I find the greatest stress a buyer or seller encounters is caused by unrealistic expectations. Buying or selling a home can be an exciting, terrifying, eventful experience. Having a good real estate agent explain the process and help you navigate negotiations is key, but as the customer in the transaction, it is equally important to keep your head and regulate enthusiasm and/or frustration.

The real estate process is made up of many parts: the search for that perfect home, the offer proposal and acceptance, inspections and disclosures, loan approval and finally, funding and closing. There are time frames and key milestones that, in order to be met, all parties must do their part. There could be many players in this game: buyer and seller, possibly a tenant, multiple banks, real estate agents, title company, appraiser and various inspectors and other vendors employed by the above. In a perfect world this would be easy, right? Everyone would do their job on time, on budget. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world and likely one or more of the players will not deliver. Whether it is negligence, incompetence or, more often than not, an inability to meet deadlines due to workloads or conflicting agendas, there will be bumps in the road. Be ready for the inevitability of these issues so that solving them is easier.

A prime example is the seemingly endless period of time a short-selling bank may make you endure while they decide if they will accept the deficiency offer, with a complete lack of communication.  Do yourself a favor and make sure to prepare for this “hurry up and wait” reality before you list or purchase a home. You will be more at ease and able to make well-informed decisions. Do your homework and be prepared for problems that may arise, and work with your partners to overcome adversities.

Here are a few simple ways to set yourself up for success:

-The market is challenging and changing. Lack of inventory forces you to be on top of your game in making and reviewing offers, and being prepared for the multiple offer situation. Don’t be offended by an offer/ counter offer; if the deal is not for you, move on or find a middle ground.

-Your agent should be optimistic, but realistic, and deliver news in a timely manner. Do your homework on your lender too. Don’t choose one solely on a tickler ad with a low rate; make sure they will work with you to find the best product for your needs.

-Talk with inspectors if you are concerned about a roof report, pest or whole house inspection. Make sure they help differentiate between a real red flag and something that just looks scary on paper.

-It may be a bumpy ride, but think of it as an adventure overcoming manageable obstacles rather than one monumental climb. You will be happier throughout the process. Benicia is a fantastic place with a vibrant real estate market; you SHOULD have great expectations.