10 Resolutions To Achieve Home Ownership In 2016

Dated: 01/04/2016

Views: 1321

Retrieved electronically January 4, 2016 from http://capecodproperties.com/home-ownership-in-2016/.  Posted with  modifications.

Home Ownership in 2016

Is one of your New Year’s Resolutions to move into your own home in 2016?  One of the keys to making the home-buying process easier and more understandable is planning. Follow these steps to achieve your goal of home ownership in 2016.

Resolution #1: Get Your Finances Ready 

Once you have an idea of what you are looking for it’s time to determine what you can afford. How much do you have available for a down payment? What is your monthly budget for a mortgage payment? Do you have money for closing costs and taxes?  You should start the mortgage process before bidding on a home. Meet with your local lenders and determine not only which program best suits you and your needs but how much you can qualify for.

Resolution #2: Get Your Pre-Approval

“Pre-approval” means you have met with a loan officer, your credit files have been reviewed and the loan


 officer qualifies you for a given loan amount with one or more specific mortgage programs. The lender will provide you with a pre-approval letter, which shows your borrowing power. You can visit as many lenders as you like and get several pre-approvals, but keep in mind that each one carries with it a new credit check, which will show up on future credit reports and could damage your credit score.  The more inquiries you have the lower your score goes.  We recommend you work with a local lender as they have the best knowledge of the local market.  A pre-qualification letter also helps as it is a "soft pull" on your credit (won't affect your score) and gives a seller the confidence that you have at a minimum spoken with a lender about your finances.   A pre-qualification does not require verification of income, etc., so it's a "first pass" discuss with a lender about your financial picture, based on your responses to the lender's questions.   A pre-qualification does not contain the same leverage in the home buying process as a pre-approval does.  When you are ready to make a written offer, make sure you have your pre-approval in hand. 

Resolution #3: Figure Out What You Want

This is the fun part!   You need to decide what, where, and when!  What style house are you looking for, 


how big, how many bedrooms, bathrooms etc.?  Do you want a wooded lot, an open lot?  Take your time with these decisions as buying a home is a major commitment and you want to be somewhere you can live happily for several years!

Resolution #4: Find Your Realtor or Real Estate Agent: 

Most sellers will list their homes for sale through an agent.  But be aware that those agents work for the seller, not you. You need a buyer’s agent.   Get in touch with a Real Estate Agent that you are comfortable with and that can help you find the home that is best for your personal situation.  A buyer’s agent has the same access to homes for sale that a seller’s agent does, but their loyalty lays with you not the seller.   

 Resolution #5: Find Your New Home 

Now we are back into the fun stuff... but you're positioned to GO!!!   A home is more than just a collection of bedrooms and bathrooms. Several properties with similar amenities may very well represent completely different designs, commuting distances, lot sizes, tax costs, interior dimensions, and exterior finishes. Here’s where the information you gathered in Resolution #3 comes into play. You already know what you want.

Resolution #6: Make An Offer

Once you find the house you want, it is time to make your offer.  When working with a buyer’s broker, get advice from him or her on an initial offer. Agents provide comparable market analysis on properties as part of the buying/selling process to their clients.  If you don't have an agent, try to line up comparable data on at least three houses that have sold recently in the area. Keep in mind that websites such as Trulia, Redfin and Zillow are helpful but do not contain the exact financial information on sold properties that an agent or Realtor has access to through their brokerage.   That's why having an agent work for you makes this part of the process a lot less emotional and much more accurate.   Remember, that your negotiating leverage depends on the pace of the market. In a slow market, you’ve got muscle; in a hot market, you may have none at all.  Agents have access to details about the listed property that can help with negotiating; collaborate with them and let them to the "heavy lifting" for you.  

Once it is time to formally make your offer don’t forget about your contingencies.  Typically we see Mortgage, Inspection and the ability to deliver clear title as “standard” contingencies. Other types of things could be the inclusion of furniture, appliances or just about anything else.  Remember - in real estate, EVERYTHING is negotiable! 

You also need to make a good-faith deposit — usually 1% to 10% of the purchase price — that will be deposited into an escrow account of the listing agent’s broker. The seller will receive this money after the deal has closed. If the deal falls through, you will get the money back only if you or the home failed any of the contingency clauses.

For planning purposes you should have your home inspections completed within 2 weeks of the accepted offer and before you sign the purchase and sale.  Plan on closing at least 30 – 45 days from the signing of the P&S.

On October 3, 2015 new closing regulations came into effect.  Collectively these are known as “TRID”.  Under TRID the process has changed and the length of time to close has extended.  Your agent and mortgage officer should be well versed in this and be able to walk you through the process to ensure a smooth and on time closing.

Resolution #7: Understand Your Mortgage Options

Now call your mortgage broker or lender and submit your formal mortgage application.  Be sure to include the information from your pre-approval as you want the process to be as streamlined as possible.

Resolution #9: Close On Your New Home

At three days before the actual closing, you will receive a final Closing Document (CD) from your lenderclosing day that lists all the charges you can expect to pay at closing.  Review it carefully as it will detail all of the closing costs you will be required to pay at the closing.  It should also detail all expenses that you have already paid including inspections, application fees etc.  The actual closing is somewhat anticlimactic, but your buyer’s agent can brief you on the particulars.

Resolution #10: Tie Up Loose Ends

You’ve done it. You’ve looked at properties, made an offer, obtained financing and gone to closing. What’s next?

Those papers you received at settlement are extremely valuable, so hold on to them!  Also at closing, determine the status of the utilities required by the home, items such as water, sewage, gas, electric and oil service. You want utility bills to be paid in full by owners as of closing and you also want services transferred to your name for billing. Usually such transfers can be done without turning off any of the utilities and should be done prior to closing. When you move in, you may want to replace all of the locks just to be safe.

Finally and most importantly……Enjoy your home!!!!  Owning real estate involves contracts, loans, and taxes, but ultimately what’s most important is that home ownership should be a wonderful experience!

Christina Ramirez with Douglas Realty, LLC  is  ready to assist you as a selling agent or a buyer’s agent  -- I'm just a quick phone call, text, or email away!  

See more at http://cramirez.godouglasrealty.com

Retrieved electronically January 4, 2016  from http://capecodproperties.com/home-ownership-in-2016/. Posted with modifications. 

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