HOW TO FIND YOUR DREAM PROPERTY?  THERE IS NO SECRET!

In the Internet era, nearly all property data is online and available to the public, such as school district rating, property tax, neighborhood criminal rate, neighborhood sex offender information, and property listing information.  There is really no secret for a buyer, whether a seasoned real estate investor or a first-time home buyer, to find their dream property. 

The buyer, however, needs to diligently do the homework.  The buyer, first-time home buyer or not, may use the following steps to find their dream property.

 

KNOW your affordable price range

You need to determine the price range of your affordable property at the beginning so as not to waste your time and energy.

There are mainly two ways to finance your property purchase:

(1) Cash.  Most sellers would require bank statements to prove that you have the cash for closing when you make a cash offer.

(2) Mortgage.  Almost all sellers would require you to provide a pre-approval letter issued by a bank or mortgage broker to show the maximum loan amount that you can afford when you make an offer backed by a mortgage.  If your income source is complicated (e.g., including wage, rental income, and capital gain), we recommend using a local bank as it's easier to communicate with the underwriter of the local bank and the local bank usually closes in a short period.  Email us at service@olaie.com, if you need referral of lender.

 

find neighborhoods you like

You can search online, ask your friends and colleagues, or even drive around to find multiple neighborhoods that interest you.

You can check the properties in the neighborhoods that have open houses to get a feeling of the neighborhoods and become familiar with the price range of the properties in the neighborhoods.

Doing this refines your search area to one or more neighborhoods.

 
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SEARCH PROPERTY LISTINGS ONLINE

You can search property listing information in the neighborhoods that you like through public real estate websites such as Redfin.com, Zillow.com, or Trulia.com

You can even set up search criteria and reminders at these websites to become notified of new listings that hit the market.

These websites usually have good information on school districts, property history, and similar property sale transaction in the neighborhood. 

Also, check the local police website for accurate criminal and sex offender information around the property.

 

 

CHECK THE PROPERTY IN PERSON

The photos in the online property listing or brochure may be photoshopped.  The map information of the property can hardly tell the traffic or noise around the property.  The property description may not tell the whole story.  

You need to check the properties in person.  Check the properties at their open house dates and times.  You can also fill out our Contact Form to request our agent to allow entrance into these properties

To facilitate foreign states or international buyers, Olaie also provides a REMOTE PROPERTY VIEWING service to show the property via online communication software (Skype, FaceTime, or WeChat) in real-time, and answer any of your questions.

 

 

HOW TO WIN A BIDDING WAR?  THERE IS NO SECRET!

Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.
— Confucius

You find a dream property that you can afford.  Now think from the perspective of the seller to see how your offer may be accepted by the seller, especially in a seller market where there are bidding wars for popular properties.  However, you don't want to overbid and make a regrettable investment decision.  You can write a touching letter to the seller to show how you love the property, which may be helpful if your offer terms are identical, or very similar, to competitors.  However, most of the time, the seller/listing agent will just compare the competing offers based on several key factors:

 

Money talks! 

The higher your offer price, the more likely you offer will be accepted.

However, you don't want to overbid. 

Olaie provides a Detailed Property Analysis, including property details, comparables, market trends, neighbors, neighborhood profile, assessor map, and flood map (Sample Detailed Property Analysis) to help you determine fair values of the property.

Depending on the pricing plan, Olaie can provide a Rebate of More Than 2.5% to help you make a competitive offer and win the bidding war.

 

cash is king!

A cash offer, even not the highest offer price, often beats the other offers backed by mortgages, as it is almost certain that the buyer can close the deal with cash on hand while the bank may disapprove the loan at the last minute for various reasons. 

Buyers need to bear in mind that the pre-approval letter from the bank is only an intention of the bank and is not legally binding.

If possible, check whether you can get cash from your relatives, friends, current home equity, or securities account. 

Waive inspection and/or financing contingencies?!

In a bidding war, an offer that waives inspection contingency and/or financing contingency, even not the highest offer price, often beats other offers that retain such contingencies.

Please check our FAQ to fully understand the high risks associated with waiving these contingencies.

We recommend the buyer to conduct a pre-inspection before waiving inspection contingency.  Before waiving financing contingency, ensure that there is sufficient cash in hand that can cover the difference between the estimated appraisal value by your mortgage lender and your offer price.

 

HOW TO MAXIMIZE THE BENEFITS OF OLAIE?

VERY SIMPLE - DO YOUR HOMEWORK to save tons of money!

 

Fill out the Contact Form to obtain data for the property that you are interested in.  We will let you know whether the listing agent will wait to review offers until the OFFER DEADLINE or FIRST COME FIRST REVIEWED.

Many, if not all, popular properties have an open house.  The listing agent often will not review offers until an offer deadline after the open house date to attract more buyers to make offers.  You should check the property at the open house FOR FREE.

If the offer is first come first reviewed, you need to prudently determine whether this is really your dream property. Carefully review the property data or even drive around to check the outside of the property.  When you select our 1% cap at $10,000 plan and request Olaie to show you the property, we charge $100 per property per visit, but it is totally worth the cost compared to the tens of thousands of dollars you will save from our high REBATE and our professional services.

In addition, NO EXCLUSIVE AGENCY IS REQUIRED WITH OLAIE.  So you can work with us only when you are sure that you want to make an offer of a particular property.

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Which pricing plan should the buyer choose? 

It really depends on your pricing and buying strategy. If you are sure that your offer has a high chance of being accepted by the seller, consider the $3,000 Flat Fee Plan, under which you would most probably receive the highest rebate.

If you want to test the waters and are unsure that the seller would accept your offer, consider the 1.5% Commission Plan, under which there is no fee charged to the buyer until the property is purchased.

If you believe that your offer has a fair chance of being accepted and would like to receive a big rebate, consider the 1% Commission Cap at $10,000 Plan, under which you can make unlimited offers to unlimited properties until one property is closed. Our final fee is 1% of the purchase price with a cap at $10,000. We believe the 1% Commission Cap at $10,000 Plan is the best value for most buyers.

 

 

UNDERSTAND THE LIMITED FUNCTIONS OF REAL ESTATE BROKERS

A buyer’s agent is required by law to advise the buyer to seek expert advice on matters relating to the transaction that are beyond the agent’s expertise
— See Washington State Statute RCW 18.86.050(1)(c)

First-time home buyers and even seasoned real estate investors often believe that the real estate broker can help them on all issues in the real estate transaction.  That's not true!  By legal restriction, the real estate brokers cannot give professional advice on property inspection, home appraisal value, legal enforcement of the sale contract, and other matters. Instead, buyers should hire a licensed home inspector for a home inspection report, an appraiser for a home appraisal value, and a lawyer for legal advice.

So even if a real estate broker, whether from Olaie or not, accompanies you to the property, such broker cannot give assurance whether the condition of the property is acceptable or not.  The buyer needs to hire a licensed inspector to inspect the property.  You also need to review the inspection scope.  For example, the inspection is mostly based on the inspector's observations without disturbing the surface of the property so the inspection won’t uncover pest, foundation, or plumbing problems (unless they are obvious).  If you have a specific concern regarding the foundation, you need to hire a structuring engineer for his/her opinion.

The inspection report and extra examination, if any, may each cost several hundred dollars. But it is a wise investment and protection. You should not save money here.  You should use a portion of Olaie's BIG REBATE to do these due diligence works to make sure you have a sound investment.