DECIDING TO PURCHASE
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 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.
CHOOSING A REAL ESTATE AGENT
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 can guide you through this process, and also provide you with access to property listings before they hit the general market.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing your real estate professional:
Look for a full-time agent – one who has experience completing transactions similar to yours.
Interview a few agents: Are they familiar with the area in which you are interested?
Ask how much time the agent will have for you, and if they are available at night and on weekends.
Are you able to speak directly with your agent when you call them or are you directed to a transaction or listing coordinator?
Choose an agent who listens attentively to your needs and concerns. Pick an agent, with whom you feel comfortable.
PREPARING TO BUY
Before you start shopping for your property, it is a good idea to make some preparations.
Build Your Green File.
A green file contains all your important financial documents if you will need it to secure financing for your property. The typical green file should contain:
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 is 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 will be happy to recommend experienced, knowledgeable lenders in the residential, construction, and commercial 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. In other words, do not apply for loan and change jobs or retire.
Do not brake any large purchases or move monies to new or “unseasoned” (less then 2 months) accounts.
TIME TO GO SHOPPING
Once those preparations are out of the way, it is time to find the right property for you.
Take a Drive.
Get to know the neighborhoods, compounds, or subdivisions, which interest you. Drive around 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.
Drive areas of interest at different times of day to see if there are any factors that will affect your enjoyment.
Narrow Your Search.
Select a few properties that interest you the most and contact us to make appointments to visit them. Ask your real estate agent about the potential long term resale value of the properties you are considering.
Time to Buy.
Once you have picked out the property you want to purchase, we are here to help you make an offer that the seller will accept. A good broker will investigate the potential costs and expenses associated with the new property. Our goal is to help you draft your offer in a way that gives you the advantage over another offer.
Escrow Inspections & Appraisals
The Process, Step-by-Step
The Initial Agreement and Deposit.
An effective agreement is a legal arrangement between a potential purchaser and the property’s seller.
Some important tips to keep in mind to streamline the process:
Stick to the schedule. Now that you have chosen your offer, 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 so that each party involved is not in breach of their agreements. During the 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 by the date of closing and that all new encumbrances are properly added to the title. Some properties are subject to restrictions which limit various activities such as building or parking restrictions. There may be recorded easements and encroachments, which limit the rights to use your property.
Inspections. Once your offer is accepted by the seller, you will probably want to have a licensed property inspector inspect the property within the time frame that was agreed upon in the effective contract to purchase. 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). If you are purchasing a commercial property, then you will need to have an environmental audit done on the site for the lending institution. We can recommend several different inspectors.
Depending on the outcome of these inspections, one of two things may happen:
1. Either each milestone is successfully closed and the contingencies will be removed, bringing you one step closer to the close, or
2. The buyer, after reviewing the property and the papers, requests a renegotiation of the terms of contract (usually the price).
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.
Property Insurance. 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.
We will be happy to recommend experienced knowledgeable insurance agents for every property type.