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Front Page - Friday, November 10, 2017

With buying home or traveling, it’s hurry up and wait

During a recent business trip, I realized there are numerous parallels between airline travel and buying a home. At times, both processes are a case of “hurry up and wait.”

Most airline travelers book their flight in advance and arrive early on the day of travel to ensure they’re ready to go. This can be likened to a homebuyer getting pre-approved for a purchase so that when they’re ready to shop for a home, they’re truly really to roll.

Once at the airport, travelers must produce credentials and identification, while a homebuyer normally must submit recent bank statements, taxes and pay stubs. Here, you hurry up and submit and then wait for the “pre-approval letter.”

Once checked in, the rush to the security check commences. The sometimes-daunting line and subsequent search is similar to a home search, during which you check every detail on your wish list, looking for any defects or flaws that can easily be spotted by a visual inspection or quick internet fact check.

Next comes the home inspection, which leaves no stone unturned. If only home inspectors had x-ray vision like the modern scanners which screen us and prod our personal belongings in airports. Standing in your sock feet, waiting for your bags to emerge from a scanner is very much like waiting for the results of your home inspection, hoping all is in good order and you can proceed with your plans.

Off you rush to the gate, only to wait for the call to board. In this competitive market, waiting for the appraisal results might seem like an eternity when it’s really only a matter of days. Just as the flight crew checks and readies the plane, an appraiser ticks every box and verifies he’s ready to submit, only to have an appraisal review begin at the lender. This final review seems awfully similar to a pilot’s final check before announcing he’s ready to proceed.

We are now in the home stretch and seated on the plane, only to once again wait while the ground crew loads your bags as the tower and pilot coordinate final details of your trip. Much the same takes place in the final days of a residential real estate transaction. The title company and lender prepare disclosures and paperwork for the buyer and seller to sign while final checks and updates on the loan application are verified.

You think you’re done and ready to be gone, only now you pull to the staging area on the tarmac to begin a new wait for your turn to take off. Recent banking reforms require a closing disclosure with all costs and terms be disclosed three days prior to a residential loan closing.

Here again, we wait for the days to tick by so you are fully informed and prepared for this possible 30-year trip.

While all this might seem simplistic and a lot to absorb, the simple fact is that the airlines with the best reviews make the traveling process seamless and smooth and others simply do not. The same is true with real estate professionals; a well-prepared member of Greater Chattanooga Realtors can guide a homebuyer through every step of the transaction and make it a calm and smooth process.

At the same time, attempting to go it alone in a real estate transaction will be like flying with one of those “other” airlines

The Greater Chattanooga Realtors are “The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga.” This is a regional organization with more than 1,800 members and is one of more than 1,400 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. Go to www.GCAR.net for more information.