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The 9 Steps to Home Ownership

Step - 1 Make the Decision to Buy

It seems obvious, but it's good to note that the first step to buying a house is making the decision to buy. Consider the reasons you want a new house and write them down. Determine how long you want to live in the new house -does buying still make good financial sense? Can you afford a house that will meet your list of requirements? A good rule of thumb is your mortgage payment should not exceed 1/3 of your net monthly income.

Step 2 - Seek Professional Guidance

I'd like to schedule a time to meet with you to hear the reasons you want to buy a house or investment property and your plans for the future. We'll talk about neighborhoods, schools, economic factors likely to affect the market today and tomorrow, as well as how you would like your house and neighborhood to grow with you.

At this time, if you are not already working with a lender, I will help you get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan. Pre-qualification is a written statement from a loan officer indicating you have applied for a loan and his or her opinion that you will be approved for a mortgage loan up to a certain amount. The fact that you are pre-qualified will help us look in the price range that's right for you and it will also help us when we are making an offer and negotiating the deal for your new home or investment property. 

Step 3 - Begin the Hunt

After our initial meeting, I'll search all my resources for properties on the market that fit your criteria. I'll preview these properties to eliminate the duds. Then, I'll schedule appointments to tour the properties at times convenient to you.

As we tour homes and/or other property, I'll point out positive features and negative features. I'll ask you to tell me what you like and what you don't like. You'll probably amend your "wish list" as we see more properties, some things will become more important and others less important. With this new information, I'll refine our search criteria to narrow in on the house of your dreams or the investment property that meets your goals.

Step 4 - Know the Market

My knowledge of the local market is an essential factor in the property search. I'll let you know when the market in a particular neighborhood is "hot" and requires immediate action or when the market is "cool" and allows for thoughtful consideration.

As we tour properties, I'll let you know when analysis tells us the asking price may have negotiating room and when the property appears to be "priced to sell". My unique market knowledge and ability to analize specific properties will keep you a step ahead of the "house hunting and investment seeking competition".

In a "seller's market" it is not unusual to see multiple offers on a property, full-price offers and even above-price offers. On the flip side, during a "buyer's market" there are more properties for sale than buyers. This gives us more negotiating room as properties are taking longer to sell.

Step 5 - Find Your Dream Home

I'm confident we'll find your dream home. When we do, I'll put together the purchase offer tailored for your needs including appropriate contingencies (such as obtaining financing, favorable home inspection, clear title, etc.).

The offer is normally presented with "earnest money". This is a cash (check is fine) deposit made to a home seller or, more likely, held by my company or the closing title company on your behalf to secure an offer to buy the property. The amount is applied to closing costs. If the seller accepts the offer, generally closing is held 30 to 60 days from the offer date (generally dependent on the turn around time of your mortgage financing).

Step 6 - Negotiate the Deal

It is not uncommon to receive a counter offer when the initial purchase offer is submitted. Don't let this discourage you. We will discuss the counter offer and decide whether or not to accept the counter offer, submit our own counter offer, or reject the counter offer and move on.

Market conditions will play a role in how aggressively we negotiate the deal. We will also work within your limits. Emotions can lead to buyer's remorse. It is better to set limits prior to negotiating an offer and stick to these limits.

Step 7 - Get a Loan

During the closing period, you will be working with your mortgage lender to close the loan. Since you pre-qualified for the loan before starting your property search, you will be that much closer to gaining a "clear to close" commitment from your lender. I'll gather the necessary property information your lender will need to close the loan.

Step 8 - Close the Deal

You will receive a "Good Faith Estimate" of closing costs at the time your loan application is submitted to the lender. The estimate is based on the loan officer's past experience and may not include all the closing costs. I will be glad to review the "Good Faith Estimate," answering questions and highlighting missing costs and estimates I believe to be low.

Step 9 - Move In or Acquire Investment Property

Congratulations! It's time to to take possession of your new investment or move into your new house and make it your home. Enjoy this exciting time. I'll give you a checklist to help you remember the numerous details that will make your closing and/or moving day a pleasure.