Local Buying Tips


Great Tips on Purchasing Your Home
There is a lot to consider when you decide to buy a home, especially if it’s your first. How much home can you afford? What kind of loan should you choose? Which neighborhoods are both affordable and a good investment? These are just a few of the questions you’ll be asking yourself. But with an experienced agent to help you, you’ll get the guidance you need to come up with the right answers— and a home you love.
First things first
Before you start shopping, you need to find out how much home you can afford to buy. Your agent can refer you to a loan officer who will help you determine how much of a down payment you can manage, as well as the monthly payment, taxes and insurance costs. Your lender can then prequalify you for a dollar amount, which can help you focus your search. You can also get a quick, rough estimate of monthly mortgage costs from your agent.

Create a wish list
Once you know your price range, talk to your agent about the home features you need and the ones you’d prefer. The former might include number of bedrooms or a suitable space for a home office, while the latter might include hardwood floors or a pantry. By clearly communicating your needs and preferences, you can help your agent narrow down the selection and avoid wasting your time.

Research Several Neighborhoods
Be sure to talk to your agent about what you’re looking for in a neighborhood. Are property values your highest priority? Great schools? A short commute? Small-town atmosphere? Big-city amenities? Your agent will try to narrow down the affordable neighborhoods that fit your criteria. Then you can either explore them with your agent or get a sense of each neighborhood on your own.

Interviewing Mortgage Advisors for Your Loan
There are many different loan programs to choose from. You’ll want to find one that offers you the best terms for your current situation and future plans. Your agent can give you the names of several mortgage specialists who can review your options with you and help you determine which loan is the most advantageous. Once you’re approved for a loan, sellers will consider you a more qualified prospective buyer.

Determining Your Offer Price, Terms & Conditions
You’ve finally found the right house in the right neighborhood. It fits your practical needs, has potential and just feels right. So how do you ensure that you keep the price as affordable as possible? Your agent has the expertise to help you make the right offer. He or she knows what comparable houses are selling for, how long they’ve been on the market, and whether or not the asking price for the home you want is fair. Your agent can also offer excellent advice when it comes to making a counteroffer.

Presenting Your Offer To The Seller
Once you’ve found the home you want , you give the seller an earnest-money deposit. Your agent draws up a purchase and sale agreement; it’s the contract that outlines the details of the property transfer from the seller to you. This contract is typically contingent on the home passing a structural inspection and you obtaining approval for financing.

What’s covered in an inspection?
This professional third-party report reviews the condition of the home, including: 

*  Cooling and heating systems
*  Interior plumbing
*  Electrical system
*  Roof, attic and visible insulation
*  Walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors
*  Foundation, basement and visible structure
*  Any indication of leakage or wood rot

The inspection lets you know if the house has any major “issues” and how well it’s been maintained. Remember, no house is perfect. If the inspection uncovers some problems, your agent can help you determine whether to have the seller cover the costs or renegotiate the price.

When the inspection is concluded and any loose ends resolved, you “close” on the home. Closing is when you and the seller sign all the papers, you pay your share of the settlement fees, and the documents are recorded. Your agent will be happy to answer any questions throughout this complex process.
Home Sweet Home
When you buy a home, you get more than just a place to live. You get the satisfaction of having a place that is truly yours, one that reflects your style and provides a comfortable setting for you and your family. Buying a home also gives you a substantial annual tax deduction and a way to build wealth over the years.




How to speak “real estate”
For the first-time buyer, the process of purchasing a home is unfamiliar ground. But knowing some key terms can help you find your footing. Here are a few of the most common ones. Questions? Just ask your agent.

Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)
Interest rates on this kind of mortgage are adjusted up or down depending on a specified financial index, e.g., the prime rate.

When the deed to a property is legally transferred from seller to buyer and legal documents are recorded.

Closing costs
The costs paid to various entities at closing; they include escrow fees, document preparation fees, inspection costs and lender fees.

Earnest money
The good-faith deposit you give a seller to show you’re serious about buying their property. It eventually becomes part of the purchase and will show as a credit to the buyer.

A fund or account held by a third party until conditions of a contract are met, i.e., when a home sale is complete.

Fixed-rate mortgage
Interest rates are fixed for the life of the loan in this kind of mortgage.

A point is equal to 1 percent of the loan principal (the 
amount you’re borrowing).

The amount a mortgage lender agrees to lend you after verifying and approving your income and credit.

The amount you can afford for a house, as determined
by a loan officer or mortgage company after reviewing your monthly income and current debts.

A document that indicates ownership of a specific property.

Why use an agent to find a home?
It’s not easy to find the right home in the perfect neighborhood, a home that suits your needs, your lifestyle and your budget. That’s why smart buyers enlist the help of a professional agent. Not only does it save time and headaches, it gives you the best chance of finding the home you really want. 

Once you’ve been prequalified and have a rough idea of your budget, your agent can direct you to the neighborhoods that are within your price range. An agent can also help you with information about the neighborhoods you’re considering, including the quality of local schools, shopping, parks, recreational programs and more. 
After taking time to get to know you, your needs, your likes and dislikes, an agent can do all the time-consuming legwork for you, eliminating homes that don’t fit your criteria. Your agent will then set up appointments for you to preview homes and offer you his or her perspective as you determine each home’s pros and cons. 
If you see a property that interests you, your agent can track down more detailed information and arrange for you to view it. When you find a home you want to buy, your agent can provide invaluable advice on the offer, because they can provide you with the data on the selling prices and time on the market for comparable homes. Once your offer has been accepted, your agent will help you through the complex legalities of buying a home and will be available to answer your questions throughout the process.