BUYERS RESOURCES

 

Overview of the Buying & Selling Process

Benefits of Home Ownership

Finding the Right Home

Home Shopping Tips

Home Inspections

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions


Overview of the Buying & Selling Process


Buyer

1 Considers purchasing a home
2 Selects a real estate agent
3 Determines needs and wants
4 Discusses financial issues
5 Views & researches target homes
6 Makes an offer to buy
 
Seller

1 Decides to sell property
2 Selects a real estate agent
3 Determines needs
4 Prepares home for marketing
5 Agent markets the home
6 Accepts, rejects or counters offer
 
7 Offer Accepted
 
8 Loan Application
9 Inspections
10 Title Search
11 Appraisal
12 Loan Approval
 
13 Closing Papers Signed
14 Documents Recorded
15 Funds Available To Seller
   
16 Seller Moves Out
17 Buyer Moves In



Benefits of Home Ownership


Credit:
Owning a home helps you establish financial credibility.

Independence:
Owning your own home provides you with independence and more privacy than renting. You are free to paint walls, plant flowers, keep pets and anything else within legal bounds.

Investment:
As you make more payments and own more of your home, you add to its investment value. Most improvements you make will also add to its value.

Pride:
A home reflects its owner's values and lifestyle. Owning a home can provide you with a source of pride, enjoyment and satisfaction.

Security:
A home can provide security against inflation because the value of your home increases as prices go up.

Stability:
Being established in a community provides a sense of belonging, stability and security.

Tax Advantages:
Interest on your mortgage loan is deductible on your yearly personal income tax return. Many of the closing costs associated with purchasing your home are deductible, as are your property taxes.


Finding the Right Home


Real Estate Agents
You can sit down with a real estate agent and discuss your needs, type of area, style of home, amenities and everything you really want in your next home. Real estate agents can help you by accessing a Listing Service which covers all properties listed for sale within a specific area. Together, you can select the homes you would like to see, set appointments and preview homes in a short period of time. An agent can guide you through the entire process.

Newspaper Ads/Internet
Many people go through the real estate classified section or browse the Internet to find a home that appeals to them. However, your real estate agent will have many listings available that may not appear in the newspaper or Internet on a continuous basis. New listings come on the market daily.

Multiple Listing Service
Your real estate agent should have access to the multiple listing service if it is available in your area. It usually includes the following details about homes and properties for sale:

  • Location
  • Price
  • Photograph
  • Utilities
  • Amenities
  • Annual property tax
  • Current financing (when assumable)
  • Listing company

When Previewing A Home
  • Write notes when previewing a home so you will be able to discuss the details later with your real estate agent.
  • Ask questions about the home and discuss any objections or concerns you may have.
  • Ask about the community - schools, shopping and transportation.
  • Ask specific questions about the construction of the home; electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling systems, etc.

Have Fun
Relax. Finding your new home can be a rewarding experience. Have a good time and enjoy the process.


Home Shopping Tips


Check For Properly Working Appliances/Fixtures:
  • Bathroom
    • Sinks
    • Showers/tubs
    • Toilets
    • Vent fan
    • Heating fan
  • Appliances
    • Dishwasher
    • Stove
    • Oven
    • Ice maker
    • Garbage disposal
    • Range hood
    • Refrigerator
    • Freezer
    • Microwave
    • Trash compactor
  • Kitchen
    • Kitchen cabinet doors
    • Drawers
    • Sinks
  • General
    • Lights (interior & exterior)
    • Windows
    • Heating system
    • Ceiling fans
    • Hot water system
    • Air conditioning system
    • Electrical outlets
    • Door bells
    • Doors
    • Water purifier
    • Fireplace damper
    • Garage door
Ensure House Is Well-Built & Systems Are In Working Condition:
  • Exterior
    • Brick bulging or cracking
    • Shingles missing or broken
    • Siding rotted or missing
    • Gutters damaged or need to be cleaned
    • Concrete cracked in sidewalks/driveway
  • Basement
    • Water seepage in basement
    • Cracks in foundation
    • Poor ventilation
  • Interior
    • Sub-flooring damaged or loose
    • Cracked walls or ceiling
    • Cracked tiles
    • Loose plaster
    • Flooring damaged
    • Soft, springy floors
    • Water stains near windows
    • Water stains on ceiling below bathroom
    • Water stains in attic
    • Pipe insulation missing
 

Home Inspections


What is an inspection?
There are numerous types of inspections. An inspection is meant to evaluate, at minimum, the structural and mechanical condition of a property. It is not the same as an appraisal which evaluates the market value of a property. Persons involved in real estate transactions need unbiased information about the physical condition of property they plan to buy or sell and your contract should include a contingency that you obtain a satisfactory inspection report. Talk with your agent about the types of inspections available.

Home Inspectors vs. Engineers
Home Inspector: A person who examines any component of a building, through visual means and through normal user controls, without the use of mathematical sciences.

Engineering: Analysis or design work requiring extensive preparation and experience in the use of mathematics, physics, chemistry and the engineering sciences.

Finding a qualified Inspector
  • Referrals from satisfied customers
  • Referral from a local real estate agent or mortgage company
  • Local consumer affairs office
  • Yellow Pages under "Building Inspection Services"

Ask if she/he is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). The ASHI has established standards of practice which include the specific services, limitations and exclusions that can be expected from private home inspectors.

What the inspection, at minimum, includes
Every inspection should include, but not be limited to, an evaluation of at least the following:

  • Foundations
  • Plumbing and electrical systems
  • Doors
  • Ceiling, walls and floors
  • Roof
  • Hazardous materials concerns
  • Heating and air conditioning systems
  • Common areas (in condominiums)
  • Insulation
  • Ventilation

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between "pre-qualified" and "pre-approved"?
If you are "pre-qualified" you have determined, with a loan officer, what price you can afford based on the down payment, your debts and the amount the mortgage company will approve for your mortgage. Being "pre-qualified" is only a determination of your probable credit. If you are "pre-approved", your credit, employment and funds have been approved by the lender.

What are closing costs?
Closing costs are an accumulation of charges paid to different entities associated with the buying and selling of real estate. For buyers, they are usually about 4-6% of the total sales price of a property. Some of the closing costs you might encounter are: application fees, appraisal fee, county taxes, credit report, discount points, documentation fee, escrow fees, homeowners' association fees, loan fees, mortgage insurance, origination fees, tax registration and title insurance premium.

What is a point?
One point is equal to 1% of the new loan amount. Whenever government regulation, state usury laws and/or competitive practices prohibit the lender from charging a rate of interest that would make the real estate loan competitive with other fields of investments, the lender must seek some method of increasing the yield for the investors. By charging "points", the lender can bring the real estate loan up to those other investments.

What is earnest money?
When you make an offer, you will need to put up an earnest money deposit as a sign of good faith that you are seriously interested in buying a home. That deposit becomes a part of the purchase price and is held in a trust account until there is full acceptance of the offer. Typically, an earnest money is 3-5% of the offer amount.

What is title insurance?
Title insurance protects the named insured against loss because of defects, liens, encumbrances, adverse claims or other matters not shown or disclosed to the new owner that attach before date of policy.

Is VA or FHA financing unfair to sellers?
FHA and VA loans provide purchasers the opportunity to buy homes with minimal cash investment and at lower interest rates. The result is a larger market for sellers, who also benefit by receiving all cash for their equity.




More Home Buyer's Tools

  • Search Homes Right Now: Use the search tool to browse the wide variety of single-family homes, duplexes and condominiums on the local real estate market.

  • Register for the Home Finder and let your dream home come to you. Members can also create saved searches, collect their favorites and sign up for instant email alerts when new homes that fit their criteria come on the market.

  • First-Time Buyer? Read about some things you need to be aware of, if you're new to this process.

  • Learn About the Community and homes in the surrounding area before you invest. Refer to the Featured Areas section for community information.

  • Buy Your Home with a REALTOR®: Read our buyer's guarantee and find out why working with a REALTOR® takes the guesswork out of buying a home.

  • Use the Mortgage Calculator to figure out what your mortgage payments will be on the home you want.

  • Connect to a Professional: Contact us anytime you need to know more about the area or any property that interests you. When you're ready to take the next step toward purchasing a home, we're here to help.

  • Out-of-Country Purchases: We can help you buy property here, even if you're in another country.

Please fill out the form below and one of our qualified agents will be in contact to help you get started on your home search:

Contact Information
Please provide a valid email address.
Mailing Address
Property Information
Moving Details

*Your information will never be shared with any third party.


 

SELLERS RESOURCES

 


Overview of the Buying & Selling Process

Preparing Your Home Through The Eyes Of A Buyer

Repair & Cleaning Checklist

Possible Work Orders

What To Do While Your House Is Being Shown

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions


Overview of the Buying & Selling Process

Buyer

1 Considers purchasing a home
2 Selects a real estate agent
3 Determines needs and wants
4 Discusses financial issues
5 Views & researches target homes
6 Makes an offer to buy
 
Seller

1 Decides to sell property
2 Selects a real estate agent
3 Determines needs
4 Prepares home for marketing
5 Agent markets the home
6 Accepts, rejects or counters offer
 
7 Offer Accepted
 
8 Loan Application
9 Inspections
10 Title Search
11 Appraisal
12 Loan Approval
 
13 Closing Papers Signed
14 Documents Recorded
15 Funds Available To Seller
   
16 Seller Moves Out
17 Buyer Moves In
 

Preparing your home through the eyes of a buyer


The effort put into repairing and cleaning your property is likely to be returned in a fast sale at an attractive price.

  • As buyers approach your property the first time, impressions are formed quickly.
  • Paint house - this can do more for sales appeal than any other factor.
  • Yard - Remove all toys, garbage, garden tools and other items from view.
  • Mow lawn and keep edged.
  • Close garage doors.
  • Put colorful flowers in front of house.

 

Often, while waiting to be let in, the first thing a buyer looks at closely is the front door.

  • Put new paint on the front door.
  • Buy a new door mat.
  • Buyers take a close look at the basement of a home. They will look for bad wiring, leaky pipes and signs of decay.
  • Clean out basement and dispose of everything you are not going to move.
  • Ensure that there is plenty of lighting.
  • Sweep or vacuum floor.
  • Stack items neatly against walls.

 

The kitchen is often the most important room in the house. Make it bright and attractive.

  • Put a vase of fresh flowers on the table.
  • Replace curtains or clean existing ones.
  • Remove appliances from counters.
  • Create a pleasant fragrance in the kitchen (i.e. vanilla, cinnamon).

 

It is important that bathrooms are clean, bright and smell fresh.

  • Install a new shower curtain and replace worn throw rugs.
  • Polish all fixtures.
  • Open windows.
  • Hang bright, fresh towels.
  • Remove stains from toilets and bathtubs.
  • Use air freshener.
  • Display colorful soaps.

 

The living room

  • Clean out the fireplace and place logs in it.
  • Polish all woodwork.
  • Put big furniture in storage so rooms are not cluttered or crowded.

 


Repair & Cleaning Checklist


  • Front Door:
    • Newly painted
    • Doorbell operating
    • Door brass polished
    • Hinges oiled
  • Exterior of House:
    • House recently painted
    • Gutters recently cleaned
    • Exterior lights operating
    • Missing shingles replaced
    • Moss removed from roof
  • Windows:
    • Window trims painted
    • Windows operating freely
    • Cracked windowpanes replaced
    • Windows washed
  • Driveway:
    • Resurfaced
    • Potholes patched
    • Recently sealed
  • Patios:
    • Wood stained or painted
    • Fencing secure
  • Lawn:
    • Lawn in good condition
    • Grass mowed
    • Edges trimmed
  • Trees/Shrubs:
    • Dead branches pruned
    • Dead shrubs replaced
    • Overgrown shrubs pruned
  • Entry:
    • Entry lights operating
    • Floors cleaned
    • Closet cleaned
    • Closet light operating
  • Living Room:
    • Recently painted
    • Cracks in ceiling/walls repaired
    • Leaks repaired & watermarks covered
    • Wallpaper secured
    • Woodwork repainted
    • Curtains/drapes/blinds cleaned
    • Drapes/blinds opened
    • Carpets cleaned
    • Furniture positioned to show space
  • Kitchen:
    • Sink free of stains
    • No dripping faucets
    • Appliances in good working order
    • Walls, cabinets free of stains
    • Countertops cleared and cleaned
    • Pantry neatly arranged
    • Pantry hardware replaced
    • Refrigerator defrosted

  • Family Room:
    • Cracks in ceiling/walls repaired
    • Leaks repaired & watermarks covered
    • Wallpaper secured
    • Woodwork repainted
    • Windows washed
    • Curtains/drapes/blinds cleaned
    • Windows operating freely
    • Drapes/blinds opened
    • Carpets cleaned
    • Hobby supplies put away
  • Bedrooms:
    • Cracks in ceiling/walls repaired
    • Leaks repaired & watermarks covered
    • Wallpaper secured
    • Woodwork repaired
    • Windows washed
    • Curtains/drapes/blinds cleaned
    • Floor waxed/refinished
    • Carpets cleaned
    • Beds made
    • Laundry put away
    • Floor free from clutter
  • Basement:
    • Cracks in ceiling/walls repaired
    • No evidence of water penetration
    • Dampness removed
    • Cold water pipes covered
    • Dehumidifier installed
    • Sump pump installed
    • No musty odors
    • Drains cleared
    • Furnace cleaned
    • Storage neatly arranged
    • Excess storage removed
    • Floor swept
    • Light fixtures operating
    • Handrail secure
    • Stairway runner secure
  • Dining Room:
    • Cracks in ceiling/walls repaired
    • Leaks repaired & watermarks covered
    • Wallpaper secured
    • Woodwork repaired
    • Windows washed
    • Drapes/blinds open to view
    • Floor waxed/refinished
    • Carpets cleaned
  • Bathrooms:
    • Sink stains removed
    • Leaky faucets repaired
    • Grouting stains removed
    • All joints caulked
    • Missing tiles replaced
    • All fixtures operating
    • Floors cleaned
    • New shower curtain
    • All supplies stored
    • Guest towels

 


Possible Work Orders


The following is a list of some possible work orders. The work orders must be completed prior to closing and the seller is responsible for having them done. Check with your local authorities for specific requirements.

The following conditions may require a work order:

  • Broken windows.
  • Debris in crawl space.
  • Dry rot or deteriorated wood.
  • Earth-wood contact.
  • Overgrown shrubbery.
  • Electrical not in working condition.
  • Gutters and downspouts blocked or missing.
  • A hot water tank without a 3/4" discharge line.
  • Inadequate foundation ventilation.
  • Inadequate attic ventilation.
  • Less than four feet of waterproof material around tub enclosures (tile, formica, etc.).
  • Less than 18" clearance between soil and floor joists under entire house.
  • Peeling or missing paint.
  • Plumbing not in working condition.
  • Single oil or gas space heaters to heat entire house.
  • Water damage inside home.

 

You might have to:

  • Paint the exterior and interior if in bad condition.
  • Hook up to public water or sewer if available.
  • Get county certification if home is on septic or well.
  • Remove unused oil tanks or fill with cement-slurry or polyurethane foam.

 

Other items to remember:

  • Inspectors will need access to the attic.
  • Leased equipment cannot be included in the sale (i.e. hot water tank, alarm system, etc.).
  • All assessments must be paid.
  • Joint maintenance agreements will be required for common road easements for maintenance on home where property line is within 3 of structure.

 

* Check with local authorities for specific requirements.



What To Do While Your House Is Being Shown


Before Your House Is Shown

  • Tag or remove items not included in sale (i.e. water conditioner, chandeliers, plants, drapes).
  • Open shades and curtains to let in light.
  • Turn on enough lights so home is well-lit during showing.
  • At night, turn on porch light and outdoor lighting.
  • Tidy all the rooms. Neatness makes a room easier to view.
  • Clean dirty dishes in the sink and put away any dishes on counter.
  • Keep toys in the children's rooms.
  • Put away items in the yard such as bicycles, gardening tools and skateboards.
  • If fall or winter, light a fire in the fireplace.

 

While Your House Is Being Shown

  • When possible, leave while the property is shown. If not, remain in an area not being shown by the sales associate.
  • Let the real estate expert show your house. Answer questions candidly when asked, but avoid questioning potential buyers.
  • Refer inquiries about seeing your house to your Realtor to take advantage of the agent's professional skills in selling your home.
  • Don't mention items you wish to dispose of unless asked.
  • It is best to be away when your agent is holding an open house.
  • Keep pets outdoors or in one area.
  • Keep children quiet and in one area.
  • Keep radio, stereo or TV on low volume.
  • Keep money and other valuable items out of sight.

 


Answers to Fequently Asked Questions


What is title insurance?
Title insurance protects the named insured against loss because of defects, liens, encumbrances, adverse claims or other matters not shown or disclosed to the new owner that attach before date of policy.

What is a wood-destroying organism inspection report?
A wood-destroying organism inspection report is a written opinion by a qualified state licensed structural pest control inspector based upon what was visible and evident at the time of inspection. The inspection report does not in any way represent or guarantee the structure to be free from wood-destroying organisms or their damage, nor does it represent or guarantee that the total damage or infestation is limited to that disclosed in the report. Wood-destroying organisms include subterranean termites, dampwood termites, carpenter ants, wood boring beetles and wood decay fungus.

What are the hazards of lead-based paint?
All buyers and sellers are required by law to receive and read a pamphlet outlining the hazards of lead-based paint for homes built before 1978. Be sure to ask your real estate agent for a copy.

What are closing costs?
Closing costs are an accumulation of charges paid to different entities associated with the buying and selling of real estate. For sellers, they are usually about 9.5-10% of the total sales price of a property. Some of the closing costs you might encounter are: discount points, escrow fee, documentation fee, homeowners association fees, pest/rot inspection, real estate commission and title insurance premium.

What is the difference between "pre-qualified" and "pre-approved"?
If a buyer is "pre-qualified" it has been determined, with a loan officer, what price the buyer can afford based on the down payment, debts and the amount the mortgage company will approve for the mortgage. Being "pre-qualified" is only a determination of probable credit. If "pre-approved", credit, employment and funds have been approved by the lender.

What should a home inspection include?
Every inspection should include, but not be limited to, an evaluation of the following:

1. Foundations
2. Roof
3. Heating and air conditioning systems
4. Ventilation
5. Common areas (for condominiums)
6. Septic tanks, wells or sewer lines*
7. Insulation
8. Plumbing and electrical systems
9. Ceiling, walls and floors
10. Doors
11. Hazardous materials concerns*

 

* There may be an additional fee for this.

What property details are usually included by Listing Services?
Usually, properties listed will include the following details:

  • Location
  • Photograph
  • Price
  • Utilities
  • Amenities
  • Annual property tax
  • Current financing (when assumable)
  • Listing company

 

What pages are generally included in the Purchase and Sales Agreement?

  • Agency Disclosure
  • Financing Addendum/Clause
  • Earnest Money Receipt
  • Inspection/Clause
  • Conditions/Disclosures Addendum
  • Contingency
  • Addendum Outlining Special Conditions
  • Lead-Base Paint Notification
  • Property Disclosure Form (completed by Sellers)

 

What is the difference between a REALTOR® & Real Estate Agent?
REALTOR® identifies real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics. Not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®. A REALTOR® may be an appraiser, property manager or involved in some other aspect of the real estate business.





More Home Sellers Resources

  • Ask for a Free Home Evaluation: A well-priced home will generate competing offers and drive up the final sale value. Our free market analysis takes into account the most actively searched prices and home values in the area and provides you with a detailed evaluation that puts it all in perspective.

  • Sell Your Home with a Professional: Our tried and true marketing plan will take the guesswork out of selling your home.

  • See What's on The Market: Use the search tools on this site to get an idea of the competition.

  • Connect to a Professional: Contact us anytime you need to know what's really going on in this market. When you're ready to take the next step toward selling your home, we're here to help. We'll make sure your listing gets the best exposure and reaches the right buyer—whether they're out of state, in another country, or right around the corner.

Fill out the form below for your free home evaluation:

Contact Information
Please provide a valid email address.
Mailing Address
Property Information
Additional Information
Please list the additional amenities of your house.

*Your information will never be shared with any third party.

site-signup-cta