REALTOR® Karen Balkin Educates Buyers on the Home-Buying Process

KIRKLAND, WASH. (STL.News) – Buying a home is an exciting process. However, for many buyers, the process can seem like a mystery. And some buyers mistakenly start the process backward, thinking once they find a home they want to buy then it’s time to get financing and a broker to help them. This can be stressful and often doesn’t turn out well. The more prepared buyer will always win.

That is why using a seasoned broker at the outset is essential. “They will help you pinpoint your home-buying priorities so you don’t waste time looking at homes that don’t meet your needs and make sure your financing is squared away first,” said Balkin. “Having a solid broker by your side will fill in gaps in your knowledge that you are unaware of.”

To further educate people on home-buying essentials, Balkin shares the following six tips:

No. 1: Get financed first. “This is crucial,” stressed Balkin. “You want to make sure all your ducks are in a row with a well-respected local lender. Keep in mind that you don’t need to put 20% down to buy a property. Being pre-approved helps you define your investment range for your new home and you’ll need it for your offer. This way you know how much house you can afford. Your credit score will by insignificantly affected by applying for a mortgage, so don’t put it off.”

No. 2: Get a consultation. Make sure your broker provides an in-depth consultation of the market, contracts and negotiation. This will help you clarify your needs, expectations, and ideas. A home buying consultation will save you time and avoid stress because you won’t become befuddled when contractual situations arise you weren’t unaware of. Instead, you’ll be in the driver’s seat knowing what to expect and what your options are. Buyer’s brokers are compensated by the seller, so there is no expense to you.

No. 3: Teamwork is important. Working as a team will get you a much better outcome than merely considering your broker as a hired gun. “I doubt you sell dozens of homes a year, they do, so tap their experience,” said Balkin. “When there is a free flow of questions, answers and ideas you’ll get the best service possible. And If you’re having an issue, talk about it, as you can always part ways, if needed.”

No. 4: Work with a seasoned REALTOR® who will tell you if the home you want to buy could be a mistake. Choose someone who is truly your ally. “Your REALTOR® will be with you every step to guide you and answer questions about your home-buying decision,” stated Balkin.

No. 5: Pick your top 3 neighborhoods to live in. “This will provide more focused options for homes,” added Balkin. “Plan ahead and start touring homes with your broker about 3 months prior to your moving day.”

No. 6: Savvy negotiator. “Each contract to buy a home is unique. Did you know that your broker has hundreds of legal agendas to choose from and revise when they craft your offer? A sharp broker has the knowledge, credentials, and track record to knock it out of the park. A great offer will save you money, protect your interests and have the nuances to be acceptable to the seller. If there’s competition, you’ll win without overpaying,” concluded Balkin.

Karen Balkin is a seasoned broker at listing and representing buyers. Her experience ranges from selling luxury homes, new construction, houses, townhomes, condos, view properties, waterfront homes, and investment properties in Kirkland, Bellevue, Seattle, Mercer Island, Medina, Hunts Point, Yarrow Point, Redmond, Issaquah, Sammamish, Kenmore, Mill Creek, Bothell, Woodinville, and Renton.

About Karen Balkin, MA, REALTOR® Elite Homes Team, Windermere Real Estate

Karen Balkin is a Certified Home Buying Instructor of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, a 5-star-rated agent on Zillow, Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE), Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE), Certified Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES), member of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), and Green Certified Real Estate Professional for Green Leadership. For more information, please call (425) 518-2981, or visit