CONGRATULATIONS!  YOU'VE MADE AN IMPORTANT DECISION TO BUY A HOME.

WHAT’S NEXT, YOU MAY BE ASKING YOURSELF.

 

HERE ARE SOME THOUGHTS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER –

 

WHEN BUYING A HOME, BEING PREPARED AND WELL EDUCATED CAN REALLY MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE. ASK AS MANY QUESTIONS THAT YOU CAN COME UP WITH. “NO QUESTION IS A DUMB QUESTION” AND IF YOU ARE UNSURE OF SOMETHING, ASK! THE HOME BUYING PROCESS REALLY BEGINS BEFORE YOU EVER LOOK AT ONE HOME AND THE PROCESS CONTINUES ALL THE WAY UP TO THE FINAL WALK-THROUGH.

WHEN BUYING A HOME, IT’S CRITICAL YOU’RE ON YOUR GAME, STAY ORGANIZED, AND REMAIN FOCUSED THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE PROCESS.

 

WHETHER YOU ARE PURCHASING YOUR FIRST HOME OR YOUR FIFTH HOME, THE HOME BUYING PROCESS CAN CREATE MANY EMOTIONS AND FEELINGS. ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO ENSURE THE PROCESS IS NOT OVERWHELMING IS TO BE WELL EDUCATED AND PROPERLY PREPARED FOR THE PROCESS. THERE ARE NORMALLY MANY QUESTIONS THAT HOME BUYERS WILL HAVE THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS. EVEN AN EXPERIENCED HOME BUYER CAN FORGET EXACTLY HOW THE PROCESS WORKS AND WHAT THE PROPER STEPS ARE TO ENSURE THE PROCESS IS RELATIVELY SMOOTH.

 

SO BELOW ARE SOME OF THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FROM HOME BUYERS:

 

SHOULD I TALK WITH A BANK BEFORE LOOKING AT HOMES?

YES! TALKING WITH A BANK BEFORE LOOKING AT HOMES CAN HELP YOU UNDERSTAND EXACTLY HOW MUCH YOU CAN AFFORD. THERE IS NO REASON TO LOOK AT HOMES THAT ARE LISTED FOR $300,000 IF YOU CAN ONLY AFFORD UP TO $250,000.

ALSO, YOU WILL UNDERSTAND EXACTLY WHAT COSTS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH BUYING A HOME. YOUR MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL CAN THOROUGHLY EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DOWN PAYMENT, PRE-PAID ITEMS, AND ESCROWS AND GIVE YOU ADVICE ON THE TYPE OF FINANCING YOU SHOULD BE LOOKING TO OBTAIN AND ALSO WHETHER OR NOT YOU SHOULD REQUEST THE SELLER TO CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS YOUR CLOSING COSTS, ALSO KNOWN AS A SELLER’S CONCESSION.

 

SHOULD I BUY OR CONTINUE TO RENT?

BUYING A HOME CAN BE A VERY SOLID INVESTMENT. THAT BEING SAID, RENTING CAN ALSO BE A BETTER OPTION FOR SOME, DEPENDING ON THE CIRCUMSTANCES. THE CURRENT INTEREST RATES ARE STILL AT AN ALL-TIME LOW, EVEN WITH THE UPTICKS WE HAVE BEEN SEEING. SINCE THE INTEREST RATES ARE SO LOW, IT ACTUALLY CAN BE CHEAPER TO PAY A MORTGAGE THAN PAYING RENT.

 

CONSIDER THESE QUESTIONS TOO BEFORE DECIDING TO BUY A HOME. HOW LONG DO YOU PLAN ON STAYING IN A HOME IF YOU WERE TO PURCHASE? IF THE ANSWER IS ONLY A FEW YEARS, IT’S LIKELY A BETTER DECISION TO CONTINUE RENTING. ARE YOU READY TO TAKE ON THE ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF OWNING A HOME? WHEN OWNING A HOME, THERE WILL BE GENERAL HOME MAINTENANCE TO KEEP UP WITH, ARE YOU READY FOR THAT?

 

I OWN A HOME, SHOULD I BUY ANOTHER BEFORE SELLING MY CURRENT HOME?

IF YOU HAVE A HOUSE TO SELL, SELL IT BEFORE SELECTING A HOME TO BUY. CONTINGENCY CONTRACTS RARELY WORK IN THIS MARKET. AT LEAST GET A CONTRACT ON YOUR CURRENT HOME, SO YOU CAN MAKE THE CONTINGENCY ON THE CLOSING OF YOUR CURRENT HOME, NOT THE SALE. IF YOU MAKE A CONTINGENCY OFFER, YOU WILL LIKELY END UP PAYING MORE FOR THE HOME THAN WITHOUT THAT CONTINGENCY AND YOU WILL FEEL PRESSURED TO ACCEPT A LOWER PRICE FOR YOUR CURRENT HOME.

 

ONE RISK OF SELLING YOU CURRENT HOME WITHOUT BUYING A NEW HOME FIRST IS THE CHANCE OF NOT BEING ABLE TO HAVE A PLACE TO LIVE. A “RENT-BACK” CAN SOMETIMES BE NEGOTIATED WITH THE BUYER OF YOUR CURRENT HOME. THIS WOULD ALLOW YOU TO RETAIN POSSESSION OF YOUR CURRENT HOME FOR A CERTAIN NUMBER OF DAYS AFTER CLOSING AT THE EXPENSE OF PAYING THE BUYERS MORTGAGE. A “RENT-BACK” ALLOWS FOR ADDITIONAL TIME TO FIND A NEW HOME.

 

DO I REALLY NEED A REALTOR WHEN BUYING A HOME?

WHEN BUYING A HOME, IT’S STRONGLY RECOMMENDED YOU HAVE A REALTOR. THERE ARE MANY REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE A REALTOR REPRESENT YOU. WITHOUT A REALTOR, IT CAN REALLY MAKE THE HOME BUYING PROCESS MORE DIFFICULT. ONE THING NOT TO DO WHEN BUYING A HOME IS CALLING THE LISTING AGENT BECAUSE YOU DON’T WANT TO “BOTHER” YOUR REALTOR.

 

ONLY REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS CAN CALL THEMSELVES REALTORS.  ALL REALTORS SUBSCRIBE TO NAR'S  STRICT CODE OF   ETHICS, WHICH IS BASED ON PROFESSIONALISM AND PROTECTION TO THE PUBLIC.  THAT'S WHY ALL REAL ESTATE LICENSEES ARE NOT THE SAME.

 

HOW IS THE NEIGHBORHOOD/AREA

WHERE YOU LIVE SHOULD REFLECT YOUR LIFESTYLE. THESE QUESTIONS WILL HELP YOU FIND THE BEST COMMUNITY FOR YOU.

IS IT CLOSE TO MY FAVORITE SPOTS?

IS IT SAFE?

IS IT ECONOMICALLY STABLE?

IS IT A GOOD INVESTMENT?

DO I LIKE WHAT I SEE?

WHAT’S THE SCHOOL DISTRICT LIKE?

WHEN YOU HIRE A TOP REALTOR WHEN BUYING A HOME, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO RECEIVE ALL OF THE PERTINENT INFORMATION TO ALLOW YOU TO MAKE AN EDUCATED DECISION ON AREAS AND NEIGHBORHOODS.

 

WHAT ARE THE AVERAGE UTILITY BILLS?

WHEN BUYING A HOME, IT’S IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHAT ADDITIONAL COSTS WILL BE IN ADDITION TO MONTHLY MORTGAGE PAYMENT. UTILITY BILLS ARE JUST ONE OF THE ADDITIONAL COSTS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A HOME. THIS INFORMATION CAN BE OBTAINED FROM THE HOME OWNER. KEEP IN MIND, EVERYONE HAS THEIR OWN PREFERENCES WHEN IT COMES TO THEIR HOME TEMPERATURE, SO THE UTILITY BILL COULD BE DIFFERENT WHEN YOU LIVE THERE.

 

HOW MANY HOMES SHOULD I LOOK AT BEFORE I BUY?

THERE IS NO SET NUMBER OF HOMES YOU SHOULD LOOK AT BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO MAKE AN OFFER ON ONE. THAT’S WHY PROVIDING YOUR REALTOR WITH AS MANY DETAILS AS POSSIBLE UP FRONT IS SO HELPFUL. THE PERFECT HOME MAY BE WAITING FOR YOU ON YOUR FIRST VISIT. EVEN IF IT ISN’T, THE HOUSE-HUNTING PROCESS WILL HELP YOU GET A FEELING FOR THE HOMES IN THE COMMUNITY AND NARROW YOUR CHOICES TO A FEW HOMES THAT ARE WORTH A SECOND LOOK. YOU’LL BE ONE HOUSE CLOSER TO “YOUR” HOME!

 

HOW MUCH SHOULD I OFFER THE SELLERS?

NOW THAT YOU’VE FOUND YOUR DREAM HOME, IT’S TIME TO MAKE AN OFFER. YOUR REALTOR WILL HELP YOU DETERMINE THE OFFER PRICE BY REVIEWING RECENT SALES OF HOMES THAT ARE SIMILAR IN SIZE, UPGRADES AND LOCATION.

YOUR REALTOR WILL ADVISE YOU ON HOW TO CREATE AN OFFER THAT WILL HAVE THE BEST CHANCE OF BEING ACCEPTED. YOUR REALTOR WILL CREATE A WRITTEN CONTRACT WITH YOUR OFFER. THE CONTRACT DETAILS WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE BY BOTH PARTIES TO EXECUTE THE TRANSACTION. THE CONTRACT SHOULD INCLUDE, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO THE FOLLOWING:

EARNEST MONEY DEPOSIT

FINANCING TERMS

INSPECTION TERMS

SELLER’S DISCLOSURE FORM

COMPREHENSIVE RIDER

VARIOUS ADDENDUMS

DISCLOSURES

CLOSING INSTRUCTIONS

 

HOW LONG DOES THE SELLER HAVE TO RESPOND TO MY OFFER?

THERE IS NO STANDARD ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION. THERE ARE MANY CIRCUMSTANCES THAN CAN AFFECT THE LENGTH OF “TIME FOR ACCEPTANCE”. IF THE HOME IS NEWLY LISTED AND THE POSSIBILITY OF MULTIPLE OFFERS EXISTS, A SHORTER ACCEPTANCE PERIOD IS RECOMMENDED. IF THE HOME HAS BEEN ON THE MARKET FOR 3 MONTHS AND THE SELLER IS LOCATED OUT OF TOWN, A 2-DAY “ACCEPTANCE” PERIOD MAY BE NECESSARY.

 

WHAT IF MY OFFER IS REJECTED?

WHEN AN OFFER IS SUBMITTED TO THE SELLER, THERE ARE GENERALLY FOUR POSSIBLE RESPONSES. THE FIRST IS AN ACCEPTED OFFER, THE SECOND IS A COUNTER OFFER, THE THIRD IS A REJECTED OFFER, AND THE FINAL IS AN OFFER THAT IS NOT RESPONDED TO. IF YOUR OFFER IS REJECTED, MEANING THE SELLER SAYS ‘NO’ AND DOESN’T COUNTER, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO PLACE ANOTHER OFFER. IT’S NOT VERY COMMON AN OFFER IS REJECTED OR NOT RESPONDED TO, UNLESS A SELLER IS OFFENDED BY A LOW-BALL OFFER.

 

DO I HAVE THE OPTION TO HAVE ANY INSPECTIONS?

WHEN BUYING A HOME, YOU HAVE THE OPTION TO PERFORM SEVERAL TYPES OF INSPECTIONS. YOUR CONTRACT CAN BE CONTINGENT UPON A SATISFACTORY HOME INSPECTION, PEST INSPECTION, POOL AND MANY OTHER INSPECTIONS. THERE ARE HOME INSPECTION FINDINGS THAT ARE MORE COMMON THAN OTHERS, HOWEVER, NO TWO HOMES ARE THE SAME SO IT’S A GREAT IDEA TO GET THE HOME INSPECTED. IF THERE ARE ANY ISSUES OR INCONSISTENCIES BROUGHT TO LIGHT DURING THIS TIME, IT MAY VOID THE CONTRACT OR GIVE YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO GO BACK AND RE-NEGOTIATE.

 

SHOULD I BE PRESENT AT THE INSPECTION?

YES. IT’S NOT REQUIRED, BUT IT IS VERY MUCH TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. YOU’LL BE ABLE TO CLEARLY UNDERSTAND THE INSPECTION REPORT, AND KNOW EXACTLY WHICH AREAS NEED ATTENTION. PLUS, YOU CAN GET ANSWERS TO MANY QUESTIONS, TIPS FOR MAINTENANCE AND A LOT OF GENERAL INFORMATION THAT WILL HELP YOU WHEN YOU MOVE INTO YOUR NEW HOME. MOST IMPORTANT, YOU’LL SEE THE HOME THROUGH THE EYES OF AN OBJECTIVE THIRD PARTY.

KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE. THE PURPOSE OF A HOME INSPECTION IS TO HELP YOU LEARN THINGS ABOUT THE HOME THAT ARE NOT EASILY DISCOVERABLE DURING YOUR HOME-BUYING TOUR. THE HOME INSPECTION IS NOT INTENDED TO BE A LAUNDRY LIST OF COSMETIC ISSUES OR VERY MINOR REPAIRS FOR SELLERS TO REPAIR OR REPLACE.

 

IS THERE ANY WAY I CAN PROTECT MYSELF AGAINST EMERGENCY REPAIR BILLS IN MY NEW HOME?

YES. HOME WARRANTIES OFFER YOU PROTECTION AGAINST MANY POTENTIALLY COSTLY PROBLEMS NOT COVERED BY YOUR HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE. THEY’VE BECOME INCREASINGLY POPULAR IN RECENT YEARS, AND FOR GOOD REASON. THE COVERAGE CAN SAVE YOU THOUSANDS IN THE EVENT OF A MAJOR MECHANICAL BREAKDOWN, AT A TIME WHEN YOUR CASH RESERVES MAY HAVE BEEN DEPLETED BY YOUR DOWN PAYMENT AND MOVING COSTS. THE HOME WARRANTY WILL GIVE YOU PEACE OF MIND NECESSARY TO FEEL COMFORTABLE IN YOUR NEW HOME. CHECK WITH ME REGARDING THE SPECIFICS OF A HOME WARRANTY PLAN!

 

WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP?

SO THROUGHOUT YOUR INSPECTION PROCESS, YOUR LENDER WILL BE PROCESSING YOUR MORTGAGE APPLICATION AND YOU SHOULD EXPECT THE BANK TO REQUIRE DOCUMENTATION, LETTERS AND OTHER ITEMS FROM YOU TO SATISFY THE BANK CONDITIONS, SO DON’T BE UPSET OR SURPRISED WHEN THIS HAPPENS.

 

DO I NEED TO DO A FINAL WALK-THROUGH?

AS A BUYER, YOU HAVE THE OPTION TO PERFORM A FINAL WALK-THROUGH. IS A FINAL WALK THROUGH A REQUIREMENT? NO. IS A FINAL WALK-THROUGH NECESSARY? YES. GENERALLY WHEN BUYING A HOME, SEVERAL WEEKS GO BY BETWEEN WHEN YOU LAST WALKED THROUGH YOUR HOME. LOTS OF THINGS CAN CHANGE DURING THAT TIME.

 

WHAT HAPPENS AT THE CLOSING?

LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT THE CLOSING COMPANY DOES PRIOR TO YOUR CLOSING:

REQUESTS A TITLE REPORT AND POLICY

DRAFTS THE DEED AND/OR OTHER NECESSARY DOCUMENTS

ARRANGES TO PAY OFF EXISTING LOANS WHEN NECESSARY

PRORATES TAXES AND INSURANCE BETWEEN BUYER AND SELLER

COMPUTES INTEREST IN LOANS

 

AFTER THE CLOSING -

 

DISBURSES THE DOCUMENTS AND MONEY TO EACH PARTY INVOLVED

RECORDS THE APPROPRIATE DOCUMENTS AFTER CLOSING

CLOSING PROCEDURES ARE USUALLY HELD AT THE TITLE COMPANY OR LAWYER’S OFFICE. YOUR CLOSING AGENT COORDINATES THE DOCUMENT SIGNING AND THE COLLECTION AND DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS.

 

CONGRATULATION ON THE PURCHASE OF YOUR NEW HOME!

 

NOW THAT YOU HAVE TAKEN OWNERSHIP OF YOUR NEW HOME, YOU WILL NEED TO HAVE YOUR UTILITIES SET UP. GO TO THE WELLINGTON PAGE TO GET ALL THE UTILITY CONTACT INFORMATION.

 

Whether you are Buying or Selling a home, a collection of How-To's, Checklists, and Worksheets to help you understand what to expect during the real estate experience will help make the transaction as seamless as possible.

 

That's why having my Comprehensive Guide as part of the Preparation and Education Plan, will help keep you organized and focused throughout the entire process.

 

Request your free copy here - homesbymeral@gmail.com and indicate if you are a buyer or a seller to ensure you receive the relevant guide.