Monday, September 28, 2015

Steps to Buying a Home Successfully

As you start on your exciting journey of buying a home, you will most likely have to deal with one or two unforeseen factors.

In a previous article, we talked about how to find an excellent real estate agent and why you should consider using a team versus just a single agent.

Even if you are the seller paying the real estate commissions, it won’t cost you a cent more to have 3 to 5 people, like The Mark Gunning Team, watching out for your interests versus one single agent.

With that being said, here is a simple step by step road map to help you plan ahead for when you are ready to buy your home.

Step 1 & 2. Getting loan pre-approval and determining how much home you can afford.

I have lumped steps 1 & 2 together because they are all about determining how much home you can afford and getting preapproved for your mortgage through a lender.

Most good agents can recommend a good mortgage broker/banker that will help you get preapproved and ready to go out and look for that new home.

Typically you can find a better deal through a mortgage broker versus a standard bank because they have access to a pool of lenders who will vie against each other to be able to do your loan, but this is totally up to you.

Step 3. Start your home buying research early.

It is pretty easy to find homes for sale on the internet these days. There are many different websites you can visit.

In the early stages of your online research, you might want to focus on learning more about neighborhoods, schools, shopping and subdivisions and not worry about the exact homes that are for sale.

Make note of the average home selling prices and after a while you’ll be able to whittle down your search to a few areas that you like and can afford to live in.

Note: When you are ready to go out and look for homes that are for sale, the best results online will be from an agent’s website that is providing live MLS searches.

Typically out here in the Phoenix area, you have to give up your name and email address after the 2nd search if you want to keep the live access.

You will find that having full access to the Phoenix MLS will allow you to search to your heart’s content and also save your favorite searches, & even set up alerts for new homes that just went onto the market.

Hopefully by this time you have also begun researching agents and are narrowing that down to 2 or 3 that you can interview on the phone before making a final decision.

Step 4. Go out find a home and make an offer.

Now the fun begins.

Search hard every morning and go out and look at homes in the afternoon with your real estate agent!

Or whatever your schedule allows…

You can set up email alerts for new homes going on the market in your desired area and in your price range. This works well if you are in a crazy, seller’s market and homes are gobbled up quickly by other buyers.

When you find a home you want to make an offer on, walk through it thoroughly checking faucets and plumbing. Check light switches, etc.

It is advisable to take a lot of pictures too. Not only is it fun for you to share the photos with friends and family, you now have a permanent record of what is in the house just in case something is “changed out.”

Take as much time as you need to find the right home.

Then work with your real estate agent to negotiate a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes in the same neighborhood.

Once you and the seller have reached agreement on a price, the house will go into escrow, which is the period of time it takes to complete all of the remaining steps in the home buying process.

Step 5. Get a home inspection!

Typically after your offer is accepted you have a 10 day inspection period which allows you to bring in your home inspector and make sure there isn’t any structural or hidden major damage that will bring costly repairs in the future.

You will send the final inspection report to the seller and then decide if you want any repairs done by the seller.

This is also the time when you make your final decision whether to close on the home or walk away and continue your search.

FYI: Typically at the expiration of your 10 day inspection period your earnest money become non-refundable but this is all negotiable between you and the seller.

Step 6. Time to select your loan and have the home appraised.

Lenders have a wide variety of loans available and most likely you will already know what type of loan will work best for you by this point in time.

As soon as you give the word, your lender will order the appraisal of the home.

Step 7. Finalize all of the paperwork.

As the buyer, you get to choose the title company. They will handle all of the paperwork.

Now is the time when having an entire real estate team can really help get the deal closed, as with all of the moving parts it is easy to forget something.

Step 8. Close the sale and move in!

You will meet at the title company to sign all of the paperwork & finalize the sale.

At this time you will bring down your cashier’s check for your down payment.

Once the check is delivered to the seller, the home closes, & you can move in your new home.

Congratulations you are now a home owner!

The post Steps to Buying a Home Successfully appeared first on The Mark Gunning Team West USA Realty.


from The Mark Gunning Team West USA Realty

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

[Blog] How to Find an Excellent Real Estate Agent

from Twitter

September 23, 2015 at 09:00AM

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How to Find an Excellent Real Estate Agent

So, you have decided to purchase a new home. 

You also have your loan approval and down payment money ready. 

What’s next?

All that is left is to locate an excellent real estate agent that will help you find your dream home. 

Here is a handy step by step guide to make sure you can find the best agent to suit your needs.

#1 Do your homework! 

Choose a few areas or neighborhoods that you would like to research and potentially live in.  Also, if you have children, look into the schools in these areas to find out what they offer.  Check out the area grocery stores, shopping malls and other locations you frequent to see if they are convenient to where you could be living.  Don’t forget your route to work, does your potential neighborhood offer easy access and minimal traffic to the office?

Once you have a good idea of the areas you want to look in, keep this in mind:

The best agents typically are the ones who specialize in a certain area or neighborhood as they will know the ins and outs of living there.

However, how do you find a good agent who might specialize in the areas you want to look at houses?

#2 Ask for agent referrals from family and friends. 

Ask yourself, “Who do I know that has recently purchased a home?”

Put together a short list of agents recommended by people close to you that have used an agent with good results.  You can also approach friends who are agents but make sure they are good at what they do as a bad deal gone south can kill a good friendship quickly. 

If you don’t have any people close by that can give you a referral, ask your Facebook friends and do a few searches online. Reach out to your Twitter and Instagram friends as well.  If you still haven’t found any likely suspects, then start searching on Google.   Try searches like; “Name of subdivision or area” + “real estate agent.”

Hopefully after all of this, you have a short list of 4 or 5 agents that you can check out in the next steps.

#3 Research your short list of agents online.

Look for reviews on sites like Google+ and Yelp.

What are people saying about them?

Previous people’s experiences will tell you a lot about the agent.  Read through all of their reviews.

This should give you a good idea their client approach and what kind of service they offer.  However, remember one bad review doesn’t necessarily mean that the agent is not good. Nobody can please all the people all the time…

Next, look for blog articles on their website.

Do any of these agents write articles to help people with their real estate searches? This can also show their expertise in the real estate field.

Some of the best agents out there will write a weekly blog article because they want to educate people as much as possible about buying and selling a home.

Then, check out their social media.

Do they have a professional Facebook business page?  Do they regularly engage with their audience or is their last post from 2012?

How about Twitter? Are they active? Do they send out valuable content to help people?

You can learn a lot about prospective agents just by taking a few minutes by checking them out online.  If they don’t have many people engaging and talking about them, it might be hard for you to determine how good they are.

#4 Set up a quick phone interview.

Before you meet with any agents in person, choose 2 or 3 and call them up.  Be direct and ask them why you should hire them to represent your interests.  Ask them about how knowledgeable they are on areas you want to look for houses in.  Do they have any input on the schools or shopping malls?

You are looking for a professional whose first interest should be to help you and your family locate the best home, in the best area, for the best price.

Something else to keep in mind, as you are weeding through your list of agents.  Do they work alone or are they part of a team?  

As a home buyer, you do not have to pay a buyer’s agent a commission to represent you, the seller of the home pays both commissions to the buying and selling agents.

With that in mind, does it not make sense that an experienced real estate team made up of 3 to 5 agents will do a better and more thorough job representing you, versus just a solo agent?

The Mark Gunning Team is such a team and would love the opportunity to work for you. 

Please be sure to include us in your short list to interview!

The post How to Find an Excellent Real Estate Agent appeared first on The Mark Gunning Team West USA Realty.


from The Mark Gunning Team West USA Realty

Friday, September 18, 2015

Why Do You Have To Buy Title Insurance When You Buy a Home?

Title insurance is there so if anything is wrong with the title to that new home you just purchased, like a tax lien, relatives or spouses of ex-owners claiming ownership, errors in property line surveys or even right of ways and easements, you will be compensated if you are damaged due to situations like these.

Title insurance is predominately found in the USA and is meant to protect a property owner from property title defects.

It also protects your lender who owns the mortgage on your home.

The Need for Title Insurance

Interestingly enough, even though the title has been researched and is most likely not going to contain any errors, you have to pay the full premium when you buy your home.

Even if you bought a home and sold it one day later, the new buyer would have to pay the full title insurance premium all over again. It is the nature of the beast.

There are two types of title insurance policies; a loan policy and a buyer policy. 

Believe it or not, in most states a buyer’s policy is optional.

Most likely if you have a mortgage on your home and a title defect does arise, your lender and the title insurer will take care of the problem, so please don’t panic if you look and find out that you don’t have a buyer’s policy, as in many states a buyer’s policy is optional.

With buyer’s policies there are two types generally, basic and premium.

What’s the difference? Basic typically covers the full purchase price of your home. I do believe most policies start out insuring a property with a value of up to $500,000.

A premium policy will increase as your home appreciates in value. An example would be, you bought a home for $498,000. You find out a few years later that your home is now worth $600,000.

Your basic policy would cover you up to $500,000. A premium policy would cover you up to the $600k.

Title Insurance Explained Visually

While most people don’t even know why they have to buy a lender’s title policy, did you know that most of the money spent on a title policy, goes as a commission to the title company?

Always find out the title policy rules, laws and guidelines for your city and state before you purchase that home.