Sneed Company Realtors
6645 Stage Road
Memphis, TN 38134
Phone: 901.372.4667
msneed@sneedcompanies.com

 


Tips for Home Buyers

Knowledge is power, and now that you’re ready to buy your new home, this handy 10-step guide takes you through the entire home buying process. Taking a few minutes now will help you make the right decisions later.

Step 1 - What am I looking for?
The first step on your venture is to ask yourself what you want. Write down what you want, like, need and why, in order of priority. Unless you have an endless supply of cash, buying a home is often a series of compromises.

Step 2 - Choosing a Location
Let a qualified Real Estate professional who knows the ins and outs of the surrounding towns help you narrow down your choices as he or she shares with you the current market trends and neighborhood advantages.

Once you have decided on a few neighborhoods, compare what you get in one town vs. another.

Step 3 - Mortgage Qualification and Pre-Approval
Get Pre-Approved for a mortgage. Just five years ago, everyone told you to get pre-Qualified. Today, a top Real Estate professional wouldn't even look at an offer unless the potential buyer was Pre-Approved. The reason is simple. Pre-qualified means someone has told the seller that you can afford a home and then a piece of paper is written out to confirm this. Meanwhile being pre-approved means a person has an approved mortgage subject to an appraisal of the property. Another reason the industry has changed to pre-approval is the time it takes to get pre-approved. Five years ago, it could have taken you up to 45 days to get pre-approved. Today is can be done in under an hour, in many cases.

The Pre-approval process accomplishes two main objectives. It lets you know how much of a house you can afford and what your monthly payments would be. It also lets the seller know that you can afford to buy their home, providing you with leverage during the negotiating process.

Step 4 - Looking for a Home
Preview a number of houses online to get an idea of what your dollar can buy in a particular neighborhood. This will also help you save time by cutting out homes that don't meet your specifications. In order to do a true comparison, make sure you are looking at comparable homes. 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? Does either house have any encumbrances?

Once you have narrowed down your options, it's time for a look inside.

Step 5 - Touring Homes
Look at the home and keep an open mind. Look at what it could be. If it doesn't have that master bath but has the room to put one in and is priced at a level where you could put one in. Today some mortgages allow for upgrades remodeling and additions. It could become the perfect home. An experienced Real Estate Professional will have the know how to help you out in this regard.

Also, don't be as concerned about the condition or age of the appliances in the house. Many of these items can be covered with a Home Protection Plan. A Home Protection Plan is a policy that insures the major appliances and components of a home. Every policy is different. Read it carefully so that you understand what is and what is not covered and at what price. A home protection plan can be obtained by either a person selling a home or by you, the buyer. If you are worried about the possibility of paying a large bill during the first year after buying a home, a Home Protection Plan could be just the right choice.

Step 6 - Making an Offer
Get an updated market analysis. In today's Real Estate market, even one with information a few weeks old can be outdated. When doing a market analysis on the Internet, make sure the information is up to date. Also, keep in mind that the inside of the house - whether or not it is renovated etc. - could make a major difference in the price. Only your local Real Estate Professional who has been inside the homes in the area will have up to date information.

Step 7 - Negotiating the Offer
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 and seek the win - win.

If you have any 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.

You may want to review the Selling process. It may give you some additional leverage.

Step 8 - After the Offer is Accepted
After your offer is accepted you will then need to set up, coordinate and interpret various inspections: insect, radon, building quality, oil tank, title, etc. You will also need to arrange for homeowners insurance and finalize the mortgage. This is a major step in the Real Estate process. There are many potential problems with a house that can be discovered during this process like a roof leak, radon gas, insect damage, foundation problem, wall cracks etc. These problems happen all the time. The difference between closing on your dream house and starting the process all over again is the negotiations that happen between you and the seller. Since you still have different goals and since the seller has a separate agenda, you may need to have a partner or agent.

In most states you also have the option of a walk through. This is your last chance to make sure that all of the items that you have agreed upon were completed correctly and to your satisfaction. When a true win-win has been established this is an enjoyable process. Sometimes you will even find additional items were left for you - a workbench in basement or the swings in the back yard. On the other hand, if a seller feels like it wasn't a win - win you could see plants uprooted, and doorknobs changed.

Step 9 - The Close
Bringing it all together means staying on top of all of the people involved in the closing process. Making sure that they did their job, correctly, and on time. If the mortgage, title work, homeowners insurance and other items that may be necessary under local and state laws are not completed and brought to the closing table, the closing may not happen on time. Depending on what the contract says, this could result in further action. You could lose your rights to the house or/and incur financial penalties.

Step 10 - Making the House your Home
Once you have closed and before you move in you may want to do certain things. Arrange for an alarm system, turn on the electricity, subscribe to the local paper, clean or replace the carpet, arrange for lawn services etc. This could also be a good time to make some needed renovations. Where can you go for help? Your agent is a resource for life.

Please be advised that your state, county and town laws could change this process. Please contact Agent for clarification.



The Benefits of Using a Buyers Agent

A buyer's representative will:

  • Evaluate the specific needs and wants of the buyer and locate properties that fit those specifications.

  • Assist the buyer in determining the amount that they can afford (pre-qualify), and show properties in that price range and locale.

  • Assist in viewing properties -- accompany the buyer on the showings, or preview the properties on behalf of the buyer to insure that the identified specifications are met.

  • Research the selected properties to identify any problems or issues to help the buyer make an informed decision prior to making an offer to purchase the property.

  • Advise the buyer on structuring an appropriate offer to purchase the selected property.

  • Present the offer to the seller's agent and the seller on the buyer's behalf.

  • Negotiate on behalf of the buyer to help obtain the identified property -- keeping the buyer's best interests in mind.

  • Assist in securing appropriate financing for the selected property.

  • Provide a list of potential qualified vendors (e.g. movers, attorneys, carpenters, etc.) if these services are needed.

  • Most importantly, fully-represent the buyer throughout the real estate transaction

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