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Christina Thompson's

BUYING GUIDE

IS IT TIME TO BUY?

Thinking about buying? Have you gone through the process before or is this your first time? Buying a home is a huge financial decision, but it's also an emotional one.  There are steps to determine whether you're financially set, but the emotional side of buying a home is often overlooked. To gauge whether you're ready to stop renting and buy, think about these below-the-surface questions:

IS THERE A "WANT" TO BUY A HOME?

  • You should never buy a home because others are doing it or because you think it's what you're supposed to do next. You've gotta have your own "want" and desire.
  • ARE YOU READY TO PUT DOWN ROOTS?
    • Buying is a more long-term decision than renting, so you want to be sure you're ready to plant roots for at least a couple of years before signing on the dotted line.
    DO YOU DESIRE MORE PRIVACY AT HOME?
    • If you're exhausted by noisy neighbors and no place to stretch your legs, it may be time to buy.
    ARE YOU CONTENT IN YOUR CURRENT JOB?
    • Lenders want to see job stability, so if you're thinking of buying, evaluate your long-term employment plans.
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    IS YOUR DEBT-TO-INCOME RATIO HEALTHY?
    • Your DTI ratio is an important factor when applying for a mortgage. Getting debt under control before purchasing is always a wise decision. Let's determine your DTI with the formula below:
    DETERMINE YOUR DEBT-TO-INCOME RATIO (DTI)
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    Gettin Prepared
    THE HOME BUYING PROCESS
    1. FINANCIAL PREPARATION
    Gain Pre-Approval
    • Most Pre-Approvals are Valid for 30-90 days
    • Work with a Local Lender
    ​​
    Ask Questions if You Need Clarification. Examples Below:​
    • What Type of Loan do You Recommend?​
    • Will my Down Payment Vary Based on the Loan Type?
    • What is the Interest Rate and APR?
    • Can I Lock-in an Interest Rate? If so, For How Long?
    • What Will My Closing Costs Be?
    • Can You Estimate My Expected Monthly Payment?
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    Locate Down Payment Funds​
    Prepare for Additional Costs
    2. OUTLINE NEEDS/WANTS
    Make 2 Lists​​
    • MUST HAVES​ (Beds, Baths, Location, First Floor Primary Bedroom, etc.)​
    • WANTS​ (Pool, Fenced-in Backyard, Den, etc.)​
    ​​
    As a first-time home buyer it may be difficult to locate a home with all of your "wants" but it is important to keep track. "Wants" are always something that you can add or change to a property down the road.
    3. SEARCHING STRATEGICALLY
    Representation by a Professional​​
    • Consider Hiring a Licensed Real Estate Agent to Represent our interests (the buyer) and not the interests of the seller
    ​​
    Evaluate the Market​
    • Are most homes selling for Above, At or Below List Price?​
    • Does that Change your Budget/Search Criteria?​
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    Online Searches
    • Popular sites include Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin, Trulia, etc.​
    • Use Search Filters, but not too many
    • Good filters include min. beds, baths, as well as location and other criteria on your 'must haves' list​ (Pay attention to the number of homes each 'filter' removes from your search)
    • Utilize Google Street View​​
    • Don't Eliminate a Home because it's 'Pending'
    • Pending contracts do fall through and many sellers will accept backup offers
    • Pictures may not tell the Full Story​​​​​​
    Finding A Neighborhood
    • When possible, Drive through a Community you're interested in (Mornings, Rush Hour, and Evenings)​​​
    • A few things to consider:
      • Average Home Value​ in Neighborhood
      • Year-over-Year(s) Home Value Appreciation
      • School Districts
      • Proximity to Work
      • Access to Highways
      • Proximity to Parks/Walking Paths/Dog Parks
      • Safety
      • Dining/Nightlife
      • Relocating? Ask a friend, family member, co-worker, or your realtor for Neighborhood Recommendations​​​​
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    4. SHOWINGS
    Review Your Must Haves vs. Wants List
    • Take Pictures to keep on your phone​
    • IF you Love some Aspects of the home, be willing to sacrifice wants
    Make Sure You Love the Lot & Location​
    • Remember, you can't change these, and you probably don't want to be the priciest home on the block​
    Visualize Your Furniture/LIFE in the Home​
    • Don't get distracted by paint, staging and decor​
    • Take Pictures/Videos
    • Take Measurements
    • Be Creative - what easy improvements can you make to the home?
    TAKE YOUR TIME​
    • This is a very Important Decision - spend time looking around​
    • It's OK to go back and see a home a 2nd time!
    Make a Pros vs. Cons List​
    • Talk about what you liked / didn't like​
    • Share feedback to your realtor​
    • If you're serious about the home, write the list down
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    What to expect
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    5. HOW TO KNOW IF IT'S "THE ONE"
    If you're you doing any of the following things, this may be the one :
    • You look at other houses, but are still thinking about this one
    • You are Comparing every other house to this one
    • You've told all of your friends and family about this one
    • You keep looking at the photos
    • You want to go back inside the house again
    • You feel defensive about the house
    • You've started thinking about furniture arrangements
    • It checks everything off of the 'Must Haves" List​​
    6. OFFER & NEGOTIATION
    Learn About the Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate
    • Discuss Multiple Offer Strategies (As needed)
    • Discuss Contingencies/Deadlines
    • Negotiate to Optimize Price and Terms
    • Acceptance of Offer / Counter Offer​​
    7. GOING INTO ESCROW
    Escrow Deposit​
    • Wire initial deposit to Title Company
    • Notify Lender to begin loan process
    ​Sign and Return Opening Title Instructions 
    Contact Insurance Agent for Homeowners Coverage
    Inspections & Disclosures​​
    • Schedule all desired home inspections​ (Sewer Scope, Radon, etc.)​
    • Approve/Negotiate Repairs
    Schedule Appraisal
    Review/Approve Preliminary Title Report
    Meet Deadlines/Remove Contractual Contingencies
    • Schedule Final Walkthrough Prior to Closing
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    8. Closing
    Review Closing Statement from Title​
    • Arrange to Wire Down Payment and Closing Costs
    • Transfer Utilities​
    • Closing, Key Delivery, and Celebration 
    • Move into Property​
    Working Together Again
    • Staying in touch and keeping you informed
    • Investment Properties and Beach Homes
    • Providing Resources and Instructions
    • Referrals, Testimonials, and Reviews

    THE BETTER HOMES CONCIERGE TEAM

    HOW  CAN
    WE HELP?

    SUCCESS!

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