6 min read
Purchasing A Home—The Ins and Outs of Making a Great Offer
For physicians looking to purchase a home, time is of the essence. The physician mortgage process can be time-consuming, and doctors often have busy—and erratic—work schedules. Therefore, when you find the right home at an amount you have been pre-approved for, it may be tempting to just grab a number from thin air and offer it to the seller. However, pricing real estate is a complicated matter, and the last thing you want to happen is for the seller to reject your offer and walk away; or, make an over-priced offer when you could have spent less on the house.
The Right Home at the Right Price—Keys to Making a Fair Offer
Get pre-approved for your mortgage. Pre-approval prevents you and the other parties in the real estate transaction from wasting any time; you know what you can afford and your real estate agent can focus his or her efforts on showing you homes which match your budget. Further, this simplifies the process and helps you finalize your physician mortgage application and close on the property quickly.
Don’t spend all of your money in one place. When you make an offer on a home, you should be prepared for some negotiating, either in price or in potential concessions like repairs which need to be made, costs which could be shared by both parties, and even additional fees specific to the home you are buying. You need some “padding” or “wiggle room” in case the price is increased for any reason.
Explore the Sellers’ motivation for selling. There are many potential reasons that the home is for sale, any of which can alter the seller’s stance on negotiating. If the seller has no attachment to the home, if it is part of an estate, or the seller needs the money, you may have a better chance at making a lower offer. If the seller has a history with the home, if recent comparables are high, or if the seller seems otherwise ambivalent about selling the property, you may have to open your wallet a bit more. Sharing some details about yourself, explaining that you are a physician looking for a home may soften them a bit.
Check your emotions at the door. You may have been searching for a while and this could be THE HOUSE. However, don’t let your excitement or emotional attachment to the house muddle your good judgment. Even if it feels like the right house, keep looking for others as well as going over the home with a fine-tooth comb. Your bid should be based on sound financial data and NOT emotions.
Know the real estate market. Housing markets can vary wildly: across states, cities, communities, and even price points. Sellers and their agents probably understand this and have priced the home based on this information. Having an agent who can help you navigate the market, whether it be a Seller’s or Buyer’s market, will give you the knowledge to make an appropriate offer, based on your chance of making a successful purchase. There are tricks to pricing a home in any market, and your agent should be working hard to help you find the best deal.
Be careful with low offers. The last thing you want to do in making an offer on a home is to offend the seller with a low offer. Having an attachment to the home, they may be put off by your (perceived) callous attitude toward the home, thinking you don’t see its value. Or they may simply feel insulted and may not even bother to counter your offer if its much lower than they anticipated receiving on the house.
Watch your contingencies. Although some contingencies like financing are industry standards, in a Seller’s market where there could be multiple offers on a home, asking for a lot of them could make you unattractive to the Seller, and they may simply move on to the next offer, even if its lower than yours.
Lenders are anxious to earn your business, and once you have been pre-approved, some of the legwork has already been done. But before you start shopping for homes and make an offer on the right one, be sure you have chosen a lender who understands the unique needs of doctor borrowers. In our series, we introduce some of the leading physician mortgage lenders in the country, institutions with a history of offering financial products and services with exclusive benefits to physicians, dentists, and other medical professionals.
Created originally in New York by industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1918, TIAA Bank is a diversified financial services organization bought EverBank in 2016 to become a giant in the financial industry. TIAA Bank has a generous doctor mortgage program geared towards physicians and offers great benefits to physicians looking for a variety of options in mortgage lending.
TIAA Bank Doctor Mortgage Program
TIAA Bank’s doctor loan mortgage program is available to existing medical doctors including DOs, dentists, dental surgeons and veterinarians who are actively practicing and are within 10 years of completing residency. Physician mortgage loans start at $200,000 and extend up to $1.5 million on single family homes and up to $2 million on two-unit properties. This doctor loan program does not require PMI and deferred student loans are excluded from debt calculations. TIAA Bank allows closing up to 60 days prior to starting a new employment position.
More comprehensive details about TIAA Bank’s program include:
TIAA Bank May Be the Right Lender for Your Physician Mortgage
Minimum Credit Score
Loan Amounts For Residents & Fellows
Loan Amounts For Practicing Physicians
TIAA Bank is a large lender, with over $1 trillion in assets as of June 2019, yet still maintains the commitment to community and philanthropy seen in smaller community banks. TIAA Bank has donated over $8 million to over 100 charities in recent years and consistently ranks high by its employees and business associates alike. Due to its strength and large variety of financial services, you may find that TIAA Bank is the right choice for you. We have covered multiple other lenders—shop around to learn about others in our series here.