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Omaha Home Buyers Guide

A Guide to Buying a House in: Omaha Nebraska

Omaha NE home buying tips and tricks

Are you looking to purchase a home in Omaha NE? Buying a home can be a bit overwhelming. Most home buyers only purchase a home every 9 years so it is difficult to get completely comfortable with the process.

Let’s break it down into four stages of the home buying process.

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The first step for all home buyers is always scanning through homes on your phone. We will pick it up right from there and take you all the way to close.

  • What to do when you are starting to get serious about buying
  • Tips and tricks to effective home shopping
  • What to do once you get a contract
  • Making the process from contract to close smooth…And what to do post close

Let’s dive in!

What to do when you are starting to get serious about buying

I’ll admit that I spent years scanning through homes on my phone before I was ever serious about buying. But there is that moment where you decide that maybe you should look just a bit further at becoming a homeowner. So where do you start?

Who do you contact first? A realtor or a lender?

Most people contact a realtor first. But even your realtor knows this is wrong. A good realtor will send you directly to a lender before showing you any homes. A realtor does not want to show houses to buyers who are not qualified. The first step whether you talk to a realtor or a lender is going to be talk to the lender first.

Now even if you are not ready to complete an application and get fully pre-approved, a good lender can answer your initial questions and give you a rough idea of what you will need to do next. Even a phone call with some questions about your credit, income, employment history, and assets will give you a good idea of where you stand.

But remember most realtors will not show you houses until you have that pre-approval letter. A full pre-approval will require a complete application, a review of your income and asset documents, and pulling a tri-merge of your credit.

…Now talk to a realtor

After you are pre-approved, a consultation with a realtor is the next step. Notice I did not say “looking at houses” with your realtor. A consultation, or even coffee, with a realtor will get you both on the same page about what your goals are with home ownership.

It is easy to become a realtor, but difficult to be a great realtor. A great realtor will make sure you get that house of your dreams at a great price. Don’t just use the first realtor you talk to. Do some research. We can help introduce you to some of the best realtors in Omaha.

Tips and tricks to effective home shopping

Shopping for home is all about strategy and game planning. If you find that dream home at the great price there are a 100 other buyers trying to get it too. Shopping for homes is exhausting enough, but when you start losing your dream homes to other buyers it can completely drain an excited buyer.

How to make your offer more appealing

The house does not always go to the highest offer. There are things you can do to make your offer more appealing without offering more than every other buyer.

Reputation matters

In real estate reputation matters. Omaha is a good size city, but the real estate community is pretty small. If your realtor has a great reputation the seller’s agent will recommend their offer over a buyer using an agent with a bad rep. Your lender’s reputation matters as well. Online lenders have low rates, but they have a reputation for closing late and poor communication. A buyer using an online lender is less likely to have their offer accepted over a buyer using a trusted local lender. Using a trusted local realtor and lender will give the seller’s agent confidence in your offer. The seller may always want the most money possible, but the seller’s agent knows a solid buyer with a slightly lower offer is better than a high offer from an iffy buyer.

How to stand out in a sea of buyers

Let us help you stand out in a sea of buyers. As the lender we can reach out to the listing agent right after you make an offer to let them know you are fully approved and a solid buyer. Few lenders do this and it will make you stand out when the seller and their agent are reviewing offers. We are here to help you and your agent get in your dream home.

Many listing agents will beat us to the punch on this last one. A good listing agent wants to know that the offer they are accepting is solid. I frequently get calls from listing agents asking for information on the buyer. To make sure I have great things to tell them, get me all the documentation (income, assets, etc) as soon as possible so I can tell the agent I have reviewed everything.

What to do once you get a contract

Once that contract comes in it is time to spring into action. The clock starts ticking and we have a set amount of time to get everything ready to go for the closing date.

I know that sounds a bit intense, but it is important for buyers to understand there are almost 20 people all working together to get the seller out and you, the new buyer, in the home. I try to let buyers know at the very beginning that speed is necessary to get you in the house on time. Even a complete file will likely require additional or updated documents prior to close. If a buyer gets those to us as soon as they are requested, the closing will go smoothly. If a buyer is slow to respond to phone calls, text, and emails it can create issues.

A good lender will reach out to everyone (listing agent, title, insurance agent) right in the beginning to let them know we are starting the loan. A good lender will send a weekly update to all parties as well. Constant communication is needed from the moment the contract comes in until we get to the closing table.

Making the process from contract to close smooth…And what to do post close

There are usually four weeks from the time we get the contract to the time we all meet at the closing table. This is really the part that requires a great lender, a great buyer’s agent, and even a great listing agent.

Now for a quick lecture

If a document needs to be signed or e-signed it is important that this is done the same day. Mortgage regulations require that several forms be signed at the start and during the loan process. We need this immediately.

We will often request additional bank statements, pay stubs, or explanations required by the underwriter. It is important that these get in within 48 hours of the request. We typically have four weeks from contract to close. We cannot lose a week or two waiting on forms and conditions.

Okay, end of lecture. It won’t be that bad, I promise. Just trying to make it clear that buyer participation is needed on a home purchase.

What happens after close

Did you know for 87% of Americans home equity is the largest source of retirement? For the vast majority of people the home is the retirement plan. But who is managing that investment?

Mortgage debt adviser

There are many ways you can structure your mortgage for buying a home. There are even more ways to use your mortgage and your equity as part of your financial planning. Keeping track of your rate for refinance opportunities can save you thousands a year. By monitoring your equity it is possible to use it to pay down other debt. A home can be a springboard to other real estate investments. A good lender will keep track of all of these opportunities for you just like a financial adviser.

Realtor adviser

Are you thinking about remodeling your new home? A good realtor can tell you want are good remodels and what are not so good. For example, I had some buyers who wanted to expand their living room by converting the house from a 3 bedroom to a 2 bedroom. Now a buyer can do whatever they want with their home, but in this example the buyer was not aware that going to 2 bedrooms would drastically lower the value of their home. After speaking with their realtor (years after the realtor sold them the house) they decided against the remodel.

Use your realtor and your lender after you close

The realtor and lender are not just there to get you in the home. We are professionals in real estate and can advise you for years after you have purchased the home. With effective home and debt management, a buyer can quickly build a sizable amount of equity and use it to build for their retirement.

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