Buyers Roadmap


 

Deciding to Buy

Before deciding to purchase property, always consider your motives, financial situation and the current market. Then, consult a real estate professional who specializes in the type of property you are considering.

Why Do You Want To Buy? 
This is where motive and need come in. In-depth evaluation of these things can determine not only your decision, but also your financial and emotional future and the future of your family.

Has Your Income Grown?

If your answer is “Yes,” then purchasing real estate might be the right thing for you. Income, tax and business incentives are just a few of the reasons to consider investing your newly-acquired income in real estate.

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Preparation

Once you have decided to purchase real estate, conscientious preparation is a key to success in the venture.

Build Your Green File.
Your green, or financial history and status, file will determine and expedite your financing options. It should contain:

  • Financial, credit card and loan statements and records
  • Bank accounts
  • Investment portfolio
  • Pay stubs
  • Tax returns for the last 2 years
  • Records of investment properties and related leases
  • 401K statements and life insurance policies

Check Your Credit Rating. 
Your FICA score and credit record will be a major factor in determining your purchase options. Contact your preferred lending institution, or one recommended by a carefully selected real estate professional for the task of checking with the 3 major credit reporting agencies.

Be Careful With Your Finances. 
Financial stability is another major key to success in the process of purchasing property. Large purchases, career changes, lavish vacations and other blips on your financial radar should be avoided

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Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Purchasing real estate – whether it is a modest condominium or major estate — requires not only appropriate finances, but also a significant amount of time, numerous important decisions requiring the knowledge and understanding of complex issues, and a mountain of paperwork. That is why it is imperative to have a competent representation by a real estate professional such as Sofie Langhorne. She has the experience, expertise and local market knowledge to assist you in all phases of the process.

Here are some sound reasons why Sofie Langhorne is a good choice for you

  • Full-time agent, likely with experience completing transactions similar to yours.
  • Knowledgeable about all aspects of the area
  • Available to her clients 24/7
  • Maintains her credentials and knowledge through ongoing training and seminars
  • Prompt response to client calls and emails
  • Impeccable references and testimonials
  • Compassionate, empathetic and attentive to her clients’ needs, goals and objectives

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Time to go Shopping

Once you have considered your motives, established your financial status and chosen a Realtor®, it is time to find the perfect property.

Take a Drive.
. . . or several of them. In fact, once you have narrowed your choices of community and neighborhoods, you might want to enjoy a walkabout. Try to be “in the moment” as much as possible to truly get a feel for what it might be like to live there. Perhaps you want to visit local churches, schools and retail establishments, or even talk with neighbors.

Narrow Your Search.
With the assistance of your Realtor®, choose the most interesting properties in the area and have your agent make appointments for you to view them.

Time to Buy. 
You have chosen the ideal property out of all those available. Make sure your agent researches the likely costs associated with the property, including permits for renovation, immediate and potential long-term repair, taxes, homeowner dues and so on. You and your agent will then draft a good offer and your agent will present it to the seller.

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The Process, Step-by-Step

The Initial Agreement and Deposit. There are considerations and procedures that will expedite the process. They include:

  • Written records. All verbal agreements should be put in writing and signed by both parties. Your agent will assist you.
  • Timeline. Every step of the process will have a deadline. Meeting those dates assure continuity and avoid any breach of the agreement. Your agent will be there to assure that you and the seller meet all requirements

The Closing Agent. The closing agent — typically either a title company or an attorney — holds the deposit in escrow and researches the property’s recorded history to ensure that the title is clear of encumbrances by the closing date, and that any new encumbrances are attached to the title. For example, a property is sometimes subject to restrictions related to building or parking, and recorded easements and encroachments might limit property use rights.

How to Hold Title. An attorney or tax advisor can counsel you on the best way to hold title, considering legal, estate and tax implications, including those related to selling the property or death of the title holder.
Inspections. One of the first and most important steps you will need to take once your offer is accepted by the seller is the inspection by a licensed property inspector. This process must be completed within the timeframe set forth in the agreement. If you or your agent have specific concerns, you may elect to have specialized inspections done. Commercial property requires an environmental audit as well,

The outcome of the inspections dictates:

  1. Removal of the contingencies, or . . .
  2. Renegotiation of the contract terms

Appraisal and Lending. Keeping in close contact with the lender is one of the most important things you and your real estate agent can do. The lender will advise you regarding needed documents, and will coordinate a visit by an approved licensed appraiser in order to verify the value of the property. Approximately 2 weeks before scheduled closing, check with the lender to make sure the loan will go through on time.

Association Approval. 
If the purchase of your chosen property is conditional upon association approval, request that entity’s rules, regulations and any other pertinent information immediately upon signing the purchase agreement. Application documents and processing fees must be submitted to the association by the specified date, and any required meeting with association representatives should be scheduled as soon as possible. A certificate of approval might be required and the closing agent will request an original copy of the document so that it can be properly recorded.

Property Insurance. If you are obtaining a loan to purchase the property, the lender will require that you obtain property insurance. Consider these money saving tips:

  • Consider a higher deductible. A significant decrease in your premium can be attained by increasing your deductible by a few hundred dollars.
  • Ask your insurance agent about discounts. Lower premiums are sometimes offered if the property has certain safety features. Smoke detectors and security alarms, fire-retardant building materials and storm-proofing are a few examples. Seniors and long-term customers might also be offered discounts.
  • Insure your house, NOT the land under it. If disaster strikes, chances are the land will still be there. Subtracting land value can often save you quite a bit on premiums.

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Moving In

Closing Day
Congratulations are almost in order. You just need to tie up a few loose ends.

Final Walk-Through Inspection.
The day before, or day of the closing, you and your agent walk through the property to verify that everything is in order.

Home Services and Utilities.
Just before the closing, your agent will provide you with a list of useful numbers for the activation of home services and utilities.

Be Prepared.
Sofie and her Langhorne Group of professionals are ready to assist you with any unforeseen problems or needs. Sometimes those things challenge even the best preparations, but they should not be considered insurmountable or cause undue stress.

Closing.

All parties involved in the transaction will be furnished with a settlement statement summarizing the details and financial transactions. You, the seller(s) and the closing agent will certify the accuracy of the statement and sign it. You will also be required to sign all documentation required by the lending institution, and to present funds in the form of a wire transfer or certified check. Alternate arrangements can be made if you are unable to attend the closing. Property keys and any relevant information will be supplied by the seller.

If you have questions or concerns, or need clarification on any of the points outlined here, contact Sofie Langhorne today at 805.689.5759 or Sofie@TheLanghorneGroup.com.

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