Decide what you can afford. Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income.
Develop your home wish list. Then, prioritize the features on your list.
Select where you want to live. Compile a list of three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in, taking into account items such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety.
Start saving. Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs. Closing costs — including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees — average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.
Get your credit in order. Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and to correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.
Determine your mortgage qualifications. How large of mortgage do you qualify for? Also, explore different loan options — such as 30-year or 15-year fixed mortgages or ARMs — and decide what’s best for you.
Get preapproved. Organize all the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan. You might need W-2 forms, copies of at least one pay stub, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements.
Weigh other sources of help with a down payment. Do you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance programs? Check with your state and local government on down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers. Or, if you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your fist home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.
Calculate the costs of homeownership. This should include property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities, and association fees, if applicable.
Contact a REALTOR®. Find an experienced REALTOR® who can help guide you through the process.
Not all real estate practitioners are REALTORS®. The term REALTOR® is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Here’s why it pays to work with a REALTOR®.
Navigate a complicated process. Buying or selling a home usually requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds, and multi-page settlement statements. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes.
Information and opinions. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They’ll also be able to provide objective information about each property. A professional will be able to help you answer these two important questions: Will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?
Help finding the best property out there. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your REALTOR® to find all available properties.
Negotiating skills. There are many negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession, and inclusion or exclusion of repairs, furnishings, or equipment. In addition, the purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.
Property marketing power. Real estate doesn’t sell due to advertising alone. In fact, a large share of real estate sales comes as the result of a practitioner’s contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, and family. When a property is marketed with the help of a REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.
Someone who speaks the language. If you don’t know a CMA from a PUD, you can understand why it’s important to work with a professional who is immersed in the industry and knows the real estate language.
Experience. Most people buy and sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. Even if you have done it before, laws and regulations change. REALTORS®, on the other hand, handle hundreds of real estate transactions over the course of their career. Having an expert on your side is critical.
Objective voice. A home often symbolizes family, rest, and security — it’s not just four walls and a roof. Because of this, home buying and selling can be an emotional undertaking. And for most people, a home is the biggest purchase they’ll every make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on both the emotional and financial issues most important to you.
Using an agent can net you 13% more studies have shown: FSBO $208K versus agent assisted $235K.
How do buyers look for a house: 88% search on-line, 21% newspaper ads.
How do buyers find the house they buy: 43% on-line, 9% yard sign, 1% newspaper.
Here are the people that you’ll have to negotiate with to sell your house: the buyer, the buyer’s agent, the buyer’s lender, the inspection company, the appraiser, the title company, plus possibly others.
Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit down with a real estate professional to see what they have to offer you.
These terms are handy to know terms when you are involved in either buying or selling real estate:
Disclosure Statements These are most often prepared by the person selling a property. They can include a property condition disclosure, a lead based paint disclosure (for properties built prior to 1978), and a septic disclosure to name a few. You should ask for copies prior to preparing a written offer.
Good Faith Estimate A lender is required to provide a borrower this document at loan application. It provides the borrower a breakdown of their loan costs, closing costs and downpayment required. It also gives an estimate of the total monthly payment. The numbers from the Good Faith Estimate and the closing statement should align fairly close, if not you should ask questions.
MIP This stands for Mortgage Insurance Premium. If your obtaining a mortgage with a loan to value greater than 80%, then the lender will require mortgage insurance in most cases. The premium is usually paid as part of your monthly house payment. For some loan programs a portion of the premium is collected when the loan is funded.
Lien This is a claim by someone or a company on a property, usually for money owed. In Tennesse a Deed of Trust is filed with the Register of Deeds in the county where the property is located. This document reflects the terms of the loan, and is a matter of public record.
Buyer’s Market This is a a term used when the market is in the buyer’s favor. The buyer usually has the advantage when it comes to negotiations. A buyer’s market occurs when there are more homes for sale than there are buyers to purchase them, thus forcing sellers to me more aggressive with pricing. Usually homes take in excess of six months to sell in this type of market.
Seller’s Market This term is used when there are not enough homes available for the number of buyers looking to purchase. This environment gives the seller the advantage when it comes to negotiations. In this type of market you will see home prices on the rise as many properties will receive multiple offers. In this kind of market, homes that are priced right and in good condition may only be on the market for a few weeks.
The REALTORS®’ Code of Ethics was established in 1913 by the National Association of REALTORS®. It’s a set of rules that were established to raise the standards of professionalism and service in the real estate industry. The rules are divided into three areas: 1) a broker’s duties to his clients, 2) a broker’s duties to his fellow brokers and 3) a broker’s duties to the public. The current Code of Ethics contains seventeen articles.
Over its one hundred year history, the Code of Ethics has been amended and revised to keep up with the changing times. Local REALTOR® Associations are charged with enforcing the Code of Ethics and handing down punishment to those found to be in violation of one or more of the articles.
To keep REALTORS® up to date on the Code of Ethics, the National Association of REALTORS® requires all REALTORS® to take a training course on the subject every four years.
In recognition and appreciation of their obligations to clients, customers, the public, and each other, REALTORS® continuously strive to become and remain informed on issues affecting real estate and, as knowledgeable professionals, they willingly share the fruit of their experience and study with others.
Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® is a network of 565 of the very best real estate firms that are located in over 65 countries. These firms have 4,100 offices with 130,000 sales associates. In 2016 these firms had home sales valued at $368 billion dollars, representing 1.1 million transactions. LeadingRE’s worldwide network dominates in more markets across the U.S., with #1 market rankings in 40% of the top markets.
As an affiliate of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®; our brokerage is a local and global market leader working on your behalf. LeadingRE’s world-class marketing resources and connections allow us to provide you with a truly exceptional real estate experience.
Price it right. Set a price at the lower end of your property’s realistic price range.
Prepare for visitors. Get your house market ready at least two weeks before you begin showing it.
Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show at the spur of the moment. But the more amenable you can be about letting people see your home, the sooner you’ll find a buyer.
Anticipate the offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you’ll find acceptable.
Don’t refuse to drop the price. If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, you should be prepared to at least consider lowering your asking price.