5 Powerful Buying Strategies
5 Secrets to Buying the Best House for Your Money 

1. Get "Pre-Approved" - Not "Pre-Qualified!"

Do you want to get the best property you can for the least amount of 
money? Then make sure you are in the strongest negotiating position 
possible. Price is only one element in the negotiations, and not 
necessarily the most important one. Often other terms, such as the 
strength of the buyer or the length of escrow, are critical to a 

In years past, I always recommended that buyers get "pre-qualified" by 
a lender. This means that you spend a few minutes on the phone with 
a lender who asks you a few questions. Based on the answers, the 
lender pronounces you "pre-qualified" and issues a certificate that 
you can show to a seller. Sellers are aware that such certificates 
are WORTHLESS, and here's why! None of the information has been 

Many times unknown problems can come to the surface! Some of the 
problems I've seen include recorded judgments, alimony payments due, 
glitches on the credit report due to any number of reasons both 
accurately and inaccurately, down payments that have not been in the 
clients' bank account long enough, etc.

So the way to make the strongest offer today is to get "pre-approved". 
This happens AFTER all information has been checked and verified. You 
are actually APPROVED for the loan and the only loose end is the 
appraisal on the property. This process takes anywhere from a few days 
to a few weeks depending on your situation. It's VERY POWERFUL and a 
weapon I recommend all my clients have in their negotiating arsenal. 

2. Sell Your Property First, Then Buy the House 

If you have a house to sell, sell it before selecting a house to buy! 
Contingency sales aren't nearly as strong as one that comes in with a 
ready, willing and able buyer. Consider this scenario: You've found 
the perfect house - now you have to go make an offer to the seller. 
You want the seller to reduce the price and wait until you sell your 
house. The seller figures that this is a risky deal, since he might 
pass up a buyer who DOESN'T have to sell a house while he's waiting 
for you. So he says OK, he'll do the contingency but it has to be a 
full price offer! You have now paid more for the house than you 
could have because of the contingency, and you have to sell your 
existing house in a hurry! Otherwise you lose the house! So to sell 
quickly you might take an offer that's lower than if you had more 
time. The bottom line is that buying before selling might cost you 
THOUSANDS of dollars. 

3. If you're concerned that there is not a house on the market for 
you, then go on a window-shopping trip. You can identify possible 
houses and locations without falling in love with a specific house. 
If you feel confident after that then put your house on the market. 

Another tactic is to make the sale "subject to seller finding suitable 
housing". Adding this phrase to the listing means that WHEN YOU DO 
FIND A BUYER, you will have some time to find the new place. If you 
don't find anything to your liking, you don't have to sell your 
present home.

3. Play the Game of Nines 

Before house hunting, make a list of things you want in the new place. 
Then make a list of the things you don't want. You can use this list 
as a guide to rate each property that you see. The one with the 
biggest score wins! This helps avoid confusion and keeps things in 
perspective when you're comparing dozens of homes. 

When house hunting, keep in mind the difference between "STYLE AND 
SUBSTANCE". The SUBSTANCE are things that cannot be changed such as 
the location, view, size of lot, noise in the area, school district, 
and floor plan. The STYLE represents easily changed surface finishes 
like carpet, wallpaper, color, and window coverings. Buy the house 
with good SUBSTANCE, because the STYLE can always be changed to match 
your tastes. I always recommend that you imagine each house as if it 
were vacant. 

Consider each house on its underlying merits, not the seller's 
decorating skills. 

4. Don't Be Pushed Into Any House 

Your agent should show you everything available that meets your 
requirements. Don't make a decision on a house until you feel that 
you've seen enough to pick the best one. 

A decade ago, homes were selling quickly, usually a few days after 
listing. In that kind of market, agents advised their clients to make 
an offer ON THE SPOT if they liked the house. That was good advice at 
the time. Today there isn't always this urgency, unless a home is 
drastically underpriced, and you'll know if it is. 

Don't forget to check into the SCHOOL DISTRICTS of the area you're 
considering. Information is available on every school; such as class 
sizes, % of students that go on to college, SAT scores, etc. You can 
get this information from this web site. 

5. Stop Calling Ads! 

Please note - ads are sometimes created to make the phone ring! Many 
of the homes have some drawback that's not mentioned in the ad, such 
as traffic noise, power lines, or litigation in the community. What's 
not mentioned in the ad is usually more important than what is. 

For this reason, I want you to be very careful when reading ads. 
Remember that the person writing the ad is representing the seller 
and not you! The most important thing you can do is have someone 
on your side looking out for your best interests. Your own agent 
will critique the property with an eye towards how well it meets your 
needs and will point out any drawbacks you should know about. So 
whether you decide to work with me or not, pick an agent you feel 
comfortable with and enlist the services of that agent as a buyer's 
broker. Then you become a client with all the rights, benefits, and 
privileges created by this agency relationship, and you're no longer 
just a shopper. Did you know that many homes are sold WITHOUT A SIGN 
ever going up or an AD EVER BEING PUT IN THE PAPER? These "great 
deals" go to those people who are committed to working with one 
agent. When an agent hears of a great buy, who do you think he's 
going to call? His client, who he has a legal obligation to work 
hard for you, or someone who just called on the phone and said 
"keep your eyes open"? So to get the best buy on a property, I always 
recommend that you hire your own agent and stick with him or her. 
Brenda Flick
Brenda Flick
23120 Alicia Pkwy Mission Viejo CA 92692