Award-winning real estate agent Samina Chowdhury has some advice for over-eager homebuyers.
“I always say, you live in the payment, not in the price,” she said.
Potential homebuyers are understandably excited, especially if they are in the market for their first home. But, Samina said, they need to be realistic and must rein in their enthusiasm—because the monthly payment needs to fit within their budget for the next 15-30 years. Otherwise, the consequences can be most detrimental to their wallet and their credit score.
Homesellers must also be realistic. They could be in for a windfall if they play their cards right. But if they drop the ball, calamity could ensue.
At the center of it all is the real estate agent, who can head off problems for everybody by maintaining realistic expectations for their clients. After all, the job of an agent in any regard is to act on behalf of the clients they are representing. And as important as the seller is, this critical process really begins when the buyer and real estate agent sit down to talk for the first time to discuss their goals, wants, and needs.
“It is the agent’s job to tell the buyer, ‘Look, let’s just first figure out a monthly payment you’re comfortable with, and we’ll start from there,’” said Samina, who is based in Maryland.
One common mistake occurs when a client tells their real estate agent that they want to look at houses in the $400,000-$500,000 range. With numbers like that, however, the true financial comfort zone is typically $350,000-$450,000. But as requested, the agent, if they are inexperienced, will show houses in the $400,000-$500,000 range.
“Now, I have spoiled your eyes,” Samina said. “You won’t look at 350K like you looked at 500K. This is a process and I’m guiding you the wrong way. Now, your emotions are all over the place.”
Such a scenario illustrates why an experienced real estate agent is a critical piece of the process. There is no substitute for a seasoned agent, one who can navigate the ups-and-downs of one of the most stressful—and fulfilling—experiences anyone will ever go through.
Take Samina’s experience, for instance.
A member of the Bob Lucido Team, Keller Williams Lucido Agency who has been featured on the cover of Forbes magazine, Samina has 21 years of experience in real estate. She is currently ranked among the top 4% of agents in Maryland, and knows the Baltimore—Washington D.C.—Northern Virginia real estate market from the inside out.
So what advice would Samina give someone, to avoid the pitfalls? Get yourself an experienced real estate agent, like her.
“What makes a good agent?” she asked. “It’s really how many years you’ve done business. You want an agent who can tell you, ‘I’ve been there, done that.’ So any problem you give me, I can tackle it.”
Samina also encourages strong communication, as she explained in her Ted Talk.
All of this can have a major impact on the wonderful, life-changing experience of buying a home. This rite of passage can set the stage for years of happiness. But the process can be riddled with pitfalls thanks to shortcomings on the part of the buyer, the seller and the agent.
So what’s to know when you’re setting out to buy a house?
The first thing is, take responsibility for your actions. You’re looking at houses, and the agent is helping you. So the onus is on you to stay on top of things and be realistic when it comes to location, the size of the house, the amenities and, most importantly, the price.
But at the same time, your real estate agent is a licensed professional obligated to work in your best interest as you gear up to make one of the most consequential purchases of your life.
So with all of this shared responsibility in play, let’s take a look at some of the mistakes that can happen when a homebuyer and real estate agent combine forces to win the day—or fail to make the proper decisions.
The top mistakes buyers can make include:
- Viewing houses before setting a budget.
- Establishing a price range before discussing it with a real estate agent or lender.
- Failing to set criteria for the house you hope to buy—location, size, price, etc.
- Failing to identify your wants, needs and hopes before embarking on the homebuying process.
- Working with an agent who fails to communicate, educate and set realistic expectations.
- Letting your agent make the final decision for you.
The top mistakes that sellers can make include:
- Neglecting to research your market.
- Negotiating on price instead of value.
- Working with an inexperienced agent who has neither certifications nor positive reviews.
- Failing to anticipate obstacles.
Visit saminasells.com to learn more.