Buying.  Profitably, Efficiently, Joyfully.

Below is the typical buyer timeline.  It shows the stages a typical buyer will go through during his journey to home ownership and has two major parts.  The left side is the “shopping” stage while the right side is the “escrow” stage. (click image to enlarge)

The Spark is some life event that alerts you of a desire or need to move.

Internet. After the Spark, most will head straight for the vast information of the Internet looking for details about their new living options.  Most websites will have a property search function.  After searching the Internet for new homes based on price, bedrooms, and square footage, buyers tend to develop a home price per square foot evaluation.

Casual Browsing. At some point, a property will pique the interest of a buyer enough that they will seek out a visit.  The visit may be in the form of an open house visit or an appointment set up with the listing agent.  From these visits, a valuation shift can occur.  The homes with great prices per square foot may not have the desired floor plan or the requisite tub, or room for the big screen TV or myriad of other desired features.  The buyer valuation gradually becomes more “lifestyle” oriented.

Serious Browsing. At some point in the casual browsing, the buyer’s search turns into a serious desire to buy a particular home with specific characteristics often in a specific geographic location.  With this desire comes the requirement to firm up financing options.  In many cases, the shift from casual to serious browsing can be a result of pursuing a certain property and not being able to buy it because of a lack of supporting financial documentation needed to make a serious offer.  At this point buyers benefit greatly from automatic email alerts, MLS interfaced websites, agent previewing, and video tours.

My goal is to expedite the shopping stage and fully educate you on the escrow stage as soon as possible.  By understanding the entire journey, you will gain greater confidence in your direction – which may not be buying at all.  Your home visits will be much more productive as you will only be concerned with how the property matches up with your needs without any preoccupation about contingencies or natural hazard disclosure.

I have listed the two strategic tasks in expediting the search process as well as the tools I use to help achieve each one.

  1. Understanding the Menuless Market
    1. Frontlines Perspective
    2. Sales Reports
    3. Automatic Email alerts
    4. Video Tours
    5. Floor Plan Finder
    6. Initial Consultation

  1. Understanding What’s Important to You
    1. Initial Consultation

Understanding the “Menuless” Market

The real estate market is, as it always has been, vast, emotional, and complex.  The variety of sellers and buyers is much greater than it has ever been.  The inventory is low and the total sales of homes are relatively low.  Well-priced, well-presented properties are sold in rapid time, sometimes days and even hours.  The information available to the buyer is at an unprecedented level.  Never before has a buyer had so much access to immediate information.  Statistically speaking, until you go through the process of buying, it is very difficult to speak with great confidence about how the future unfolds.

Six years ago a buyer was almost guaranteed to qualify to buy a home and had a menu of attractive homes to chose from.  Using a menu of homes you could go back and forth among a variety of homes comparing, contrasting, and evaluating different homes.  Now, lending standards are high and there is not a lot to chose from. There is no longer a menu of homes.  Now you have to tell the cook what you want to eat and when it is ready, claim it as yours.

The following provides a process I have been using successfully to both determine what you want from the cook and how to claim it!

Frontlines Perspective

Even though only a small portion of the market will be relevant to you, there are some common trends and general consistencies to be aware of.

My report titled Frontlines Perspective reflects these general tendencies in the market.  It goes into more detail about the types of buyers that are competing with you for the same homes.  There is information on the different types of sellers and the implications of each one with respect to price, condition, marketing and certainty of sale.

Sales Reports

Though the market is menuless and good properties come and go very quickly, there is an extremely detailed record of what has been selling found in the MLS.  Getting the details of what has sold holds more relevance to the value of homes that anything and will be the closest thing to a menu you will be able to achieve.  The Sales Report will contain the following:

  1. Individual property listings
  2. Map of listings
  3. Statistical summary

Automatic Email Alerts

With the help of the MLS, there is no limit to how specific and intricate your search criteria can take you.  Establishing an automatic email alert will notify you and me of a new listing that matches your criteria within minutes of it coming on the market.

Video Tours

There is no tool that has allowed me to communicate more efficiently and effectively than the video camera.  Upon receipt of the automatic email alert, I am able to visit the newly listed property with my video camera – while you are busy working or playing.  Within hours of the notification of the new listing, you will have a video tour of the property.  The timesaving of using this tool is immense.  For properties that you are interested in, you will have more time to think about the property to make sure of it’s benefit.  You can initiate negotiations faster and act quicker.  You will effectively achieve a position of strength compared to other buyers and the seller of the property.

If you can see from the video that the property is not going to work, you have just saved valuable time that you could use for something more productive.

Floor Plan Finder

Once you get to the point where you know the neighborhood, size and bedrooms you would like, you don’t have to wait for a house to come on the market to determine if you are going to like the layout.   I have just about every floor plan for every neighborhood in Orange County available to show you.  Similar to the video, the floor plan finder gives you a position of strength by already knowing what you want and don’t want before it comes on the market.

Understanding What’s Important to You

You may or may not have clicked on “The Key” upon your arrival.  If you did, you know that Understanding What’s Important to You is The Key to your long-term success/happiness with your current real estate pursuit.  What used to be an objective of mine has now become a deliberate strategy.  I have developed a number of specific strategies so that you and me understand, clarify, and clearly articulate what is most important to you.

Initial Consultation:  Hour to Empower

The Initial Consultation accomplishes many important tasks critical to your success.  It is an opportunity to deepen your understanding of the market and your position within it.  I am able to discuss in detail my roles in the process.  We determine if we are going to be a good match.  The most important benefit  of this meeting to help you on your path of determining What’s Most Important To You.

This meeting has been deliberately designed to be informational in order to deliver a calming and inspiring sense of empowerment.  I strive to create an hour filled with so much value that you will want to give this hour of empowerment to friends who also might need real estate help.   Please feel free to give it freely.

From this initial consultation, I will develop a strategy specifically designed to achieve your real estate objective making the most of your money, time and emotional resources.

My expectation is that after our Initial Consultation you will have a much deeper understanding of the market and what lies ahead.  My hope is that this clarity provides you with peace of mind.  My second hope is that you find the meeting so valuable that you feel comfortable offering my time and expertise to those you care about.

I meet many clients on weekends or after 8pm on weeknights – once the kiddies are fed, washed and peacefully sleeping.

Email or call me and we’ll get started!

Look forward to helping,

Greg Wakeham



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