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We Are Passionate About Helping You Find The Home Of Your Dreams
Deciding to Buy
Purchasing a property is most likely the biggest financial decisions you will ever make. Whether this is your first purchase or you are an experienced buyer, this decision should be made carefully.
Why Do You Want To Buy?
Are you tired of paying rent?
Have you decided to pay your own mortgage and not your landlord’s?
Have you outgrown your current home?
Do you want to create an investment portfolio?
Are you looking for a rental property?
Would you like a larger yard?
Would you rather live in a different area?
Do you want to shorten your commute?
Having a clear sense of your reasons for buying will help you choose the right property.
Did You Know? Property ownership is an excellent investment; whether you are looking for your dream home, a rental property, or to expand your investment portfolio. Owning real estate is one of the least risky ways to build equity or to obtain a greater return on your initial investment.
Preparing to Buy
Before you start shopping for your property, it's imperative to make some preparations.
Get Your Documents in Order
Gather all your important financial documents. You'll need it to secure financing.
Your lender will ask for the following:
Recent pay stubs
Tax returns for two years
Copies of leases for investment properties
401K statements, life insurance, stocks, bonds, and mutual account information.
Check Your Credit Rating
Your credit score will have a huge impact on what type of property you can buy, and at what price. If you don't know your credit score, you can check it for free at creditkarma.com. And not to worry, checking your credit won't impact your credit score. Credit Karma will give you access to your Vantage Score, provide reports and insights. Plus it's a good idea to check your credit regularly to ensure that it's accurate. If there are any errors, get them resolved right away. If you need to work on your credit, they also have credit simulators that will help you to understand how credit scoring works.
*Note: Overall, your Credit Karma score is an accurate metric that will help you monitor your credit - but it might not match the FICO scores a lender looks at before giving you a loan. Need to do some work on your credit, check out our resources page.
Contacting A Lender
The next step is to contact a lender that you want to work with. If you already have a lender, great. If you don't, we can recommend one. *see our resources page for our preferred lenders.
Your lender will work with you to determine what you can afford and get you pre-qualified to purchase your new home.
Note: Just as you wouldn't buy a house without shopping around first, why would you commit to the loan you use to buy that house without making sure you're getting the best deal possible? Take a few minutes to review these mortgage resources and learn why it's essential to browse before you borrow.
Be Careful With Your Finances
Now is not a good time to make sudden career changes or large purchases. You want to approach your property purchase from a position of financial stability.
Time to go Shopping
Once your preparations are out of the way and you have been pre-qualified, it's time to go house hunting. We'll talk with you about your wish list and set up a search for you. This will give you access to houses on the MLS that match your criteria in real-time. Many times we have access to houses that are just getting ready to go on the market which can give you an advantage over other buyers.
Take a Drive
It's a good idea to get to know the neighborhoods, complexes, or subdivisions that interest you. Drive around and get a feel for what it would be like to live in that neighborhood.
Narrow Your Search
Select the properties that interest you the most and we'll set up a time that works for you to go preview them.
Time to Buy
Once you have picked out the property you want to purchase, we'll strategize to help make an offer that the seller will accept. Many times we can also draft your offer in a way that gives you the advantage over another offer.
Escrow, Inspections, Appraisal, HOA's & Insurance
The Initial Agreement and Escrow Deposit
An effective agreement is a legal arrangement between a potential purchaser and the property’s seller.
Important tips to keep in mind to streamline the process:
Stick to the schedule. Now that your offer has been accepted, you and the seller will be given a timeline to mark every stage in the process of purchasing your new home. Meeting the requirements on time ensures a smoother flow of negotiations so that each party involved is not in breach of their agreements. During this process, we will keep you constantly updated, so you will always be prepared for the next step.
The Closing Agent
Either a title company or an attorney will be selected as a closing agent. The closing agent will hold the deposit in escrow and will research the complete recorded history of the property to ensure that the title is free and clear of encumbrances.
Once the seller accepts your offer, you'll want to have a licensed property inspector inspect the property within the time frame that was agreed upon in your purchase contract. See our resources page for our preferred inspectors.
Depending on the outcome of these inspections, one of two things may happen:
1. Each milestone is successfully closed and the contingencies are removed, bringing you one step closer to the closing table, or
2. After reviewing the inspection results, the buyer may request a renegotiation of the terms of contract (this is usually repairs or the price).
Appraisal and Lending
It is imperative that you keep in close communication with your lender. Your loan processor will let you know if additional documents are needed. If the agreement is conditional upon financing, the property will be appraised by a licensed appraiser to determine the value. A lender will only lend up to the value of the property, which is a good thing because it ensures that you will never overpay for the property. Appraisers determine their opinion of value based on a combination of square footage measurements, building costs, recent sales of comparable properties, upgrades, etc.
Association / HOA Approval
If the property that you are purchasing is conditional upon an association approval, we will request the rules, regulations, and other important documents from the seller as soon as we are under contract. You'll want to make sure that the application and any required fees are submitted to the appropriate person at the association by the required time. Make sure to fill out all of the information completely and legibly so there is no delay in processing your application. If you are required to meet with the association for your approval, make an appointment as soon as possible for the interview. Most associations require a certificate of approval before move-in. The closing agent may also request a copy of your approval letter.
If you are obtaining a loan, you will be required by your lender to purchase homeowners insurance on the property. The value will depend on the lending institution and the purchase price of the property. You may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year on homeowners insurance by shopping around for insurance. You can also save money with these tips.
Consider a higher deductible. Increasing your deductible by just a few hundred dollars can make a big difference in your premium.
Ask your insurance agent about discounts. You may be able to get a lower premium if your home has safety features such as dead-bolt locks, smoke detectors, an alarm system, storm shutters or fire-retardant roofing materials. Persons over 55 years of age or long-term customers may also be offered discounts.
Insure your house NOT the land under it. After a disaster, the land is still there. If you do not subtract the value of the land when deciding how much homeowner’s insurance to buy, you will pay more than you should. Talk to your agent about it.
We are happy to recommend experienced knowledgeable insurance agents for every property type. See our resources page.
It's almost time for congratulations. There's just a few loose ends:
Final Walk-Through Inspection
More of a formality than anything else, the final inspection takes place a day before, or the day of the closing. You'll visit the property to verify that all is in working order and everything is the same as when you last viewed the property, that there are no extra items left behind and that everything included in your purchase is still at the property.
Home Services and Utilities
We'll provide a list of useful numbers for the activation of home services and utilities. See our resources page.
We are ready to assist you should an unforeseen glitch pop up, even at this last stage. Something at the property breaks down, or some other minor detail – no need to worry. We have encountered these problems before so we know how to handle them efficiently and in a stress-free manor.
The closing agent will provide all parties with a settlement statement, which summarizes and details the financial transactions enacted in the process. The closing agent will provide you with wiring instructions for any closing costs that are to be paid at closing. Any monies due will be listed on your settlement statement.
You and the seller(s) will sign this statement at closing certifying its accuracy. If you are obtaining financing, you will have to sign all pertinent documentation required by the lending institution. If you are unable to attend the scheduled closing, arrangements can be made for a mobile notary for you to sign your documents.
The sellers' agent will arrange to have all property keys and any other important information for you at the closing.
Congratulations! You did it. You are now the proud owner of a Bad Ass new home.