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Buying a Home

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First Time Home Buyer?

Buying a home is one of the largest investments most people will make in their life. Buying your first home should be a venture that you enter into with confidence and armed with all the information you need to make an informed decision. The first step is to get Exclusive Representation. Just as you wouldn't want to treat yourself for a major illness or represent yourself in a major lawsuit, you shouldn’t make a major purchase of a home, without the Exclusive Representation of a Real Estate Professional.

As an Exclusive Client of our company, we will guide you through the home buying maze. Using our Mortgage Qualifier and then making arrangements to become pre-approved will help you to become an informed home buyer armed with a powerful negotiating tool. There are many mortgage programs available that can be tailored to fit your individual needs depending on your financial situation and lifestyle. There are programs with little or no money down and others with lucrative terms that can, once again, save you thousands of dollars. To prepare you for your first venture into home buying, the following are some of the steps you can expect along the way.

  1. Pre-approval This is one of the most important first steps you will take. By providing information, such as income tax returns, debts and credit, a mortgage program can be tailored to your individual needs. Besides being prepared to provide all financial information, most lenders will require certain costs to be paid up front, such as credit reports and appraisals, which can amount to $300 to $500. This important first step will arm you with the necessary knowledge and bargaining power to start your search for your dream home in a price range that you are comfortable with.

  2. Planning Your Search Knowing the communities you want to live in is as important as finding the right home. Perhaps even more important. As an Exclusive Client your agent can provide you with the sources of information necessary to make an informed decision. Schools, municipal services, recreational opportunities, and, of course, proximity to employment, are just some of the factors you will want to consider. Once you have narrowed down your search to the community, a search for the perfect home begins. As an Exclusive Client, your agent will provide you with information on every home on the market in that community that fits your needs and price range. You will then be able to eliminate the ones you are not interested in and make appointments for those you want to see. If none of those homes fit your needs, you will then be notified immediately by e-mail, (or as soon as possible by your agent if you do not have access to e-mail), whenever a home comes on the market that fits your criteria. If you see homes that are outside of your criteria that you want to see, regardless of how they are offered on the market, your agent can gather all the information and arrange for appointments. As an Exclusive Client, we will give you the tools to help you in your decision making process. You will have access to virtually every home available on the market so you feel comfortable that you are making the best decision for you and your family.

  3. Viewing Homes As an Exclusive Client, we will make every effort to arrange viewings of homes that suit your schedule to make the best use of you and your agent’s time. We will only show you homes that you want to see. We do not presume to know all your wants and needs. After each viewing we will review with you what you liked or didn’t like about the home. This process will not only help you in your decision making process, but will help your agent understand more of what you want to assist you.

  4. Making an Offer to Purchase Once you have decided on the home of your choice, we can help you prepare an Offer to Purchase. This is the most important part of the process of buying a home, not just because of the price you negotiate, but all the hundreds of details that need to be addressed to protect your interests and achieve as effortless and trouble free process as possible to achieve the goal of owning a home. Once an Offer to Purchase is accepted, it becomes the document that dictates how and when things will happen to get to that point. Among other things, it will outline your financing requirements, how you will take title, when you close, when you get possession and solutions to problems if everything doesn’t go as planned. When you make an Offer to Purchase an Earnest Money deposit will be required in most cases. This is a deposit that shows the seller that you are “in earnest” or serious about your offer. The earnest money will be deposited in the seller’s broker account after the offer has been accepted. The law requires every broker to maintain a special escrow account for this purpose. The account cannot be used by the broker for any other purpose. The amount of earnest money can be any amount agreed by the parties, but can also be a tool to help you get your offer accepted. Most sellers would not accept an offer without earnest money, but would be less inclined to reject an offer or make a counter offer if you had a reasonably large earnest money deposit. Be prepared to write a check for earnest money every time you look at a home. Remember, the check will only be deposited if your offer is accepted, so you will have time to transfer funds if necessary. Once you have completed your offer, your agent will make every effort to get it presented to the seller as quickly as possible and, whenever allowed, present your offer personally to negotiate on your behalf. If the offer is not accepted, every attempt will be made to get a counter offer changing only the things the seller cannot accept. At this point, time is critical. You need to be available to discuss the terms of the counter offer and make a decision if it is acceptable to you, since the seller will still have his property on the market. If the counter is acceptable, your agent will deliver the accepted counter back to the seller as soon as possible to secure the property for you. Now the real work begins.

  5. Inspections and other Contingencies It is always wise to have inspections made of any systems that you are not confident in evaluating yourself. There are home inspection services as well as general contractors in the areas you want inspected that can be recommended by your agent, or for you to choose from. The time limits and conditions of all inspections will have been spelled out in the offer to purchase and it is important that those conditions be observed. The purpose of inspections is to make you aware of potential problems and to alert you of major problems that affect the property. If there are major problems, depending on your purchase agreement, you can ask the seller to correct the problem. At this point, if the seller refuses to correct the problem the agreement is effectively canceled, so it is important that both and the seller consider their responses carefully. Minor repairs and cosmetic deficiencies will be pointed out by your inspector but these should not be the type of things your seller should be required to repair and risk losing the home you have chosen. Other contingencies (conditions to be met) include items such as financing, title condition, closing dates and possession dates. If you have to sell a home, there will also be a contingency that allows you to sell your home before purchasing the new home. Again, all contingencies have some type of time limit on them and must be carefully observed.

  6. Getting to Closing As an Exclusive Client, your agent will follow up on the hundreds of details needed to make sure your offer to purchase is followed to the desired result of sitting down at the closing table with the seller. Once all the conditions have been met on your offer and the title has been cleared, a time and date will be set for the closing. This is where the transfer of money takes place and the title to the property is transferred to you. Your agent will be there for you to take care of any last minute details and help describe the process. Arrangement will also be made for you to take possession of the home and tell you how to arrange for transfer of utilities.

  7. A Homeowner After everything has been satisfied, the deed has been signed, and the purchase price paid, you are a homeowner! We will always be available to answer any real estate related questions and to help any of your family and friends with a commitment to provide quality service to all. We want you to be our Exclusive Client for life.

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