Whether it’s your first home or if you’re an experienced buyer, purchasing a home is a complex process.
By working with me, you’ll find a home in the neighborhood where you want to live,
one that fits your budget and meets your goals for features, quality and value.
Once you’ve found the home that’s right for you, I will guide you through the process of making an offer;
negotiating the terms of the sale; getting your potential purchase inspected, repaired and appraised; and closing the sale.
When you work with me, you will:
Owning a home is everyone’s dream. It’s a life accomplishment at the top of everyone’s list. At the same time, purchasing your dream home requires you to keep your eyes wide open and your feet firmly on the ground. That’s where we can help. We’ve put together a handy set of steps to guide you to the house of your dreams. We will be there for you as you start your journey.
GUIDE TO BUYING:
Before you start looking for houses, it’s a good idea to get your finances in order. In fact, getting financing pre-approval may help you obtain your dream home. Pre-approval allows you to shop for the best loan package without pressure. Once pre-approved, you’ll feel the confidence that comes with the peace of mind of having major financial issues already resolved. Once you have applied for and been approved for a loan, you are like a cash buyer. Sellers may make concessions if they know that your financing is secured. This can make your offer more competitive.
Down Payment Requirements:
Most loans today require a down payment of between 3.5% and 5.0% depending on the type and terms of the loan. If you can put 20-25% down, you may be able to eliminate mortgage insurance.
You will be required to pay fees for loan processing and other closing costs. These fees must be paid in full at the final settlement, unless you can include them in your financing. Typically, total closing costs range between 2-5% of your mortgage loan.
Qualifying for the Mortgage:
Most lenders require that your monthly payment range between 25-28% of your gross monthly income. Your mortgage payment to the lender includes the following items:
Your total monthly PITI and all debts (from installments to revolving charge accounts) should range between 33-38% of your gross monthly income. These key factors determine your ability to secure a home loan: Credit Report, Assets, Income and Property Value.
Here’s an important piece of advice: Don’t make big purchases during your home buying process! Try to hold off on washers and dryers, auto purchases and other big ticket items.
With your loan pre-approved you are ready to go in search of your dream home.
LOOKING FOR YOUR NEW HOME
Develop a list of your requirements. Make sure you carry it with you when you start looking. Here are some key questions to ask yourself:
WHERE YOU LIKE TO LIVE?What’s the Neighborhood like? Think about the surrounding area. Real estate values should be a key component in your initial considerations.
SIZE:What size house would you most desire? How big is the lot you would want? Do you have the right amount of space both for now and as potential for future projects? Remember, owning a house is a serious investment. You and your home need to get to know each other, grow and change with time.
WHAT ABOUT THE STYLE OF THE HOUSE?Does it contain features you’ve always wanted? How old is it? Is it a style that you can live with? How’s the layout?
No house is ever going to be perfect. There will be compromises to make and costs to assess. How comfortable are you with balancing your costs and your ideal?
Make sure you discuss these questions with me. I am here and ready to listen and help.
Why not set up a viewing schedule? How often would you like to go out looking? Which days of the week and what time work best for you? Don’t forget to outline both your restrictions and your flexible options. I scour the MLS regularly, and know when a new listing that may fit your needs hits the market, and sometimes even before it hits the internet.
MAKING AN OFFER ON YOUR DREAM HOUSE
So now you know. With your feet firmly on the ground, you’ve walked through a few times and asked all the questions. You’ve gone forwards and backwards on your list. You see yourself living there. It’s time to make an offer. I will walk you through the emotional and often stressful next steps.
Someone is selling this house. You want them to sign the offer you make. You must be ready to pay between 1% and 5%of the purchase amount. That is called an earnest money deposit. It’s how you establish your intention to purchase the property. If your dream house is in a competitive market, be ready for competitive offers! What this means is that the more competition there is for a home, the higher your offer should be. Check your numbers but be aware that sometimes the closing offer may need to exceed the asking price. I will help you at every step.
I will then present the listing agent with a written offer. This offer will either be accepted, rejected or the seller will make a counter-offer. This is when I step in to help negotiate terms of the contract. We will need to be sure to present your pre-approval letter from your lender, or your proof of funds (if you're paying cash) at the time the offer is submitted. This is why getting set up and pre-approved early on is such an important step in the process.
The step-by-step contract procedure for most single-family home purchases is standard. The purchase agreement used is a standard document approved by the Division of Real Estate.
The purchase agreement or contract constitutes your offer to buy and, once accepted by the seller, becomes a valid, legal contract. That’s why it is important for everyone to understand what is written on the contract offer.
As a side note, be aware that if your dream property was built in 1978 or earlier, it is required that the seller and buyer fully execute a Lead Based Paint Disclosure.
UNDER CONTRACT STEPS:
TITLE REVIEW AND HOA DOCUMENTS AND DISCLOSURE
You have decided to buy your home, made an offer and have checked with a real estate attorney. What happens between now and the time you legally own the home? This is the period of making sure you have all the facts, and the paperwork that makes the house into your home.
A title company may handle the following items:
Tax Check:What taxes are owed on the property? The Title Company contacts the various assessor-collectors.
Title Search:Copies of documents are gathered from various public records: deeds, deed of trust, various assessments and matters of probate, heirship, divorce and bankruptcy are addressed.
Examination:Verification of the legal owner and debt owed.
Title Insurance:Both you and your lender will want the security offered by title insurance. Why? While title agents search public records to determine who has owned any piece of property, these records may not reflect irregularities that are under the surface.
Title Insurancewill safeguard you against any and all of these problems.
CCR (Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions) will be provided for your review if applicable.
Disclosure Documents: The seller will provide aSeller’s Property Disclosure,Square Footage Disclosure,Source of Water Disclosureand any other applicable disclosures for your review.
Now it’s time for the Home Inspection, a kind of test drive for the house that will become your home.
A home inspection benefits both buyer and seller. The Buyer has the right to inspect the property and submit a written Inspection Notice prior to the Inspection Objection Deadline. The homeowner should provide access to the basement, crawl space, attic, electric panel, sump pump, etc. Most inspections involve costs that require payment at the time of inspection and take between 3 and 5 hours.
Inspections can range from aBasic Home Inspection, aSewer Line Inspection, an inspection from aStructural Engineer; they may include aRadon Testand aWell Test.
When purchasing new construction, the Buyer can also attend additional inspections with the builder such electrical, dry wall, etc.
Proficient in both buying and selling, I can walk you through this process to assure that you are satisfied with you purchase. Homes, like people, have flaws; I want to make sure you know about all of them before settling in.
Your loan officer is your silent partner in your dream home. That’s why the home appraisal is important. Here are some things to be aware of in this process:
Please note that there will be an additional fee should the appraiser require another visit to the property for verification.
THE FINAL WALK THROUGH:
As your representatives I always schedule a final walk-through of the property. This is done to make sure that all repairs have been completed and your home is in the same condition it was when your offer was presented. Then it’s time to make sure everything is in order for you to gain title to your new dream home.
WHAT IS A CLOSING?
The purchase agreement or contract you signed describes the property, states the purchase price and terms, sets forth the method of payment, and usually names the date and place where the closing or actual transfer of the property title and keys will occur.
During a Closing you and your team meet with several individuals, including the Seller, the Seller’s agent, a representative from the lending institution and a representative from the title company, in order to transfer the property title to you.
Your lender will require you to sign a document, usually a promissory note, as evidence that you are personally responsible for repaying the loan. You will also sign a mortgage or deed of trust on the property as security to the lender for the loan. At Closing, you will be required to pay all fees and closing costs in the form of “guaranteed funds” such as a cashier’s check. You will, of course, be notified of the exact amount prior to the Closing.
WHAT IS AN ESCROW ACCOUNT?
An Escrow Account is a neutral depository held by your lender for funds that will be used to pay expenses incurred by the property, such as taxes, assessments, property insurance, or mortgage insurance premiums which fall due in the future. You will pay one-twelfth of the annual amount of these bills each month with your regular mortgage payment. When the bills fall due the lender pays them from the special account.
SOME FINAL STEPS:
Don’t forget to change your address. Missing your mail is inconvenient and can sometimes cause lapses in important payments of insurance, credit cards and other bills. At least a month in advance of your move, begin to notify individuals, companies and institutions that your address will be changing. Either call, or mail the change-of-address cards that you can get from your local post office.
INVOLVE THE WHOLE FAMILY IN YOUR MOVE
Remember, even if you only lived in your home for a few years, to a young child it is nearly their entire lifetime. Make sure to involve them by including them in packing, showing them pictures of their new rooms, and introducing them to their new neighborhood. Assure them they won’t forget their friends. Let them choose a new neighborhood restaurant. It may take a little time, so be patient.
WELCOME TO YOUR NEW HOME!
Helping find a buyer for your home is only one facet of a real estate professional’s job. There are many more aspects including explaining the basic real estate practices and principles and all the related paperwork, Performing a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to help determine your home’s value, helping to prepare your home for sale, listing your home, marketing your home, keeping you informed throughout the process. When the sale begins, it’s important to work with someone who will assist you with the paperwork, negotiate on your behalf, make sure deadlines are met, and work with the escrow company.
By working with me, you will:
You love your home. We know you do. Now that’s it’s time to move on, selling your house may seem even more complicated than buying it! With the support of trusted RE/MAX Alliance we are here to help you sort out your priorities, organize your game plan and navigate a sometimes turbulent set of challenges to achieve your goal.
The first thing we do is sit down with you for an
It’s important to be prepared in the fast paced real estate market. It can be pretty scary to think about selling your beloved home before you know where you are going. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to purchase a new home contingent on the sale of the your present property. If you intend to buy a new home, be aware that most sellers will only consider this with a remarkably stressful “first right of refusal.”
(A first right of refusal delineates an amount of time (normally 24-72 hours) you have to sell your home if there is another offer on the home you want to purchase. After that you must remove the contingency or terminate your offer.)
During our initial consultation with you, we want to develop a game plan that works to sell your home before attempting to purchase a new one. As soon as your home is under contract, finding your new home becomes our priority.
(Note: If you plan to purchase a new home, it is important we coordinate timing with the builder. Normally the best time to put your current home on the market is when your new home is about 60 days from completion.)
Our years of expertise can help to guide you through the ups and downs of parting with your current home as well as helping you to feel good about moving on. The most important factor to consider is selling your home at the right price, at the right time, and within your own time schedule. Does it sound like a juggling act? We can be there to help you maintain your balance.
Here are some tips about how to SELL YOUR HOME:
DETERMINING MARKET VALUE
A priority decision for home sellers is setting the correct initial price. It has been proven that setting the price correctly within the first 2 weeks will ensure the highest net profit. In fact, setting the right price impacts both the amount of time it takes to sell the property and the final sales price.
When it comes to effectively pricing a property and understanding today’s market, we offer expert guidance throughout the complicated process of selling in today’s market.
Don’t get stuck trying to sell your home at the wrong price!
The Impact of Overpricing cannot be overstated. It can have negative effects that may slow you down.
Here are some of them:
Remember is that a home is truly worth what a buyer is willing to pay!
Here are some of the factors that we will help you consider:
We can also break this down into:
COMPETITION: Buyers deciding what to buy and what to offer based on the amount of choices they have.
MARKET CONDITIONS: What’s going on with the housing market.
LOCATION: The single factor with the greatest affect on value.
PROPERTY CONDITIONS: How your house presents itself affects both the offers and the speed of sale.
TERMS: This is also known as a buyers’ market, where an abundance of choices allows them to set their own terms.
PRICE: How the housing market is setting the baseline prices.
During our initial consultation here’s what we will discuss:
COMPARATIVE MARKET ANALYSIS
"How much is my home worth?” “How long will it take to sell?” “Should I ask for more?” We present you with a detailed consideration of the variables that may affect the value and marketability of your home.
COMPARABLE PROPERTY DATA:
With the support of RE/MAX Alliance behind us, we research properties similar in type, size, price, and amenities to add to our analysis.
MARKET CONDITIONS AND COMPETITION
We assess how the economic outlook, seasonal trends and competition may affect your home sale.
MORTGAGE CONDITIONS AND OUTLOOK
We bring you up to date information on how changes to mortgage interest rates may influence your potential buyer base.
As mentioned, location is an uncontrollable factor. However, we use proximity to schools, parks, shopping and transit as part of our total analysis in order to set a price.
HAVING YOUR HOME ON THE MARKET
Now that you have set your price, it’s time to get your home into the best possible shape for a fast, easy sale. As we noted under controllable factors, it’s best to present others with a home that is as lovely as you believe it can be.
Being home can often hurt the selling opportunity and even make potential buyers nervous. It’s always a good idea to leave the house. Go for a walk or out to eat. Leave the clients with their agent and us.
A good first impression is crucial to a home sale. Close the garage door for showings. Remove extra cars from the driveway or move them so they don’t block the view of your house from the street. Hide the garbage bins.
Consider planting flowers in the beds and in pots to add color and charm. Repair any exterior trim, gutters, planters or mailbox. You want your house looking fit -- not sagging or tilted.
Trim lawns and shrubbery, weed the flowerbeds, rake away leaves and sweep the walkways. Clean or paint your front door, entry area and steps in the front yard.
Make sure your home appears at its best!
Fix items in your house that are not in perfect working order. Do it right and don’t cut corners. Buyers can pick up on cheap fixes!
A fresh smell of paint implies cleanliness. Consider applying a neutral colored coat of paint that enhances the details of the decor. Remember to touch up interior trim.
Clean the house thoroughly and try to maintain that sparkle throughout the selling process. Make the appliances shine. Vacuum and shampoo the carpets and polish the floors. Dust the house and make sure to get rid of flies or moths in lighting fixtures. Clean the windows inside and out.
Keep the kitchen spotless with clutter free countertops.
Remove clothes you don’t wear often so closets appear larger. Remove clutter, extra furniture, pictures and personal items from your home. You are selling the house— not you!
Staging has become a well-respected concept for selling a home. It’s especially useful for virtual tours. We can connect you with a staging expert who will demonstrate the best of your house through artfully arranged interiors. It’s often the most effective way to garner buyer interest.
Buyers often get first impressions of a home from the photos in the MLS listing which they automatically receive in an email from their agent or from a search created privately online.
Properly lit, high-resolution photos are the only type of pictures that should be used in a home marketing campaign and online. We always work with high definition photography and give your home the star treatment. Of course, a clean, well-lit, and de-cluttered home is the best to photograph. We will wait to go active on the market until we have the best photos to ensure your home is seen by many “ready, willing, and able” potential buyers in the first hour of listing!
MARKETING STRATEGY AND SHARING FEEDBACK
Our strategy, supported by RE/MAX Alliance, includes tangible media and digital outlets to get your property viewed by as many people as possible. We employ yard signs, custom brochures, postcards, mobile apps, virtual tours, You Tube, Facebook and other social media sites. Of course we have agent-to-agent sharing to expand our reach even further.
The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is used by real estate agents like us (as well as buyers) to find prospective homes. We belong to two MLS systems, which gives your home double the exposure in any given market area. We will list your home and, when it is selected for a showing, we will schedule the appointment.
The normal appointment includes a range of time when the prospects expect to arrive. Coordinating with the showing service, we will contact you personally, text you or leave a message, letting you know your home will be shown based upon your showing instructions. “Appointment Only” showings are set for a specific time, arranged with you, and then confirmed by us.
You may also choose a “Go & Show” which does not require contact. Instructions and lock box information is given to the Buyer’s real estate agent after we notify you.
Maintaining a “show-ready” home is not always easy. The sooner your home is under-contract, the sooner you can rest a bit!
NEGOTIATING A CONTRACT
When a buyer makes an offer to purchase your home, their real estate agent will contact us. We will prepare a sample net sheet for each offer and review each offer with you.
You may accept an offer or you may want to make some changes, in which case we will put together a counter-offer. We are there for you at every step!
There are two important considerations in accepting an offer. First, a letter from the prospective purchaser’s lender should be included or obtained. Only pre-qualified or pre- approved buyer should be considered. And secondly, the amount of earnest money offered must be sufficient.
Every offer should be considered, taking into account the many variables contained within each one. We will be there to offer guidance and expert advice so you never feel alone.
Before you accept any offer, it’s good t to review a list of potential seller costs, also known as the Net Sheet.
Mortgage Payoffs.......................................... 1st and/or 2nd
Interest To Closing......................................... Paid in arrears
Brokerage Fee.............................................. Based off of a percentage of the sales price
Transaction Fee............................................. Based on actual costs
Title Insurance............................................... Sliding scale based on sales price:
ILC (Improvement Location Certificate)........... $250 - $500
(if added as per the contract)
Water Escrow................................................ $250 - $1,000 with balance refunded to seller
Real Estate Taxes (Prorated)...................Current taxes not paid, prorated to sale date and any due paid in arrears
Utilities & Assessment (Prorated)..............For expenses incurred but not paid up to date of closing
Recording Fees............................................$50 - $100
HOA Fees....................................................Per the contract and as assessed by the HOA (if applicable)
HOA Document Retrieval............................... $100 - $175
Release Tracking Fee..................................... $25 per payoff
Title Closing Fee............................. $300 - $350
Several items will be addressed once your home is under contract. Your title company will assemble and send title and covenant information to all parties. They will also compile loan payoff information and other required information for closing.
Most major items needing repair surface during an inspection. We will be there to help you through the inspection process! The inspection should be completed as soon as possible for everyone’s peace of mind. The buyer and their real estate agent will schedule this with us. It is not necessary for you to attend the inspection.
After the inspection the buyer may make a written request for you to make repairs. We will review these requests with you, noting the difference it will make to your bottom line. We will then draft a written reply to the buyer.
Financing is limited to an amount based on appraised value. Most buyers are unwilling to pay more than appraised value, with the difference being paid in cash. The appraiser will set up an appointment to view your home. Trust us to be fully prepared to support your opinion of value with comparables and other helpful information. We pride ourselves on the amount of effort we always place in determining value. It’s often reflected most clearly during this process.
The contract allows for the buyer to be refunded their earnest money if not approved. As the buyer’s loan is processed, communication between the realtor teams and the lender is crucial. Once the buyer’s loan is approved we can prepare for closing.
Based on the agreement reached on the inspection resolution, inspection items must be completed by a specified date, prior to closing. The contract allows the buyer to perform a final walk-through to ensure all items are completed.
The title company prepares the closing documents and works with the buyer’s lender to generate final figures. The buyer will wire funds or bring a Cashier’s Check to closing. You will receive your proceeds by wire or title company check.
Soon after this, upon a date agreed upon in the contract, you will deliver possession of your home to its new owners. Dates and times agreed upon in the contract should be adhered to! Several households depend on your timely transfer in this real-life game of musical houses, including your own!
Now let’s get moving on to your next dream home!