87% of buyers purchased their home through a broker
42% of buyers discovered their broker by word of mouth
Median age of first-time homebuyers is 32 years old
90% of consumers research the housing market online for a home to buy
Decide to Buy
Purchasing a property is most likely the biggest financial decision you will ever make. Whether this is your first purchase or you are an experienced buyer, this decision must 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? Are you looking for 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.
Has Your Income Grown?
Property ownership is an excellent investment, whether you're 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 obtain a greater return on your initial investment.
Prepare to Buy
Before you start shopping for your property, it's a good idea to make some preparations.
Build Your Green File
A green file contains all of your important financial documents. You'll need it to secure financing for your property. The typical green file should contain:
- Financial statements
- Bank accounts
- Credit cards
- Auto loans
- 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. It's first recommended to check your credit rating with an experienced lending institution so that we can determine what you can afford. The lender will research your credit ratings from the three credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. We'll be happy to recommend experienced, knowledgeable lenders in the residential, construction and investment real estate fields.
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.
Choose a Real Estate Broker
Buying a property requires making many important financial decisions, understanding complex issues and completing a lot of paperwork. It helps to have an expert in your corner when undertaking such a large purchase. We will guide you through the process, helping you to have the best possible experience.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing your real estate professional:
- Look for a full-time broker - one who has experience completing transactions similar to yours.
- Interview a few brokers - Are they familiar with the area in which you're interested?
- Ask how much time the broker will have for you and if they are available at night and on weekends.
- Ask about their credentials and education - A good broker will continually strive to improve and gain knowledge of the latest real estate trends and hold the highest designations in their respective fields of expertise.
- Does the broker return your calls promptly? Time is money when attempting to buy a property.
- Choose a broker who listens attentively to your needs and concerns. Pick a broker with whom you feel comfortable.
Time to Go Shopping
Once those preparations are out of the way, it's time to find the right property for you.
Take a Drive
Get to know the neighborhoods, complexes, or subdivisions, which interest you. Drive around and get a feel for what it would be like to own a property in the area. Start getting a sense of the properties available in those areas.
Narrow Your Search
We'll send you property listings and work with you to figure out where to buy. Select a few properties that interest you the most and we'll make appointments to visit them. Ask about the potential long term resale values of the properties you're considering.
Time to Buy
Once you have picked out the property you want to purchase, we'll help you make an offer to try to obtain that property. We'll investigate the potential costs and expenses associated with the new property. We'll also help you draft your offer in a way that gives you an advantage over other offers.
Some Important Tips to Streamline the Process Even Further:
- Keep Written Records of Everything We will draft all paperwork for your sale and make sure you have copies of everything.
- 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 closing the real estate contract. Meeting the requirements on time ensures a smoother flow of negotiations and also ensures that each party involved is not in breach of their agreements.
The title insurance and escrow companies will work on a variety of tasks during the escrow process. The title insurer will research the title history of the property and verify any liens that need to be cleared by closing to transfer ownership. The escrow company, which may or may not be the same as the title company, will track down payoff statements for each mortgage or lien against the property.
How to Hold Title
You may wish to consult an attorney or tax advisor on the best way to hold title. Different methods of holding title have different legal, estate and tax implications, especially when selling or upon death of the title holder.
Once your offer is accepted by the seller, you'll need to have a licensed property inspector inspect the property within the timeframe that was agreed upon in the purchase contract. You may elect to have different inspectors inspect the property, if you wish to obtain professional opinions from inspectors who specialize in a specific area (eg. roof, HVAC, structure).
Depending on the outcome of these inspections, one of two things may happen:
- Either each milestone is successfully closed and the contingencies will be removed, bringing you one step closer to the closing; or
- After reviewing the property and the papers, you may request a renegotiation of the terms of contract or cancel the contract if you find something you didn't previously know about the property.
Appraisal and Lending
It is imperative that you keep in close communication with your lender, who will let you know when additional documents are needed to approve your loan application and fund your loan. If the agreement is conditional upon financing, then the property will be appraised by a licensed appraiser to determine the value for the lending institution, via a third party. This is done so that the lending institution can confirm their investment in your property is accurate. Appraisers are specialists in determining the value of properties, based on a combination of square footage measurements, building costs, recent sales of comparable properties, operating income, etc. When you are within two weeks of closing, double check with your lender to be sure the loan will go through smoothly and on time.
If the property that you are purchasing is conditional upon an association approval, request the rules, regulations, and other important documents from the seller as soon as you have an effective agreement to purchase. Make sure that the application documents and processing fees are submitted to the appropriate person at the association by the required time. Fill out all of the information completely and legibly so there is no delay in processing the 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. Your closing agent will request that the original copy of this approval letter be brought to the closing, so that it can be recorded with the deed in the county public records.
If you are obtaining a loan, you will be required by your lender to purchase a certain amount of 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 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.
If you've come this far, this means that it's almost time for congratulations, but not yet. Don't forget to tie up these 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 will visit the property to verify that all is in working order, 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.
We're 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've encountered these problems before so we know how to handle them efficiently and in a stress-free manor.
The Escrow Agent will furnish all parties involved with a settlement statement, which summarizes and details the financial transactions enacted in the process. You and the seller(s) will sign this statement, as well as the Escrow Agent, certifying its accuracy. If you're obtaining financing, you'll have to sign all pertinent documentation required by the lending institution. If you're unable to attend the scheduled closing, arrangements can be made depending on the circumstances to do a mobile signing. If you're bringing funds to the transaction, you can elect to have the funds wired electronically into the escrow account, or bring a certified bank check to the closing in the amount specified on the settlement statement. We'll work with the seller's broker to arrange to have all property keys and any other important information for you at the house by closing so you receive these items in a timely manner.
Let's Start the Process Today
Meet with Us
Starting with our first meeting, we work closely with you to design a personalized plan to help you reach your personal and investment goals. Utilizing our hard-earned methods, resources and experience, we identify properties and solutions that best fit your situation...
Enjoy the Process
It becomes evident early on how much our experience benefits our clients throughout the process -- from marketing properties to maximize their potential or identifying the right properties to purchase, to preventing or overcoming potential challenges...
Sit Back and Relax
We're with you every step of the way, working efficiently and diligently to ensure you have the best possible outcome, resulting in a more enjoyable and profitable sale to help you meet your personal and investment goals now and in the future.