Questions to Ask
When is the best time to buy? There‘s no perfect time to buy or sell. If you find a home now, don‘t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer— you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. The housing market usually doesn‘t change fast enough to make much difference in price, and a good home won‘t stay on the market long.
What is the ﬁrst thing I should do to get ready to buy a house?
Obtain a pre-approval letter from a local and reputable lender. It should be subject only to a satisfactory appraisal and a purchase and sale agreement. We will provide you with a list of recommended local lenders. If a problem should arise, the professionals we recommend will be extremely responsive and work hard to solve the issue. We have sought out premiere mortgage institutions to help our clients succeed in today’s highly competitive lending climate. Offer Tip: Pre-Approvals from our recommended local lender list will make your offer more attractive.
If you already own a house, your pre-approval letter should say that you are qualified to bridge if your current home is not sold. If you choose not to bridge, or don’t qualify for a bridge, you may want to consider making an offer with a 48-hour kick-out clause. A 48-hour kick out clause will allow the seller to accept your offer and they can continue to market their property. Should the seller receive a bona-ﬁde offer, you will have 48 hours to either drop your contingency to sell your home, or to waive the contingency and go forward under the terms of your offer. In a seller’s market, an offer with a home sale contingency will not be accepted.
What else do I need?
Deposit money. Arrange to have liquid funds available asap so your deposit is ready when you need it. Traditionally, 5% of the purchase price is given as a deposit on the home at the time you sign your purchase and sale (minus your good faith deposit). If you need to use a home equity loan, please be advised that a bank cannot give you a home equity loan if your house is on the market. Obtain your home equity loan far in advance before the “For Sale” sign is in the ground and your property is listed in MLS.
Very Important Financial Tips:
Do not make a major purchase (car, furniture, etc) because it will adversely impact your debt ratio. Continue to pay your bills on time. A 30-day late payment could drop your credit score significantly before closing, raise your interest rate, and jeopardize your closing. Your lender will provide you with a Loan Estimate disclosure within three business days of your loan application. It will include bank fees, homeowners title insurance fees, wiring/correspondence fees, recording fees, additional escrow deposits, tax service fee, attorney representation fees and bank closing fees.
When do we start viewing properties?
Once we have your pre-approval and you are ready to buy. We will review and sign a buyer’s agreement and agency disclosure. You will be registered only my direct MLS property hunter so you can begin actively educating yourself on the market by tracking properties and following new listings, price changes, under agreements and sold homes. We want you to have a good handle on the market so you will feel comfortable with the price you are paying for your home.
How long will it take to find the right property?
That depends on your karma. Focus on homes that meet your criteria and needs and view this as a process of elimination and not selection. Your focus will pay off in helping you find the right home sooner rather than later. Many buyers will find a fantastic house on the first day, or it may take a couple of months.
Accept that no house is perfect. If it‘s in the right location, the yard may be smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus on the things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go. Tip: Choose a home first because you love it.
How do I buy smart?
We will educate you to buy smart and show you how to build equity in a property.
What is buying smart? Don’t fall for the cosmetics. Buying smart is buying in a good location, a home with great ﬂow, light, amenities, and space for the price. If you can see past clutter and outdated decorating, you stand a good chance to buy into a property with more equity once you’ve done some cosmetic overhauls. The mantra “location, location, location” still rings true. On the flip side, buying a house that is "super done", is always a good deal because sellers who have “over-invested” in their home can never get back all the money they poured into a property.
If I follow your advice, will things go smoothly?
You have a lot of control on how this unfolds. For instance, if you use a bank that we recommend, you will be working with people who will make every effort to conduct the transaction smoothly. A home inspection will turn up many issues about every home. I will work with you to prioritize what’s important to you and what is reasonable to be concerned about. Essentially, the process will present problems. How you react to each step of the process will determine how it goes for you. Communication is Key. Every problem has a solution.
Should I use an attorney?
Absolutely! We have a recommended list of local reputable attorneys. We don’t recommend using a friend, relative or any attorney who doesn’t specialize in real estate or isn’t from the area in which you are buying.
What should I do if I go to Open Houses on my own?
Open Houses are a great way to see many properties in a short amount of time and explore the inventory. We request that you always sign-in using your agent’s name and company at every open house you attend.