As first time buyers – where do you start ?
Before you start randomly calling on houses you see on the internet or homes with signs that you drive by -follow these steps.
- First step – Consult with and enter into a Buyer Agency Agreement with a Buyer Agent that you trust. As your Buyer Agent, I am your trusted advisor. All information that you tell me is Confidential and I help advise you through the entire home buying process. There are countless moving parts to any purchase, deadlines and negotiations, and bumps in the road that occur throughout the process. My job is not only to show you houses but to also advise you of the possible outcomes of any offer or negotiation, keep you on schedule, to figure out possible solutions to any obstacles, and to help you arrange any professional services such as financing, home inspections and title and closing services. That number on the sign that you called – it belongs to the Listing Agent who represents the Seller – they look out for the sellers interest not yours! Buyer Agents get paid through funds that originate from the Listing Agency – so there are no up front fees to use my services.
- Second Step – Find a Lender and get Pre-Qualified to Finance your home purchase. There are multiple home loan options available, and it’s important to find the one that works for you. Realtors and Lenders need open confidential communication throughout the buying process . Your lender will Pre-Qualify you based on Income, Debt, Credit Score, Cash Reserves, Employment History and other loan conditions. Once you are Pre-Qualified your lender can then immediately provide a letter that is submitted with Offer to Purchase. In areas with high demand this can make the difference between getting your offer accepted or getting beat out by other buyers.
- Third Step – Searching for a Home – You probably already have ideas about what style of home you want , which towns or neighborhoods or school systems you want to be in and what size home you need. Sit down with your Realtor and have them set up a Home Search for you. The tools we have to set up searches are far more advanced then any search you can set up on Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com. Also the local information, about market conditions and home values, that your Buyer Agent has, is much more reliable then any “Zestimate” can provide. We can set up automated MLS searches that can provide you immediate or timely results that can get you into homes quickly as they come on market.
- Fourth Step – Looking at Homes – Once you and your Buyer Agent narrow down your search your Buyer Agent can schedule visits to those homes and provide Property Disclosure Information about the home. DO NOT CALL THE LISTING AGENT – the Listing Agent represents the seller. Let your Buyer Agent make the calls – we are here to represent YOU the buyer. Property Disclosures will have additional information about Water Systems, Septic or Sewer Systems, Heating Systems and and Health and Hazards Issues that may or may not be present in the home. It may also contain Lot Map or Zoning Information, Tax Information, Copies of Deeds and Home Owner Association Rules which may provide additional information about Right of Ways, Easements, Property Covenants and Restrictions. As you visit the home you are most likely looking at the livability of the home, the location, etc but your Buyer Agent is looking for any issues that may affect your purchase .The type of loan you use can also determine if that home maybe purchased. Certain loans have different requirements related to defects and needed repairs or other issues and your Buyer Agent should recognize which defects might pose obstacles during the inspection or appraisal process and advise you on outcomes and solutions related to your purchase.
- Fifth Step – Making the Offer – You found “the one”. It’s one of the biggest decisions you have ever made so talk to your Buyer Agent about the property, about why you like the property, about any concerns. Your Buyer Agent should review the Property Disclosures, Deeds, Home Owner Association Rules, Lot Maps and any other information with you so that you know exactly what you might be buying. They should also be able to relay any concerns or observations about the property so that you have an independent non-emotional view of the property. Your Buyer Agent can review past property sales data to help you determine what fair market value of the property is and also what repairs might be needed and what inspections you might want to perform. Your Buyer Agent can help you to decide whether to ask the seller to contribute toward closing costs or to complete needed repairs that might prevent you from obtaining your loan. Together with your lender, your Buyer Agent can help you approximate projected closing costs. Most importantly, your Buyer Agent can help you decide on Offer and Negotiating Strategies and what the possible outcomes might be through the Offer and Counter Offer process. Negotiations can often take days to reach the point of having a fully executed agreement and being fully Under Contract. You should also be prepared that the offer may not be accepted at all due to buyer conditions or other competing offers.
- 6th Step – Under Contract to Closing – This is where the real work begins. There will be a series of deadlines specified in the Purchase and Sale Agreement that must be completed on time. First – Your Buyer Agent should forward your Lender a copy of the agreement and you, The Buyer, need to make the formal application for the loan. This is additional information your Lender needs to start the official loan process. He can then issue the “has Made Application Letter” that notifies the seller side that you have begun the process. There may be an application fee that gets applied to order the Appraisal for the bank. Your Buyer Agent should help you arrange Property Inspections (at Buyers Cost) and all inspections, results and negotiations must be completed by 5pm EST of the final day of the specified deadline. There may be some hard decisions along the way and your Buyer Agent is there to give you advice on the outcomes. Your Lender may have a Title and Settlement Company that they partner with to to the Title Search, provide Title Insurance and Settlement and Closing services. If not, your Buyer Agent can help you find an agent and also a Home Owners Insurance company. Your Buyer Agent can help you as you near the closing day with information about Utility Companies, Movers, and can review the Closing Statement (HUD-1 form) with your final closing costs. And finally the big day comes… Closing Day ..mortgage documents are signed, keys are exchanged and the home is yours.
Call to schedule a first meeting, to talk to me in person, about representing you as Your Buyer Agent. I am a full time Realtor and have been selling properties since 2008 throughout Southern Maine.
David Karl Roberts/Associate Broker
The Maine Real Estate Network
207-741-2006 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org