Home Buying Made Easy

Home Buying Made Easy

Becoming a homeowner is an achievement everyone would like to attain and we will do everything we can to make this dream becomes a reality. See for yourself as you go step by step through this easy and useful homebuyer’s information page.

1. Before you start looking for a home

Before you begin the home buying process, it is essential to know how much you can pay for a home. Your lender can make this easy for you, by pre-qualifying you before you and your real estate agent begin looking for a home. A prequalification is free and can usually be done in just one visit, or even in one phone call. By getting pre-qualified, you will know what price home you can afford and what your monthly payments will be. The best part of this step is that we put everything in writing.

2. Selecting a Real Estate Professional

Once you have been pre-qualified, it is time to find a real estate professional to help you find the home of your dreams. A real estate professional is an expert who knows exactly which homes are for sale and which ones can meet your requirements and desires. Show your agent your pre-qualification certificate – with it, your agent will be able to pre-select homes that are in your price range. Additionally, your agent can provide you with information about different neighborhoods where you might want to live, as well as suggestions that you may not have considered. Your agent can also give you practical advice about what you should look for in a home. And when it is time to make an offer on the home you wish to purchase, your agent will be there to help.

How to select a real estate professional
A real estate professional plays a very important role in the home buying process and should be selected with care. Before selecting your agent, ask for recommendations from family and friends and interview several agents, to have a better idea of what each one is like and what each offers you. The relationship between a real estate professional and a buyer should be one of mutual respect, similar objectives, and, frequently, a written agreement which specifies the terms and conditions of the agent’s representation of the buyer.

The ideal real estate professional…
I. Understands your needs and objectives.
II. Is professional and dedicated to doing a good job.
III. Knows the area where you want to live.
IV. Knows how much you can spend on a home.
V. Has a valid real estate license or certificate.
VI. Has excellent references from other clients.
VII. Treats you with the respect that you deserve.

3. Making the Search Easy

Location, location, location
To reduce the number of homes that you visit, you should begin by deciding what factors are important to you, such as the approximate cost of the home and the location, and then you can begin to determine more specific details, such as the neighborhood, the characteristics of the home, and the type of dwelling (i.e., condominium, town home, or traditional single-family home). The location is the factor that most affects the value of the home. The majority of homebuyers are prepared to sacrifice certain characteristics and preferences of their home, in order to be able to purchase a home in the area or neighborhood that they most prefer. This is a very important insight, because you can almost always make some adjustments or do some remodeling, such as adding on another room or putting in a pool in the backyard, to have everything you desire in your home. But once you have moved into your home, it does not matter how many improvements you make, you will not be able to move this home from the city to the suburbs, or from the west side to the east side of the city!

What should I look for in my neighborhood?
Here is a list of the top seven questions potential buyers ask about a neighborhood:
1) Does it have good schools?
2) Is it a nice neighborhood?
3) Is it in a good shopping district?
4) Is it near my/my spouse’s office/work location?
5) Is it near my/my spouse’s family and friends?
6) Does it have a low crime index/how safe is it?
7) Is it close to parks and recreation areas?

What should I look for in a home?
Before you begin searching for a home, it is important that you decide what characteristics you want in your home. Use the handy Evaluation Chart provided on page 20 to note down the desired characteristics of your dream home, and use it to evaluate how the different homes you look at meet your desires. Make several copies of the chart and carry them with you as you search for the ideal home, keeping in mind which characteristics you consider essential in the home you purchase. If you fill in the information as you look at homes, you will be able to remember the pluses and minuses of the different homes you see, and can evaluate the homes fairly, using the same criteria regardless of when you see them.

Suggestions for evaluating the homes you see
Once you have decided which characteristics you want your dream home to have, and in which neighborhoods you are interested in living, you should begin to view homes for sale with your real estate agent. During this period, it is important that you make a thorough evaluation of the properties that you visit. Get accustomed to viewing properties with a critical eye. Inspect each home thoroughly, making sure you look at and evaluate each area that you consider important in your home. Feel free to take pictures or video so that you can remember what you liked or disliked in each home.

4. Making a Thorough Inspection Prior to Making a Final Decision

When you finally find the home of your dreams, it is very important that you inspect it “from top to bottom,” to make sure you do not fall in love too quickly. Sellers sometimes cover major flaws with paint or wallpaper, so that people who do not do thorough inspections will not notice the damage. These flaws frequently cost a great amount to repair once you have bought the home, so you should do your best to inspect the home very carefully prior to purchasing it. Before making an offer on a home, you should get to know the neighborhood. Visit the area during different times of day and night. Meet your potential neighbors and ask them about the neighborhood. Reconsider the amount you are willing to offer to purchase the home, so that you are really sure that it is worth the price.

Check the pipes and plumbing
Flush the toilets, turn on all the lights, open all the windows. Ask about the condition of the electrical system, the plumbing, the heating and air conditioning, and any other important features such as the pool, the irrigation system, etc. Analyze the physical characteristics of the homes you visit Thoroughly inspect the physical condition of the home, looking for any repairs that need to be made, as well as whether the house is new, several years old, or fairly old. It is also important to feel confident that there are enough bedrooms and extra space to meet your needs. Make sure that you really like the design of the home as well.

5. It’s Time To Make an Offer

When you are ready to make an offer, your real estate agent should prepare a Purchase Contract, which is the document that you will present to the seller, and where you offer a price and any conditions you have for the purchase. Before presenting this document, check to see that your contract includes a clause that stipulates that the purchase depends on a satisfactory professional inspection. Ask your real estate agent to recommend a professional inspector with many years of experience. The inspector should give you a written evaluation of the home and make any repair recommendations that are necessary. If you have any doubts about the inspection, ask for a second one. Once your offer has been accepted, you will need to provide earnest money (or a good faith deposit). This is a cash deposit (several hundred dollars to several thousand depending on the value of the home and the market) towards the down payment that shows your commitment to buying the home. Ask your real estate agent how much money is needed for a deposit, and use your pre-qualification certificate to back up your offer to the seller.

How do I determine the real value of the home?
Before you make an offer, you need to determine how much the home is really worth. Your real estate agent can help you by providing information about other homes in the neighborhood that have recently sold. This way, you can compare the selling prices of the different homes to feel confident that you are offering a fair and sufficient amount. There are also a number of other services available on the Internet that can provide estimated property values and recent sales within the general area.

Please visit the Loan Application Information page in the Buyer Tips section for information regarding loans and what to look for when applying for a loan.

6. The Closing/Settlement

The closing (or settlement) is the meeting at which you sign all the paperwork and make the payments needed to become an official homeowner. The title company, which issues the title insurance, usually provides a forum for the exchange of documents and the releasing of funds during the closing. In several Western states, the closing is known as an “escrow closing,” and the title or escrow company acts as a third party for the benefit of the buyer and the seller.

Prior to the closing meeting, your title company, escrow company or attorney will review with you a copy of the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. This document will provide the final total for your closing costs. It establishes the total funds you must bring to closing. Once the loan is approved, we will call you to come in and sign the closing documents, as well as the final documentation required to make you a homeowner.

There are many documents that need to be signed prior to receiving the keys to your home. For this reason, a closing typically takes one or two hours. The three most important documents you will sign are the note, the mortgage (deed of trust), and the deed. The mortgage (promissory) note represents your promise to pay the lender according to the agreed terms, including the dates on which your home loan payments must be made and the location to which payment must be sent.

The mortgage, also known as a deed of trust or a security instrument, is a contract that makes your home the security on the loan or guarantees its repayment. And the deed is the document that transfers the ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer. You will also need to obtain a certified or cashier's check to pay the closing costs. Once these documents are signed and the closing costs are paid, you are a homeowner! Go ahead and call the movers! Moving in to your own home is an unforgettable experience. Perhaps you will soon be enjoying your own home together with your family and friends. We know that the

American dream is not just a dream!

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For more information on how you can save money on your next transaction, download our free report called "Eight Insider Tips That Save Buyers Thousands!" This report is offered to all guests.

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Contact Information

Lakeshore Realty
954 Lakeshore Blvd.
Incline Village NV 89451
Fax: 775-831-6777


Lake Tahoe's Incline Village Real Estate Market Experts & Home Sales Professionals

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