Information for Home Buyers

Don'ts for Home Buyers

  • Don’t wait for the perfect house. Compromising & prioritizing are essential elements of the buying process.
  • Don’t buy before comparison shopping…especially if you’re new to the area.
  • Don’t write an unrealistic offer or you will simply be helping someone else’s offer look good (too low of a price…too many contingencies).
  • Don’t feel a need to negotiate if a property is new to the market, priced right and popular…the good ones often go quickly and at full or close to full price.
  • Don’t think all real estate agents and companies are created equal. They are not. Find an agent/company with a great track record and proven home buying system.
  • Don’t be afraid to write an offer above or below the asking price. Offer what it is worth to you.
  • Don’t work with more than one agent. Find one you like and stick with him/her.
  • Don’t wait for the perfect time to buy. The best time to buy is when you have found the right home.
  • Don’t get too many people involved in your buying decision.
  • Don’t wait until you find a home to start looking for the best loan.
  • Don’t wait until after you find a house to be qualified for a loan.

Tips for First Time Home Buyers

  • Be pre-qualified by a lender.
  • Obtain a mortgage pre-approval.
  • Have the necessary funds available to write an initial earnest money check.
  • Have the remaining money for your down payment easily accessible.
  • If you are receiving a “gift letter” for a portion of your down payment, be sure to have the money transferred into your savings account.
  • Pay balances on revolving credit cards.
  • Do not make big purchases (such as a car) prior to getting loan approval and closing on your new home.
  • Have a credit report run by a credit agency so that you can clear up any potential problems.
  • Find an attorney to review an “offer to purchase agreement”.
  • Be aware of the dates you can move on.

Steps to Buying a Home

  • Look for and interview an agent.
  • Clarify your wants and needs with your agent. Let them know your objectives and your timetable.
  • Have the agent help you get pre-approved for a loan.
  • Select the best 3 to 5 properties to see.
  • View each property objectively.
  • Write an offer to purchase when you’ve found the right one.
  • Have your agent present your offer immediately.
  • Handle all counter offers and negotiations positively.
  • Finalize any loan details to get final approval.
  • Order title insurance from the company of your choice.
  • Have any necessary inspections or predications completed.
  • Do a walk-through prior to closing on your new home.
  • Show up early and prepared for your closing.
  • Keep in contact with your agent after closing if you have any questions or concerns.

Common Closing Costs

  • Down payment
  • Loan Origination fee and points
  • Appraisal fee
  • Credit report
  • Flood letter
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) premium
  • Home Owners Insurance premium
  • Mortgage Insurance escrow
  • Home Owners Insurance escrow
  • Property taxes escrow
  • Closing fees
  • Recording fees
  • Mortgage Title policy
  • Owner’s Title policy
  • Mortgage interest adjustment
  • Survey
  • Termite inspection and building inspection fee
  • Tax servicing fee
  • Lender inspection fee
  • Notary fees
  • Federal Express (if needed)

Why do I need an agent?

  • Do you have time to research the residential housing market?
  • Do you have the knowledge to integrate and understand the information available to you?
  • Can you integrate the information available on the real estate Internet sites into useful data that can help you accomplish your goal?
  • Do you have the expertise to negotiate on your own behalf?
  • Do you have the ability to find a qualified home inspector?
  • Do you have the time to research the home loan programs available in the market?
  • Do you have the time to interview mortgage loan officers?
  • Do you have the time and expertise to target market, if necessary, for the type of property you are looking for?
  • Do you know the zoning regulations and building codes pertaining to residential real estate in the area you are interested in?

Services an agent can provide

  • Work with you to find properties that meet your specific requirements such as location, price and amenities.
  • Arrange for appointments and show you the properties you select.
  • Provide you with information regarding the price and value of properties.
  • Provide knowledge of the current real estate market and how it relates to your purchase.
  • Educate you regarding the purchase agreement.
  • Prepare an offer to purchase.
  • Assist in the negotiation of your selected property.
  • Refer you to professional service providers, such as: home inspectors, legal services, mortgage services, title services, etc.

Steps to Selecting the Right Property

  • Approach the home buying process objectively—there is no perfect house; the good ones sell quickly; don’t second guess yourself.
  • After viewing each property, ask yourself: what did you like about it; what, if anything would you want/need to change; could you see yourself owning the property if the price was right and at what price.
  • Use your judgment, the Customized Market Analysis prepared by your agent and the option of an Appraisal Rider to your advantage.


Call Me...Let's Talk Real Estate!

Barb Woodham
(314) 346-Barb
- BerkshireAlliance
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Cindy & Roy

Thanks so much for the beautiful closing gift....we can't wait to get all the colors and "stuff" in place in our new home so we can use our gift.

The window cleaning made such a HUGE difference. It really changes the appearance from the inside looking out. That was really above and beyond the call of duty. I am so grateful, as is Roy, for the way you always take such good care of us! Thank you so very much!

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