Confused about who a Realtor represents in a transaction? Our professionals will explain the benefits of BUYER REPRESENTATION or BUYER AGENCY when purchasing real estate, and will work hard for you as a buyer's agent to help you find the property of your dreams. A simple written agreement is required, along with a signed Minnesota Agency Relationships form that helps clarify the process. Please consult your agent on how to get started to receive premium buyer representation services.
Home is Where Your Future is
Homeownership remains one of the highest goals for many people because of its many benefits. Along with owning a home comes an investment in your future, stability for you and your family, tax savings, personal satisfaction and a sense of community. And thanks to a wide spectrum of financing options and low down payment mortgages available today, more families are realizing their real estate dreams.
At Edwards & Associates, Inc., we understand that choosing to buy a home is probably one of the most important personal and financial decisions you will make, not one to be taken lightly. That’s why our professional staff work with you every step of the way, with advice you can trust.
Six Simple Steps to Home Ownership
Step 1: Defining What You Want
Start by creating a prioritized list of features you want in your next home and the reasons why. Use it as your search guide, but remember that depending on your funding, you will probably need to make some compromises. In addition, talk to your real estate professional about where you want to live. Location is a huge part of any move. Our professional agents are trained to help their clients narrow down their choices by sharing market trends and local information.
Step 2: Figuring Out What You Can Afford
Now that you know what you want, it's time to see what you can afford. You can start by crunching the numbers yourself using our selection of mortgage calculators.
When you're ready to move to the next step, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage. This process can often be performed in under an hour and it accomplishes two important goals. First, it will tell you how much house you can afford and what your monthly payments would be. Second, it tells the seller that you can afford to buy their home.
By definition, a pre-approved buyer has an approved mortgage subject to an appraisal of the property. Many times a buyer can use this pre-approved status as leverage during the negotiation process.
Step 3: Shopping For Homes
Once you know what community you'd like to live in and have an idea of how much house you can afford, its time to start checking out actual properties. Beginning this search online can help save you time since it can help you target homes that meet your search criteria. Our home notifier can even email you when properties come on the market that meet your search criteria.
Next, begin visiting homes in person. Ask your local real estate professional to arrange visits and attend open houses that are in your target area and price range. When comparing homes, make sure to look at all aspects of the property. Is the property tax approximately the same? Are both the houses renovated? Do they both have the same amount of bedrooms and bathrooms? Are both houses located on the same or similar streets? How is the school district? What is the resale potential?
Remember to keep an open mind when you are looking at homes.
Step 4: Making An Offer
Once you find the home you want, you need to make an offer for the house. Typically this is a very difficult and trying time since both parties have totally different goals. In most cases it is better to have a third party, such as a real estate professional, negotiate the offer. If you have any personal interaction with the homeowner, don't give out any information about your move, your current housing status, financial status or your feelings about their property - positive or negative. This could hurt you in future negotiations.
This might also be a good time to consider purchasing a home protection plan. These insurance policies can be purchased by the buyer or seller and help protect against unexpected costs or home repairs during the listing period or in the initial years after a home has been purchased.
Step 5: Inspection & Insurance
After your offer is accepted you will need to set up, coordinate and interpret various inspections, including insect, radon, building quality, oil tank, etc.
This is a major step in the buying process and there are many potential problems that can be discovered during this period. These include a leaky roof, radon gas, termite damage, a foundation problem, and wall cracks, to name a few. These problems happen all the time. The difference between closing on your dream home and starting the process all over again is what occurs during the negotiations between you and the seller, regarding problems uncovered as a result of inspections.
Your Real Estate Professional can help make these discussions go more smoothly. In most states you will also have the option of a "walk through" before the closing. This is your last chance to make sure that all of the items that you have agreed upon were completed to your satisfaction. You will also need to arrange for homeowners insurance and finalize the mortgage.
Step 6: The Final Closing
Before you arrive at the closing, make sure all the necessary paper work and deposits have been completed. If the mortgage, title work, homeowners insurance and other items necessary under local and state laws are not completed prior to closing, the closing may not happen on time. And, depending on what the contract says, this could result in further action including financial penalties and even the loss of your rights to the home.
Once you close, it's official - you own the house! But there might be a few things you want to do before you lay out the welcome mat. These include arranging for an alarm system, turning on the electricity, subscribing to the local paper, cleaning or replacing the carpet, arranging for lawn services, and making some needed renovations.
Step 7: Moving Checklist
- Contact the US Postal Service, magazine companies, and newspapers with your change of address once you know the date of closing.
- Contact local utility companies (gas, electric, telephone, cable TV); they will need personal information from you that your agent can not provide.
- Have your utility companies and/or city do a final reading of the gas, electric and water meters the day of closing.
- Contact your insurance agent to ensure you are covered and for address changes.
- Register your children for school.
- Take a photographic or video inventory of household furniture and belongings.
- Make sure you have packing supplies handy: boxes, marking pens, bubble wrap, newspaper and tissue, tape, scissors and a tape measure.
- Pack one room at a time. Label each box and indicate.
- Which room the box goes in.
- If it is Fragile
- If it should be unloaded first or not.
- Pack valuables (jewelry, legal documents, family photos and collectables) separately, move these items yourself.
- Prepare for the first night in your new home by packing items you will need accessible in a separate bag and carry it with you.
- Obtain medical and dental records, x-rays and prescription histories. Ask your current doctor and dentist for referrals and transfer prescriptions.