose to send you ONLY foreclosures or sometimes they are referred to as “Bank Owned” and “REO’s” (Real Estate Owned, a terminology the banks use to identify what’s on their books).
5. Once you identify a property, because you took the steps above, you are all ready to go! Your REALTOR can submit an offer on your behalf and you have increased your chances of aquiring that property because you are prepared in avance and know EXACTLY what you want.
Happy House Hunting!!