Pressure-Free Home Buying Plan
“The best agents, supported by a leading company, getting you the results you need.”
The direct difference. A curated real estate experience.
Your Home Resource
We Have The Connections.
Purchasing a home, whether new construction or a complete fixer-upper, requires hiring qualified professionals to do the jobs that you can't, or don't want to do. From home inspections to landscaping, from home insurance to packing and moving your belongings, we have the professional connections to help make your move as streamlined as possible.
Client SatisfactionMy Commitments To You
What I WILL do:
- Carefully analyze your individual needs, actively listen to understand your motivations.
- Guide you and provide you with the most up to date and accurate information to help you make your most informed decisions.
- Keep you apprised of your options, protect your rights and inform you of your obligations.
- Make myself available for your needs instead of spending my time chasing after new business.
- Work with you through the various steps and obstacles of the purchasing process to ensure all parties have met their contractual obligations and are released from further warranties and claims.
What I WON’T do:
- Push for any action that doesn’t meet the outcome that you desire or sit well with you. All decisions are yours to make. I’m here to guide and inform and ultimately – listen to YOU.
- Pacify you. I don't want you to settle, and I don't want you to miss an opportunity. Straightforward is the best business practice.
- Disappear after the sale. My job doesn't end when the sold sign goes up. I am here for any questions you have, now or years into the future.
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Local market trends at a glance.
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All AboutPurchasing A Home
Reasons to Work With a REALTOR®
REALTORS® are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics. When you're buying a home, here's what an agent who's a REALTOR® can do for you.
- Act as an expert guide. Buying a home typically requires a variety of forms, reports, disclosures, and other legal and financial documents. A knowledgeable real estate agent will know what's required in your market, helping you avoid delays and costly mistakes. Also, there’s a lot of jargon involved in a real estate transaction; you want to work with a professional who can speak the language.
- Offer objective information and opinions. A great real estate agent will guide you through the home search with an unbiased eye, helping you meet your buying objectives while staying within your budget. Agents are also a great source when you have questions about local amenities, utilities, zoning rules, contractors, and more.
- Give you expanded search power. You want access to the full range of opportunities. Using a cooperative system called the multiple listing service, your agent can help you evaluate all active listings that meet your criteria, alert you to listings soon to come on the market, and provide data on recent sales. Your agent can also save you time by helping you winnow away properties that are still appearing on public sites but are no longer on the market.
- Stand in your corner during negotiations. There are many factors up for discussion in any real estate transaction—from price to repairs to possession date. A real estate professional who’s representing you will look at the transaction from your perspective, helping you negotiate a purchase agreement that meets your needs and allows you to do due diligence before you’re bound to the purchase.
- Ensure an up-to-date experience. Most people buy only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years between purchases. Even if you’ve bought a home before, laws and regulations change. Real estate practitioners may handle hundreds or thousands of transactions over the course of their career.
- Be your rock during emotional moments. A home is so much more than four walls and a roof. And for most buyers, a home is the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on the issues most important to you when emotions threaten to sink an otherwise sound transaction.
- Provide fair and ethical treatment. When you're interviewing agents, ask if they're a REALTOR®, a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. Every member must adhere to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, which is based on professionalism, serving the interests of clients, and protecting the public.
Questions to Ask When Choosing a REALTOR®
How long have you been in residential real estate? Is it your full-time job?
Like most professions, experience is no guarantee of skill. But much of real estate is learned on the job.
Do you have any designations or certifications?
Real estate professionals have to take additional specialized training in order to obtain these distinctions. Designations and certifications help define the special skills that an agent can apply to your particular real estate needs. One designation buyers should look for is the ABR®, or Accredited Buyer’s Representative.
What’s your business philosophy?
While there’s no right answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the agent and determine how closely the agent’s goals and business emphasis mesh with your own.
How many buyers did you and your real estate brokerage represent last year?
This will tell you how much experience they have and how up-to-date they are on the local market.
What’s the average variation between your initial offers and final sales price?
This is one indication of a REALTOR®’s pricing and negotiating skills.
Will you represent me exclusively, or might you choose to represent the seller as well?
While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, your REALTOR® should be able to explain his or her philosophy on client obligations and agency relationships.
Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and so on?
Practitioners should be able to recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with any of the providers.
How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction?
The best answer here is a question. A real estate agent who pays close attention to the way you prefer to communicate and responds accordingly will make for the smoothest transaction.
Could you please give me the contact information of your three most recent clients?
Ask their former customers if they would use the agent again in the future.
Vocabulary: Agency & Agency Relationships
The term “agency” is used in real estate to help determine what legal responsibilities your real estate professional owes to you and other parties in the transaction.
The buyer's representative (also known as a buyer’s agent) is hired by prospective buyers and works in the buyer's best interest throughout the transaction. The buyer can pay the agent directly through a negotiated fee, or the buyer's rep may be paid by the seller or through a commission split with the seller’s agent.
The seller's representative (also known as a listing agent or seller's agent) is hired by and represents the seller. All fiduciary duties are owed to the seller, meaning this person’s job is to get the best price and terms for the seller. The agency relationship usually is created by a signed listing contract.
A subagent owes the same fiduciary duties to the agent's customer as the agent does. Subagency usually arises when a cooperating sales associate from another brokerage, who is not the buyer’s agent, shows property to a buyer. The subagent works with the buyer to show the property but owes fiduciary duties to the listing broker and the seller. Although a subagent cannot assist the buyer in any way that would be detrimental to the seller, a buyer customer can expect to be treated honestly by the subagent.
A disclosed dual agent represents both the buyer and the seller in the same real estate transaction. In such relationships, dual agents owe limited fiduciary duties to both buyer and seller clients. Because of the potential for conflicts of interest in a dual-agency relationship, all parties must give their informed consent. Disclosed dual agency is legal in most states, but often requires written consent from all parties.
Designated agents (also called appointed agents) are chosen by a managing broker to act as an exclusive agent of the seller or buyer. This allows the brokerage to avoid problems arising from dual-agency relationships for licensees at the brokerage. The designated agents give their clients full representation, with all of the attendant fiduciary duties.
A transaction broker (sometimes referred to as a facilitator) is permitted in states where nonagency relationships are allowed. These relationships vary considerably from state to state. Generally, the duties owed to the consumer in a nonagency relationship are less than the complete, traditional fiduciary duties of an agency relationship.
How to Prepare to Finance a Home
Develop a budget.
Instead of telling yourself what you’d like to spend, use receipts to create a budget that reflects your actual habits over the last several months. This approach will better factor in unexpected expenses alongside more predictable costs such as utility bills and groceries. You’ll probably spot some ways to save, whether it’s cutting out that morning trip to Starbucks or eating dinner at home more often.
Lenders generally look for a debt load of no more than 36 percent of income. This figure includes your mortgage, which typically ranges between 25 and 28 percent of your net household income. So you need to get monthly payments on the rest of your installment debt—car loans, student loans, and revolving balances on credit cards — down to between 8 and 10 percent of your net monthly income.
Increase your income.
Now’s the time to ask for a raise! If that’s not an option, you may want to consider taking on a second job to get your income at a level high enough to qualify for the home you want.
Save for a down payment.
Designate a certain amount of money each month to put away in your savings account. Although it’s possible to get a mortgage with 5 percent down or less, you can usually get a better rate if you put down a larger percentage of the total purchase. Aim for a 20 percent down payment.
Keep your job.
While you don’t need to be in the same job forever to qualify for a home loan, having a job for less than two years may mean you have to pay a higher interest rate.
Establish a good credit history.
Get a credit card and make payments by the due date. Do the same for all your other bills, too. Pay off entire balances as promptly as possible.
Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs, which can average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.
Obtain a copy of your credit report.
Make sure it is accurate and correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.
Decide what kind of mortgage you can afford.
Generally, you want to look for homes valued between two and three times your gross income, but a financing professional can help determine the size of loan for which you’ll qualify. Find out what kind of mortgage (30-year or 15-year? Fixed or adjustable rate?) is best for you. Also, gather the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan, such as W-2s, pay stub copies, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements. Don’t forget property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and association fees, if applicable.
Seek down payment help.
Check with your state and local government to find out whether you qualify for special mortgage or down payment assistance programs. If you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your first home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.
How to Prepare to Buy a Home
Talk to mortgage brokers.
Many first-time home buyers don’t take the time to get prequalified. They also often don’t take the time to shop around to find the best mortgage for their particular situation. It’s important to ask plenty of questions and make sure you understand the home loan process completely.
Be ready to move.
This is especially true in markets with a low inventory of homes for sale. It’s very common for home buyers to miss out on the first home they wish to purchase because they don’t act quickly enough. By the time they’ve made their decision, they may find that someone else has already purchased the house.
Find a trusted partner.
It’s absolutely vital that you find a real estate professional who understands your goals and who is ready and able to guide you through the home buying process.
Make a good offer.
Remember that your offer is very unlikely to be the only one on the table. Do what you can to ensure it’s appealing to a seller.
Factor maintenance and repair costs into your buying budget.
Even brand-new homes will require some work. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in your present needs, but you should also think about reselling the home before you buy. The average first-time buyer expects to stay in a home for around 10 years, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.
Develop your home/neighborhood wish list.
Prioritize these items from most important to least.
Select where you want to live.
Compile a list of three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in, taking into account nearby schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety.
Questions to Ask About the Neighborhood
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?
Make a list of activities you engage in and stores you visit frequently. See how far you would have to travel from each neighborhood you’re considering to engage in your most common activities.
Is it safe?
Contact the police department to obtain neighborhood crime statistics. Consider not only the number of crimes but also the type and trend. (Is crime going up or down?). Pay attention to see where in the neighborhood the crime is happening.
Is it economically stable?
Check with your local economic development office to see if household income and property values in the neighborhood are stable or rising. What is the ratio of owner-occupied homes to rentals? Apartments don’t necessarily diminish value, but they indicate a more transient population. Are there vacant businesses or homes that have been on the market for months? Check news sources to find out if new development is planned.
Is it a good investment?
Ask a local REALTOR® about price appreciation in the neighborhood. Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, this information may give you a sense of how a home’s value might grow. A REALTOR ® also may be able to tell you about planned developments or other changes coming to the neighborhood — such as a new school or highway — that might affect its value.
Do I like what I see?
Once you’ve narrowed your focus to two or three neighborhoods, go and get a feel for what it might be like to live there. Take notes: Are homes tidy and well maintained? Are streets bustling or quiet? How does it feel? Pick a pleasant day if you can, and chat with people working or playing outside.
What’s the school district like?
This is especially important if you have children, but it also can affect resale value. The local school district can probably provide information on test scores, class size, the percentage of students who attend college, and special enrichment programs. If you have school-age children, visit schools in neighborhoods you’re considering.
Checklist: Your Final Walk-Through
Closing time is hectic, but you should always make time for a final walk-through to make sure that your home is in the same condition you expected it would be. Here’s a detailed list of what to check for on your final walk-through.
- Basement, attic, and every room, closet, and crawl space have been checked.
- Requested repairs have been made.
- Copies of paid bills and warranties are in hand.
- No major, unexpected changes have been made to the property since last viewed.
- All items included in the sale price—draperies, lighting fixtures, etc.—are still on site.
- Screens and storm windows are in place or stored onsite.
- All appliances are operating (dishwasher, washer/dryer, oven, etc.).
- Intercom, doorbell, and alarm are operational.
- Hot water heater is working.
- Heating and air conditioning systems are working.
- No plants or shrubs have been removed from the yard.
- Garage door opener and other remotes are available.
- Instruction books and warranties on appliances and fixtures are available.
- All debris and personal items of the sellers have been removed.
Finding The Perfect Home
Meet With Us
Discuss the type of home you're looking for, including style, price, and location.
The Buyer's Advantage
As the home buyer, our commission is paid by the seller of the home in almost all circumstances. This means your representation costs you nothing!
You will need pay stubs, W2s, and bank statements. Knowing what you can afford is critical to a successful home shopping experience.
Search for Homes
The fun part! We will schedule showings and help you find the perfect home.
Not all real estate websites are the same. We have tools and systems to ensure you see every available home that meets your criteria.
Make an Offer
We will prepare your offer based on the price and terms you choose.
Negotiation and Contract
It may take a few tries to get it just right, but hang in there. You're on your way!
In most cases the contract provides you with a timeline to obtain financing as well as time to inspect the physical condition of the home. We will inform you of all your rights and responsibilities related to the contract.
You and the seller have agreed to the price and terms. The home is effectively held for you until closing.
Perform due diligence, order the appraisal, conduct an inspection, and review terms with the lender.
Preparing for Closing
You will be finalizing your loan, reviewing documents, and discussing the findings from the inspection. We will manage this entire process for you.
This is the transfer of funds and ownership. A title company or an attorney typically acts as an independent third party to facilitate the closing.