Most Important First Step is Selecting a Realtor®
Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, a move-up purchaser, acquiring an investment property, or relocating across the country to find a home, buying a home is one of the most thrilling events experienced in your lifetime. The process can be a confusing one for some, or simply a re-fresher for others who have bought and sold multiple homes.
Regardless of your experience, I’m here to tell you (and show you) this is not a difficult process. It doesn’t have to be a chore. It doesn’t have to be stressful. Instead, it can and should be an easy, informative process and one that fulfills your desired outcome in a professional and efficient manner. That’s why I believe interviewing and selecting the right real estate agent with the right skill set is by far the most important decision when a buyer begins the buying process. It can be difficult for a buyer to reach their desired outcome at the end of the process if they select the wrong agent at the beginning of the process.
The Step-by-Step Process to Buying a Home
The infographic below is straight out of my Buyer’s Presentation and I’ve found it to be one of my best resources when I dialogue with a client about the buying process. The buying process can be simplified to five functional areas (1) hire an agent, (2) hire a lender, (3) find a home, (4) submit and negotiate an offer, ratify the contract, and (5) complete settlement. However, this of course over-simplifies things and leaves out several crucial tasks and components managed by the agent as more fully described below.
Once a buyer has selected the right real estate agent, one of the first things the agent should do is introduce the buyer to a highly skilled correspondent mortgage lender. This type of lender generally is best positioned to offer the most competitive rates and mortgage loan programs. Equally important, a correspondent lender typically brings the most strength to a buyer’s offer. This is vital when a seller is considering the loan stipulated in the offer contract, or when measuring the content of a buyer’s pre-approval letter and the probability of the lender successfully closing in a reasonable time frame. There is a symbiotic relationship that exists between buyer-agent-lender. All three work together to reach the buyer’s desired outcome.
Practice Makes Perfect – Practice on the Prospects to Perfect the Offer
One of the things I like to do with my buyers is practice the offer as we prospect. I find it helpful to dialogue all the elements that go into a buyer and agent evaluating an offer and I like to do it as we’re actually showing property. By practicing this home-by-home, I find it helps my buyers become ready for action when it’s time to actually write the offer on the home they want.
For example, just like an appraiser would do, we consider the subject home’s market value. What is the list price and condition as compared and contrasted to comparable homes sold, under contract and active for sale? We think about the perceived strength of the list price in the context of current days on market (DOM) and specific absorption rates in the home’s sub-market. We’ll talk about seller price reductions, if any, and the amount and timing of the reductions. We’ll consider whether the home is vacant or not and how this may affect seller motivation. If furnished, we contemplate do the furnishings appear to be the sellers’, or is the home professionally staged? This helps us to understand if the seller is confronted with the significant costs of possibly carrying two mortgages. I’ll even provide my analysis of the Average Sold Price to Average List Price Ratio for the specific neighborhood so that we can understand the price firmness or softness of that particular sub-market. We’ll discuss the condition of the home and what it might mean to the home inspection. We also address condition to understand the extent and cost of possible buyer improvements and the need for a seller subsidy/concessions. All of this data is carefully used to ascertain the market value of the home and the possible degree of seller motivation in terms of an acceptable selling price.
This level of preparation benefits my buyers in two important ways. First, it prepares the buyer by practicing consideration of the chief elements that are important when making an offer. Second, it helps them understand the framework of an offer and how to structure it in such a manner to achieve the highest probability for winning seller acceptance, which is the ultimate goal.
Extraordinary Agents Make the Buying Process Extraordinary
An agent who does the ordinary will yield ordinary results. Extraordinary agents produce extraordinary results and these are the results that most benefit my clients. When I work with my buyer clients, we identify their desired outcome and then everything goes into the process of delivering on that outcome. I treat our teamwork like preparing for the most important competition of my buyer’s life. It’s my job to be the knowledge expert and conduit of information for my client so they can make informed decisions and be positioned with the strongest comparative advantages. Why? Because another buyer/agent team could want the same home as my buyer. Our team must be the better positioned to win seller acceptance!
“It is with much enthusiasm that we share with you our thoughts about Tim Trainum. He his the most knowledgeable and informed real estate agent with whom we have ever dealt. Over the last 45 years we have bought and sold a combination of 26 homes, condos, and multi-family apartment buildings in Fairfax, Arlington and other parts of the country. Tim is without a doubt the complete package. He did everything we asked him to do. He gave us great information and advice and kept us informed as to his progress day by day. We highly recommend him.” – Dean and Mary Simonds
I am a high-value agent who delivers demonstrably useful results to my clients. I operate my business with relationship-focused interaction that aligns client goals with beneficial outcomes. I have an unyielding commitment to being an open and honest advocate, ensuring my clients reach their desired outcome efficiently and with the most equity. My overarching passion in real estate is to join your buying and selling journey and help improve your quality of life.
I am a full-time, licensed Realtor® who has established deep roots and knows the region. I was born and raised in the Northern Virginia area, graduating from Chantilly High School and then James Madison University with degrees in Economics and Finance. I live in Fairfax with my wife Liz and our seven year old son Robby. I’m a homeowner myself and understand the important decisions my clients face when they’re buying or selling a home. In addition, I’m an owner of investment property, including a multi-family apartment buildings. I have a penchant for helping people having taught adult education courses in investing and personal finance, and helped numerous clients, friends and colleagues in creating a path to wealth creation. I also serve as the trustee for a private charitable memorial fund.
I have been working in the real estate industry helping clients for over 25 years. As a Listing Agent, the value I create for my sellers is to help them elevate and showcase home condition. I use multiple valuation techniques to pinpoint market value for my sellers. I use cutting-edge marketing strategies to promote widespread buyer awareness and produce the maximum selling price in the fewest days possible, while protecting my seller’s best interests throughout the complete selling and settlement process. As a Buyer’s Agent, I help my buyers locate the home that changes their life. I guide my buyers in structuring the most compelling offer that can win seller acceptance, while retaining the most value and equity possible for buyer benefit and in a manner that protects their best interests throughout the complete buying and settlement process. I have worked with clients in the purchase of investment property, helping them to prospect property as well as evaluate all the financial metrics important to making the investment. My real estate experience includes working in the development, construction and operation of real estate infrastructure projects, closing over $500 million, as well as supporting several commercial real estate clients in the pursuit of reaching their objectives. My experience spans across consulting with clients on remodeling and home improvement projects to negotiating land purchase agreements and easements, to negotiating residential and commercial leases. There are few areas of real estate that I haven’t touched and it continually has been with a mind-set of delivering exceptional outcomes.