Before You Search - Buyer Information

Nick sees a TON of people, mostly first time homebuyers, make the same mistakes.  In order to streamline your home search, use this guide.  It will help you save time, save frustration and save you money.

Step 1. Contact Nick Ahrens, or another high-caliber local agent

The earlier you contact and hire a real estate agent, the easier things will be throughout your buying process. Nick Ahrens has a ton of time saving tips and proven strategies for his clients.

Nick Ahrens actually enjoys working with clients who are planning 4+ months ahead to buy a home. The more time spent together, the more comfortable and enjoyable the experience will be. If Nick does not service your area, he will be more than happy to refer you to one of the trusted agents he knows across the country from his Preferred Agent List.

Ever hear of someone saying the home buying process is confusing and/or an emotional roller coaster? It shouldn’t be. Ask them if they have an agent... If they do, ask if they have a high-quality agent. They likely don’t’ have an agent, or they should be firing their current agent for a new one... on rare occasion, this can originate from a delusional or irrational homebuyer. 

Step 2. Get Pre-approved! Contact a lender, mortgage broker or bank

Just do it. Please stop actively searching until you get this pre-approval letter. I cannot stress this enough.

Pre-approval is primarily for informational purposes. It may prevent you from wasting a huge amount of time. In Orange County, CA getting qualified does not create any commitment to a lender, buyers are still free to shop around for lenders. There is tremendous benefit in understanding where your actual financial comfort zone is. We have NEVER seen a good “mortgage calculator” online, Never. They are not to be trusted. Get real numbers, for free, get approved.

Get the picture? If so, go to Step 3... if you still are wary of getting pre-approved, continue reading. Let’s walk through an example of something I see frequently while talking to first time homebuyers... Some homebuyers look at homes before getting qualified. More often than not, these buyers have gone online and done research, which has misled them. They fall in love with a home way above their price range. Now they have to reset all of their expectations. That large backyard just shrunk in half, their privacy is now limited and the home they qualify for may be significantly less upgraded. To adjust expectations downward is emotionally and mentally tough. Falling in love with a home that is unaffordable is tragic, it creates an unnecessary emotional roller coaster. Get qualified, then move on to your search. Why risk this potentially tragic situation (which happens all the time) when there is zero risk with getting pre-qualified? Weigh the risk vs reward here... Go get pre-qualified. 

Step 3. Talk to your agent about your financial comfort zone, needs vs wants

and get an idea of what writing an offer looks like

Now it is time to sit down with your agent and discuss your financial comfort zone in relationship to a list of your needs and wants. It is now time to get realistic and see what you can afford in different areas.

The more open and honest you are with your agent, the better they can serve you. Agents have a fiduciary duty to serve you as best as possible and they can be fired at anytime for no reason. They are here for you. Be sure to use them and create a strategy to buy your ideal home.

Nick Ahrens and other top agents will tell you the truth, to the best of their ability. Expect your agent to discuss potentially uncomfortable conversations about your personal finances, pricing, state of the market, and a lot more.

After discussing these things, come up with a strategy for you and your family. Nick Ahrens will customize your home buying strategy to best fit your needs and your situation. Now that we have a plan, now that we are educated and pre-approved, lets begin searching for that ideal home! 

Step 4. A couple last notes and the Search Begins!

Some people seek out listing agents and attempt to contact them for a purchase. I do not recommend this for a multitude of reasons. During the negotiation process, who do you think the listing agent will favor more? Do you think it would be wise to contact someone who already signed a contract and has a fiduciary duty to get the seller the most money? Is that the person you want representing you as a buyer?

Today an agent’s job is to make sure you end up in the right home, negotiate for your behalf, strategize, assist, facilitate and organize logistics with 3rd parties and vendors, make sure you stay out of court, and a lot more. Tell your agent about the homes they send you through the MLS search and about the homes you may find on your own.

Zillow,, and other websites have software that pulls information from the MLS and thus are not all that accurate. Our office often gets calls about properties that have already sold, or sold up to 2 years ago. Also, the agents you see on these websites are RARELY the listing agents. These are paid advertising slots for agent lead generation. That’s how these companies profit, off of agents getting their face and contact information put on other agents’ listings. 

*This was written by Nick Ahrens in 2017. It is merely an opinion, not intended to be a definitive system that works every time for everyone. Every homebuyer and family is different and all are in a different situations; because of this, talk to your local real estate expert to modify your search and customize your approach. Nick Ahrens, Remax Premier Realty, Kamran Realtors and their affiliates are not liable or responsible for any loss in attempted interpretation and use of this information.