Buyer's Guide

The Home Buying Process

The Home Finding Process

Once you have found the home you wish to purchase, you will need to determine what offer you are willing to make for the home. It is important to remember that the more competition there is for the home, the higher the offer should be sometimes even exceeding the asking price. Remember, be realistic and make offers you want the other party to sign.


To communicate your interest in purchasing a home, we will present the listing agent with a written offer, or a Real Estate Purchase Contract (REPC). When the seller accepts an offer it becomes a legal contract. When you write an offer you should be prepared to pay an earnest money deposit. This is to guarantee that your intention is to purchase the property.


After we present your offer to the listing agent it will either be accepted, or rejected, or the seller will make a counteroffer. This is when we will negotiate the terms of the contract if necessary.


The step-by-step contract procedure for most single-family home purchases is standard. The purchase agreement used is a standard document approved by our local Board of Realtors.


The purchase agreement or contract constitutes your offer to buy and, once accepted by the seller, becomes a valid, legal contract. For this reason, it is important to understand what is written on the contract offer. I will be assisting you in this process from beginning to end.

Once the offer is accepted, there are timely steps that need to take place, each with a certain deadline. Each of these steps is outlined per REPC, including Seller Disclosure Deadline, Due Diligence Deadline, Financing & Appraisal Deadline, and Settlement Deadline.

Title Insurance

A Title Company may handle the following items.

NOTE: In different parts of the country attorneys, lenders, escrow companies, and other persons who are independent of, title companies perform some or all of these functions.

Both you and your lender will want the security offered by title insurance. Why?

Title agents search public records to determine who has owned any piece of property, but these records may not reflect irregularities that are almost impossible to find. Here are some examples: an unauthorized seller forges the deed to the property; an unknown, but rightful heir to the property shows up after the sale to claim ownership; conflicts arise over a will from a deceased owner; or a land survey showing the boundaries of your property is incorrect.

For a one-time charge at closing, title insurance will safeguard you against problems including those events an exhaustive search will not reveal.

Shopping for a Lender

A very important part of purchasing a home is finding the right lender. As your consultant, I have selected lenders that I know will do a great job for you. However, since you may have a lender you already work with, I have listed some points you need to ensure from your lender.
  • Check reputations and references.

  • Does the lender have access to a wide variety of loan packages?

  • Can the interest rates be locked in and for how long?

  • What is the new Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure?

  • What is the interest rate for a mortgage and what is the Annual Percentage Rate (APR)? Both these are different. APR is the total amount the lender charges for the loan.

  • How many discount and origination points will I pay? Discount points are to buy your rate down and origination points is what a lender charges for their services.

  • What are the closing costs? You will see these fees in the Loan Estimate within three days of receiving a loan application.

  • When can I lock in the interest rate and what will it cost me to do so?

  • If I decide to go FHA, what will it look like to refinance it to a Conventional loan? How much will it costs for origination fees to refinance?

  • What is my best option for a loan? FHA or Conventional? Any other loan options?

  • What are the Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) fees associated with FHA, VA, and Conventional?

  • Can I get rid of the PMI with FHA or Conventional?

  • What do my Debt-to-Income and Credit Score need to be?

  • I may need some down payment assistance. Do you have any programs available for this? Can you tell me more about the Down Payment Assistant Program? Is the type of loan FHA, VA, or Conventional? Can I do a loan with no Mortgage Insurance? Will there be a higher interest rate on the subordinate mortgage payment?

  • Can friends or family give me a “gift” for my down payment? If so, which loan programs allow this?

  • Are any programs to cover your lender fees?

Things to Be Aware of When Shopping for a Lender


Quoted rates over the phone are rarely locked prices. Rates can be subjected to changes unless they are "locked" for a specific period of time. Interest rates can change daily. A quote you get today may not be available at the same price tomorrow. The interest rate you are quoted over the phone may not be a program that will fit your needs or situation. Above all, find a lender that can take the time to educate you as to the best loan package for your needs and situation--there are innumerable programs out there and only the best lenders will be able to match you with the correct program for you and your family.

Things to Avoid When Purchasing a Home

  • Do not change jobs.

  • Do not switch banks or move money around.

  • Do not pay off bills.

  • Do not make any major purchases.

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Loan Process

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Home Inspection

If you are purchasing a new home, I highly recommend that you have a professional home inspector conduct a thorough inspection. The inspection will include the following:

  • Appliances

  • Plumbing

  • Electrical

  • Air conditioning and heating

  • Ventilation

  • Roof and Attic

  • Foundation

  • General Structure

The inspection is not designed to criticize every minor problem or defect in the home. It is intended to report on major damage or serious problems that require repair. Should serious problems be indicated, the inspector will recommend that a structural engineer or some other professional inspect it as well.

Your home cannot pass or fail an inspection, and your inspector will not tell you whether he/she thinks the home is worth the money you are offering. The inspector's job is to make you aware of repairs that are recommended or necessary.

The seller may be willing to negotiate the completion of repairs or a credit for the completion of repairs, or you may decide that the home will take too much work and money. A professional inspection will help you make a clear-headed decision. In addition to the overall inspection, you may wish to have separate tests conducted for termites or the presence of radon gas.

In choosing a home inspector, consider one that has been certified as a qualified and experienced member by a trade association.

I recommend being present at the inspection. This is to your advantage. You will be able to clearly understand the inspection report, and know exactly which areas need attention. Plus, you can get answers to many questions, tips for maintenance, and a lot of general information that will help you once you move into your new home. Most important, you will see the home through the eyes of an objective third party.

Appraisal

The appraisal steps taken to determine the Fair Market Value of property are well-defined. These steps are part standard process, part research, and part art, and the quality of each is demonstrably dependent on the experience and judgment of the real estate appraiser.

Home Warranty Protection

When you purchase a newly built home, the builder usually offers some sort of full or limited warranty on things such as the quality of design, materials, and workmanship. These warranties are usually for a period of one year from the purchase of the home.

 

In closing, the builder will assign to you the manufacturer's warranties that were provided to the builder for materials, appliances, fixtures, etc. For example, if your dishwasher were to become faulty within one year from the purchase of your newly built home, you would call the manufacturer of the dishwasher, not the builder.

 

If the homebuilder does not offer a warranty, BE SURE TO ASK WHY.

When you purchase a resale home, you can purchase warranties that will protect you against most ordinary flaws and breakdowns for at least the first year of occupancy. The warranty may be offered by either the Seller, as part of the overall package, or by the Realtor. Even with a warranty, you should have the home carefully inspected before you purchase it.

 

A home warranty program will give you peace of mind, knowing that the major covered components in your home will be repaired if necessary.

Real Estate Closing

A closing is where you and I meet with some or all of the following individuals: the Seller, the Seller's agent, a representative from the lending institution, and a representative from the title company, in order to transfer the property title to you. The purchase agreement or contract you signed describes the property, states the purchase price and terms, sets forth the method of payment, and usually names the date and place where the closing or actual transfer of the property title and keys will occur.

 

If financing the property, your lender will require you to sign a document, usually a promissory note, as evidence that you are personally responsible for repaying the loan. You will also sign a mortgage or deed of trust on the property as security to the lender for the loan. The mortgage or deed of trust gives the lender the right to sell the property if you fail to make the payments. Before you exchange these papers, the property may be surveyed, appraised, or inspected, and the ownership of the title will be checked in county and court records.

 

At closing, you will be required to pay all fees and closing costs in the form of guaranteed funds such as a cashier's Check. Your agent or escrow officer will notify you of the exact amount at closing.

An escrow account is a neutral depository held by your lender for funds that will be used to pay expenses incurred by the property, such as taxes, assessments, property insurance, or mortgage insurance premiums that fall due in the future. You will pay one-twelfth of the annual amount of these bills each month with your regular mortgage payment. When the bills fall due the lender pays them from the special account. In closing, it may be necessary to pay enough into the account to cover these amounts for several months so that funds will be available to pay the bills as they fall due.

Work With Jason

Jason recognizes that buying, selling or leasing a home is more than a simple transaction. He endeavors to provide each of his clients exceptional, personalized service from start to finish, all while truly working to understand and exceed his clients’ real estate expectations. From first time home buyers, to seasoned investment portfolios, to property leasing, Jason has the expertise required to navigate any scenario.

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