Please note: The author was given a free upgrade to the CloudHQs Premium services to write this blog post.
When it comes time to buy a home, you will be faced with a lot of tasks. Two of the more immediate ones will be where do you get a mortgage and where do you find a Realtor to help you find a house. As you might expect, there are many choices when it comes to both these professions. Where do you even start to pick one?
For both professionals, you want to interview several possible candidates. For realtors, check out this article on the seven Cs when evaluating real estate agents. The post is written from the point of view of a seller, but still applies to working with a buyer’s agent when buying a home. If you need a realtor, ask around. Family and friends will all know some realtor they recommend. You could also fill out the form to the left and we will help you find one.
For mortgage professionals, you can use many of the same sources as you do with realtors, but in order to find a list of possible choices, check out Zillow’s lender directory (Zillow works well for realtors as well). It gives you a laundry list of possible mortgage providers that you could use when buying a home.
Once you have located two professionals you can trust, the next challenge is to keep both these vendors honest in their dealings with you. No doubt, you selected these two individuals because you felt you could trust them, but realtors and lenders both have multiple clients so even the best ones will sometimes let things fall through the cracks. How do you do monitor the performance of these two individuals without too much effort? After all, in the long run, they are getting paid by helping you so it shouldn’t be a full time job for you to keep them honest.
One of the best ways to monitor the real estate process is to use tools you are already familiar and feel comfortable using on a daily basis. One of the best available is Google’s suite of applications. This rich set of applications are all free for you use including email, calendar, cloud storage, office applications (like Microsoft office) and the list goes on. If you want to sign up, just go here and then you can click on the nine dots in the upper right hand corner to see what is available to you.
How does Google’s products help you to keep realtors and lenders honest? Here are three ways you can use these products to keep them on the straight and narrow. To make the best use of Google’s functionality, you can also use Google Chrome extensions that add even more features to the built-in set of functions. One of the best available is CloudHQ, which provides free versions of their services, but you also have the ability to upgrade your account to unlock even more useful items.
1. Keep them honest by tracking the emails you send them – When it comes to communicating with your real estate agent or your mortgage professional, most will be open to receiving message from you in any of the standard forms such as text, phone call or email. If you are looking to keep your professionals honest, you want a record of all the communication so email or texting are your best options. With email, you can even track the emails more fully by using tools like CloudHQ’s free email tracker. This tool is a chrome extension so you would need to go to the Google store to install it to Chrome. Once it is installed, you can track email at various levels. For example, you can ask to be sent an email when the receiver opens your email. You can even have a text sent to you. If you are worried about your emails not being read in a timely manner, you can have the tool send you an email if the vendor has not opened your email for two days. In this way, you can make sure the realtor and mortgage professional are checking their email and responding to you in an acceptable amount of time. When buying a home, there is nothing more important than timely responses from the professionals you have tasked to help you get a house.
2. Keep them honest buy organizing your email to better track your communications with them – If you are like most of us, you have more email than you could ever read in a day. You get emails from a ton of people when you are buying a home. How do you keep the emails from your realtor and mortgage professional organized in a way where you won’t miss them? CloudHQ has great tool that lets you more easily organize your emails using tabs. It is called Gmail Tabs. Here is how it works after you install the Chrome extension. You want to create two new labels for your email called Realtor and Mortgage. Once you have created these labels, you can assign specific emails to these labels whenever they arrive in your inbox by creating a rule. For example, you could assign the Realtor label to each email that originates from your Realtor’s email account. The final step is to click on the three dots next to the label (found in the hierarchy tree to the left) and select Add Tab under CloudHQ. You will then have a tab at the top of the screen. All you have to do to access emails from your realtor is click on the Realtor tab at the top. Neat!
3. Keep them honest by allowing them to more easily set up meetings with you – Our final tip for keeping your Realtor and mortgage professional honest while buying a home is to make it as easy as possible for them to set up meetings with you. You can do this by using CloudHQs Meeting Scheduler for Gmail. This neat Chrome extension allows you to plug into your email a button that your Realtor and mortgage professional to click to see when you are available for a meeting. You just click on the calender icon at the bottom of the window where you compose your email and you can insert a button for the professionals to schedule a meeting at your convenience. With this ability, you can better control the process and keep your professional honest about meeting times. If you combine this with the email tracker, you can find out very quickly if you are being ignored by either party.
It is never easy to buy a house, but with professionals like a Realtor and mortgage professionals working with you, it becomes much easier. You do have to keep them honest, however, by making sure they respond to your inquiries and accomplish the tasks that are required to get you into a new home. You can use Google apps to help and even enhance them by using CloudHQ’s suite of handy tools.