The ‘Ins and Outs’ of Buying a Home

When it’s time to buy, you need professionals with experience working in your best interest! When it comes to scheduling showings, negotiating contracts, maintaining contact with multiple parties throughout the process, & seeing the transaction through closing… having a team on your side will assist in making the process as smooth as possible! This also allows us maximum availability for showings which is very important in a competitive market. 

A Real Estate Broker (commonly referred to as Real Estate Agent) acts as an advocate for you. As Real Estate Professionals we are legally obligated to put your best interest as our first priority! You can rest assured knowing you have our team on your side!

When viewing homes, there must be an agent there to provide access and accompany you while you tour the home. Once you decide on a home, your agent is the person who can communicate to the Listing Agent/Sellers, help you negotiate the contract, and handle all necessary paperwork. Having a professional manage the negotiations for you can add a layer of protection against sharing too much information which can be an advantage to the Seller. Conversely, not sharing essential information can create challenges for Buyers resulting in an advantage to the Seller as well. We are essentially a tool to help ease the process and make sure you understand what is happening to prevent any miscommunications or problems with the Seller. It is extremely helpful to have a professional advocate for you if any stressful and/or emotional situations should arise during the process.

The REALTOR® designation identifies real estate professionals who are active members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). As such, they are held to a higher standard of ethics. Members must have a valid license, be active, clean record (no official sanctions for unprofessional conduct), and no recent/pending bankruptcy.Cindy is a member of NAR & does carry the REALTOR designation.

If you already have a Pre-approval Letter from your Lender, you can view homes that are “Active” on the market. If you have not been Pre-Approved yet, you can speak with a Lender and usually get one within 24-48 hours (depending on the Lender). Having this letter is essential when making an offer, so you must have this in order to view homes.

When you contact a Lender, they will ask your specific income, assets, employment, and debt related questions that will help them to calculate your Pre-Approval amount. The more cash you can apply to your purchase, the less your loan amount will have to be.

After you contact a Lender and supply them with the information/documentation that they need, they will create a Pre-Approval Letter. This amount will tell you how much you are able to spend on a home and serves as proof of funds when you are putting an offer in on a home. This is a MUST when submitting an offer.

This can vary and the only way to be sure is to contact your Lender directly. Keep in mind, just because you do not qualify with one Lender, does not mean you cannot qualify at all. Try to get a second opinion if you are having issues getting qualified.

You will have to prove employment, income, credit, & assets. Please ask your Lender for more information. The only information we will need up front to setup your search is your contact information and what you are looking for in a home. We will need your Pre-Approval Letter once you want to start touring homes and placing offers.

When you start the home search process, you will need to have at least enough money to cover an Earnest Money Deposit (typically between $1,000-$2,500+), Inspection costs (Typically $400+) and Appraisal costs (Typically around $800+). Any funds you plan to use for your Closing Costs or Down Payment should also be available for your Lender to verify. Some Lenders have specific programs that allow them to pay for the appraisal or “float” the cost to be covered at closing.

If you are Pre-Approved and make an offer today, the closing process takes on average 30-45 days. Several things can cause delays along the way, depending on each situation and the market at that time.

You would not have to sell your current home if you have enough funds or can get Pre-Approved without the sale. Often times, buyers either need the equity they make from their home sale or must sell and pay off their current home loan in order to qualify for their new home.

If you do need to sell your home first, we would aim for a “simultaneous closing.” In this case you are still able to get a Pre-Approval Letter, but your offer would be “contingent” upon the sale of your home. You cannot close on your purchase, until after your sale is closed and all funds are available.

You are not required to have a home inspection, but we highly suggest one. There may be underlying issues in the home that cannot be seen from the outside. A professional would be able to see safety concerns, identify leaks, differentiate between normal wear and tear vs damage in immediate need of repair. They will also be able to let you know if there may be items that will be of concern down the road. After the home inspection you will decide if you want to negotiate repairs, if you are comfortable moving forward without requesting repairs, or if you want to terminate the transaction.

If you are paying all cash for a home, an appraisal is not required.

If you are using a loan, an appraisal is required. Its purpose is to find the actual current market value of the home to prove to the Lender that the home is worth what the Buyer is paying. In some cases, the appraisal can come back lower than the sales price. If this happens there are a few options which will be negotiated at that time. This could include the Seller agreeing to lowering the purchase price, Buyer covering all/some of the difference, or in some rare cases there may be another appraisal ordered to get a second opinion. If the appraisal comes in at or above the agreed sale price, there is nothing that needs to be done, and everything can then move forward.



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Cindy Harris

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