Buying a Home is a big decision that I take very seriously. My goal is to help you find the best home for your wants and needs and successfully get it at the best price possible, all the while making it as STRESS-FREE as I can.
DECIDING TO BUY
Why Do You Want To Buy?
Are you tired of paying rent? Have you decided to pay your own mortgage and not your landlord’s? Have you outgrown your current home? Are you looking for an investment portfolio? Are you looking for a rental property? Would you like a larger yard? Would you rather live in a different area? Do you want to shorten your commute? Having a clear sense of your reasons for buying will help you choose the right property.
PREPARING TO BUY
Now that you have made the decision to purchase. Here are some things you need to do.
Before you start shopping for your property, it is a good idea to make some preparations.
Start collecting all of your financial documents
Contact a lender and get pre-approved for a mortgage. This is an important step, knowing what you can afford to purchase. If you need some referrals for a Lender, just ask!
Now that step is done, the next thing is to
Be Careful With Your Finances.
Now is not a good time to make sudden career changes or large purchases. You want to approach your property purchase from a position of financial stability.
My Ten Commandments of Buying a Home:
CHOOSING AN AGENT
Buying a property requires making many important financial decisions, understanding complex issues and completing a lot of paperwork. It helps to have an expert in your corner when undertaking such a large purchase. We can guide you through this process, and also provide you with access to property listings before they hit the general market.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing your real estate professional:
TIME TO GO SHOPPING
Once those preparations are out of the way, it is time to find the right property for you.
Take a Drive.
Get to know the neighborhoods, complexes, or subdivisions, which interest you. Drive around and get a feel for what it would be like to own a property in the area. Start getting a sense of the properties available in those areas.
Narrow Your Search.
Select a few properties that interest you the most and have your real estate agent make appointments to visit them. Ask your real estate agent about the potential long term resale value of the properties you are considering.
Pro tip: I may suggest looking at homes that don’t have everything on your lists. Be open to looking at homes that don’t meet ALL of your search criteria. You’d be surprised at how many of my clients found their dream home looking “outside the box”. Be open to suggestions from the pro.
Time to Buy.
Once you have picked out the property you want to purchase, your real estate agent can help you make an offer that the seller will accept. A good agent will investigate the potential costs and expenses associated with the new property. An agent can also help you draft your offer in a way that gives you the advantage over another offer. It’s not always about money, sometimes it comes down to terms for the Seller. It’s my job to make sure we put our best foot forward, and you can rest assured, I will do all I can to get the job done!
Congratulations! Now that we have an accepted offer, the fun (and work) also begins.
Earnest Money- There is a difference between how much you’re putting down in total (your down payment) for mortgage purposes and how much you are putting down when you make an offer. Once you have a mutually accepted offer on a property you put some money in Escrow called “earnest money” or a “good faith deposit”
This money doesn’t go into the Seller’s bank account or pocket. Instead, the money is held in an escrow account by the title company. They are a neutral third party who disburses money (among other tasks)
Some buyers get concerned that this money is at risk if something goes wrong. It isn’t. Unless, of course, you do something really bad, like break the terms of the contract outside of a contingency. My number one job is to protect your earnest money. When the deal does close, that 1% is applied to the purchase as part of your down payment, not in addition to.
In our area, the most common amount for a buyer to put down as earnest money is 1% of the purchase price, generally speaking. But it varies on many factors. We can chat about how much you should put down as a good faith deposit once we assess the situation on a home you’re making an offer on.
Within 10 business days of an accepted offer you need to have performed a home inspection and negotiated repairs with the Seller. Remember that this time is for you to “kick the tires” so to speak. Hire a licensed home inspector! If you don’t have anyone I can certainly provide recommendations.
Fair warning: Inspection reports often make it seem to buyers as if the sky is falling! That is their job, to show you everything! Once you have some time to absorb the information, I will give you some thoughts and guidance on what you should ask to be repaired- and what you might let slide- once we have the report back.
A good rule of thumb is safety first! You should go after structural and operationally deficient items in most cases. (Of course, this depends on the deal we’ve negotiated, whether there were multiple offers, if there are backup offers, etc.)
But the home inspection is NOT meant to be used to ask for every little thing. Let your Real Estate professional guide you.
By definition, you and the seller have determined the fair market value of the home you are purchasing…which is: the amount a ready, willing, and able buyer is willing to pay and that a seller is willing to accept.
However, the mortgage lender wants and needs to make sure that the amount they are lending is justified and protected. They assess this by having an appraisal done.
While appraisals aren’t always and issue, they can be.
Sometimes appraisers simply can’t find suitable “comparables” to evaluate the property. Other times, an appraiser just doesn’t do a very good job. Either way, if and appraisal “comes back low”, we’ll need to address it. There are several ways to do this, and this is where my expertise comes in to play.
Hopefully your appraisal will come back with no issues. But if it does, don’t worry; we’ll deal with it!
If you have come this far, then this means that it is almost time for a congratulations, but not yet. Do not forget to tie up these loose ends :
Final Walk-Through Inspection.
More of a formality than anything else, the final inspection takes place a day before, or the day of the closing. You will visit the property to verify that all is in working order, everything is the same as when you last viewed the property, that there are no extra items left behind, and that everything included in your purchase is still at the property.
Home Services and Utilities.
We will provide a list of useful numbers for the activation of home services and utilities after the closing occurs.
We are ready to assist you should an unforeseen glitch pop up, even at this last stage. Something at the property breaks down, or some other minor detail – no need to worry. We have encountered these problems before so we know how to handle them efficiently and in a stress-free manor.
The closing agent will furnish all parties involved with a settlement statement, which summarizes and details the financial transactions enacted in the process. You and the seller(s) will sign this statement, as well as the closing agent, certifying its accuracy. If you are obtaining financing, you will have to sign all pertinent documentation required by the lending institution. If you are unable to attend the scheduled closing, arrangements can be made depending on the circumstances and the notice that we receive. If you are bringing funds to the transaction, you can elect to either have the funds wired electronically into the closing agent’s escrow account, or bring a certified bank check to the closing in the amount specified on the settlement statement. Once the financing is done and the deed has been recorded the home is officially yours! The best part of my job is meeting you at the home, and handing over the keys! Mission accomplished.
Don’t forget to mention me to anyone who is considering buying or selling, the highest compliment that I can receive from you is a referral for business.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for anything that may arise. I don’t just disappear after a transaction, I want to be able to be a resource for you, in anything you may need.