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Preparing to Start Process

If you've never owned a home, you must first make a decision that you want to be a homeowner and invest in yourself. And, if you're buying because of a job move or just moving up, we can help.

We believe educated consumers make the best choices for themselves. Our job is to manage the process, and your job is to make informed decisions.

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The Process

Select a Realtor

If you're thinking about buying a home, you'll want to carefully choose the real estate professional you work with during the process. If you are reading this, you've already made a wise decision. It would be best if you met with your Realtor face to face. We don't do business with people we haven't met in person, and neither should you. You should commit yourself to working with one sales associate who can learn your likes and dislikes in homes to make your home-buying process easier.

Our focus is to provide first-class buyer services to a select number of clients. We believe in our client relationships' quality rather than the numbers. To provide great service, we customize a plan for working together that best meets the demands of busy schedules or special needs. Sometimes, that may mean simply providing property addresses of new listings for "drive-bys." Other times it may mean special showing arrangements and times. Whatever your property needs may be, we strive to provide great service.

Get Pre-Approved

Pre-approved is much better than pre-qualified and puts you in a better position when making an offer. Again, meet face to face with your lender or mortgage broker, get your pre-approval in writing, and make sure your associate has a copy. The vast number of new mortgage programs means hundreds of choices. Your lender can guide you through the process. Your associate can help with lender recommendation.

Prepare for the Search

Define your criteria for your search with your associate, but don't be too narrow. Half of all buyers purchase homes that do not meet their specific criteria. Your job is as much to eliminate homes and locations as it s to find the "right" home. At Betsher & Associates, our associates are trained to represent you.

Searching and Finding Your Home

Make a plan and rely on your associate. Your associate can set you up with automatic email notifications for your criteria. In addition, you can search here. As a potential buyer, you have more options than ever before in the home buying process. Today, you can search for real estate online at any time of the day. Property information can be emailed to you in seconds, and virtual property tours allow you to preview homes from remote locations. Use the internet wisely. Not all websites are created equal.

A note on print media - it is obsolete and will waste your time. Most properties are posted on the internet within an hour of entry. It makes sellers feel good to see their house in print, but the best homes never make it to the print media or are sold or under contract by the time they make it to the newsstand. Be prepared to "drive-by" properties that may have some interest to you or that are new on the market. You'd be surprised at how many times you'll reject a property. Your job is to visit enough properties to make an informed decision. Your goal is to become an educated buyer.

i. The Seller has Accepted Your Offer – Now What?

  • 1 This is where our job really begins. There are several inspections to be coordinated with many parties and your associate will take the lead. Your associate will coordinate with all parties, the appraiser, your lender, the termite inspector, the other broker, the title company or attorney and keep you involved and a participant in the process. You job is to timely and actively follow up on all your obligations under the contract.

ii. Settlement or Closing

  • 1 We'll be there with you. At the settlement will be an attorney or title company representative, you, listing and selling brokers and all owners. Among other things, you'll need a certified check, driver's license, evidence of insurance, etc. The home seller should bring all warranties on equipment (or leave them in the house) and any instructions on equipment maintenance or operation.
  • 2 The attorney will have searched the title, and obtained old and new lender instructions. First, all unresolved walk-through deficiencies are resolved.
  • 3 With the buyer the attorney explains the deed of trust, deed of trust note, and settlement sheets. Buyer signs all three, and pays the balance of the down payment and buyer's closing costs.
  • 4 With the seller the attorney explains the deed and settlement sheets and gets the home seller's signature on them. Seller pays appropriate closing costs.

iii. Settlement Costs

Closing costs for the buyer and seller may include:

  • 1 Attorney's fees (preparation of deed, settlement fee, and any release fees)
  • 2 Lender's inspection fee
  • 3 Appraisal
  • 4 Broker's commission
  • 5 State deed transfer tax or recordation fee
  • 6 Condominium or Homeowner's Association packet fees
  • 7 Water escrow (to reduce confusion, you may want to bring canceled check and last bill; amount prorated at settlement)
  • 8 Termite inspection
  • 9 Loan discount fee (points based on loan amount)
  • 10 Mortgage pay-off penalty (see deed of trust note)
  • 11 Interest up to the date trusts are paid off
  • 12 If the seller's taxes or insurance have been escrowed, the seller will receive any money accumulated in the account for bills not yet due. Additionally, the seller will be reimbursed by the buyer for any money paid in advance and not used, such as property taxes. The seller will receive these refunds at or after settlement, depending on the locality. Taxes and homeowner's dues or condominium fees will be prorated on a daily basis. Seller, buyer and brokers are supplied a copy of settlement sheets for their records.

iv. Behind the Scenes

  • 1 Whichever the case, if you start out with too high a price on your home, you may have just added to your stress level, and selling a home is stressful enough. There will be a lot of "behind the scenes" action taking place that you don’t know about.
  • 2 Contrary to popular opinion, the listing agent does not usually attempt to sell your home to a homebuyer. That isn’t very efficient. Listing agents market and promote your home to the hordes of other local agents who do work with homebuyers, dramatically increasing your personal sales force. During the first couple of weeks, if the price is right, your home should be a flurry of activity with buyer’s agents coming to preview your home so they can sell it to their clients.
  • 3 If you and your agent have overpriced, fewer agents will preview your home. After all, they are Realtors, and it is their job to know local market conditions and home values. If your house is dramatically above market, why waste time? Their time is better spent previewing homes that are priced realistically.

v. Disbursement

  • 1 The attorney or title company will disburse funds after all funds are in hand, checks have cleared, new lender has reviewed papers, and the title has been re-checked and deed recorded. The house has now been sold, settled, and funds disbursed.
  • 2 Congratulations on your new home.
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A kitchen with white cabinets and wooden floors.

Making the Offer

Make a good offer. If you've found a great home, others agree. You want to make a strong offer.

  • You're already pre-approved. Good job! Your offer is already stronger than another Buyer's offer who failed to do the same.
  • Act promptly. Sellers don't take holidays.
  • Offer market price. If you would be disappointed if you lost the home, you might offer more. If not, then maybe it isn't the home for you.
  • Provide a substantial earnest money deposit. This "good faith" money shows the seller you are serious about the property. If there are two identical offers, the offer with the largest good faith deposit will usually win.
  • Limit your contingencies to those most important to you, such as financing, inspections, etc. A contingency for the sale of your home is a weak offer.
  • Be flexible on the settlement date. A seller may be more inclined to accept one offer over another if the settlement date meets their needs.
  • Negotiate reasonably.