Home Buyers Guide: What to Check in a Final Walk Through

What an exciting day; the day you close on your new home! A few days before, your REALTOR called to schedule the date and time of the final walk-through. You thought, “This is great! I needed to check the paint color in the kitchen and my parents want to see the house.” But that is not what the final walk-through is for. This is your final chance to see the property before you sign on the dotted line and close the sale. It is an appointment take seriously. You must stay focused and examine the condition of the property one last time.

The purchase agreement signed in the state of Minnesota requires the seller to warrant that the mechanicals including: central air conditioning, heating, plumbing and wiring systems are in working order on the date of closing. It also insures the buyer the right to a “walk-through” review of the property prior to closing. This is not something to waive. A few years ago, there was a news report of first-time buyers who had just closed on their new home. They intended to move right in after closing but arrived to find a nightmare. In the time since seeing the home and writing a purchase agreement, a pipe had burst and flooded the entire home. They skipped the final walk-through as they felt it a waste of time. They became the proud and very frustrated owners of a huge mess. Although they may have legal remedies for having the home repaired, these buyers would have been in a much better position if they negotiated with the seller prior to closing. Or in the case of this extreme damage, the buyers could have not signed the final documents to purchase the home.

Every buyer should do a final walk-through on the home as close to the closing as possible. I suggest to my clients that we schedule the walk-through immediately prior to the closing. We meet one hour before at the home to review the condition of the property and then go directly to the closing. Any problems are noted and I immediately contact the seller’s agent so they have time to discuss the situation with their seller before our arrival. The walk-through just prior to closing doesn’t eliminate every surprise that a new buyer might face.

But it significantly reduces the chance of closing on an unknown disaster. Here is a quick guide of some of the areas to consider during a final walk through Final Walk-Through Guide

Double Check the Paperwork **Are all work orders complete?

Exterior Review **Check for any changes to exterior since purchase agreement.

Plumbing Review **Check for any changes to plumbing since purchase agreement.

Interior Rooms Review **Check for any changes to interior since purchase agreement.

Electrical Review ****Check for any changes to electrical since purchase agreement.

Furnace and Air Conditioning Review Attic and Basement Review **Check for any changes since purchase agreement.

The final walkthrough should be done with a COMPLETE CHECKLIST and organized plan. After a review of the home inside and out with a checklist will get you back to exciting part of that final walk-through…Will the new sofa look better here or there?

A Home Buyer’s Caveat: KNOW What You Want!

There are a number of reasons, individuals begin to search for a home, of their own, or a new home. While some, are focused on their needs, goals, and priorities, others become absorbed by the concepts of the so – called, American Dream, of owning a home, of your own! Smart home buyers must be ready, and prepared, to proceed, with their eyes – wide – open, so they clearly, KNOW, what they seek, and what they might afford, as well as what will serve their needs, both today, and into the future. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, using the mnemonic approach, what this means and represents, and why it matters.

1. Knowledge; keep it; kitchen: How will you decide, if a particular house, is best for you, and your true needs? Will you take the time, and make the effort, to learn, as much as possible, about the options and alternatives, as well as relevant aspects, and use your knowledge, to make you, a smarter, better prepared consumer? Are you considering, using this house, as a starter home, or will you keep it, into the foreseeable future? Why do you believe you will be happy, and well – served, living there?

2. Needs; nuances; niche; necessities: How will you determine your needs, goals, priorities, etc? How will a particular house, make you happier, and satisfy your need? Are there, specific nuances, which you believe, are most essential, to being happy, in your home? Would you identify, with some specific niche, and why? If you considered things carefully, can you differentiate between necessities/ priorities, and your personal, wish list?

3. Objectives; options; organized; optimize: Begin your house hunting, process, by clearing understanding and knowing your personal objectives! What specific options, are most important, for your present, and anticipated future, life style? Is the specific house, capable of being organized, to address your priorities, and is it possible to optimize your living experiences?

4. When; why; where; what; wonderful: When do you want to move in, and when do you need to? Why are you looking for a home, and this specific one? Is it located, where you will be best – served? What is needed, and necessary, to make your living experience, more wonderful?

Before you commit to buying, the best home, for you, KNOW what you need to know, and be prepared, as well as what, you seek, to be happy there! Will you commit to the process?

5 Situations Potential Home Buyers Should Walk Away

There are times, and situations, where a qualified, potential, home buyer, believes he has discovered, the ideal home, which he would love to live in, and make a home, of their own, but, later recognize and realize, there might be reasons, to walk away! While this may often, be a rather challenging, difficult scenario and situation, it’s better to make the right decision, which is best for you, rather than making some enormous mistake/ error. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly examine, review, consider, and discuss, 5 instances, where it might make sense, for a potential buyer, to walk away from the deal!

1. It doesn’t “comp – out”: There are times, when the appraiser, from one’s lending institution, evaluates a particular property, at a significantly lower price/ value, from your offer. While these appraisals, at times, are invalid, at other times, they represent, you have offered too much for a particular house. Banks use Competitive Market Analysis (CMA), to guide this process, and, therefore, a wise buyer, would also focus on that. Since the amount, and/ or rate of interest, on a mortgage, might be based on this number, when it comes in, significantly lower, it might represent, walking away from the deal!

2. Major issues found by the home inspector: One should make his offer contingent upon, the results of a home inspection. While most times, the issues found, are minor and easily addressed, at others, might indicate, major issues. Why would you want to purchase a house, which will probably become, a Money Pit?

3. Seller won’t address sufficiently/ adequately, or appropriately compensate: When significant issues are discovered, a buyer should go back to the seller, and explain what was found, and ask the seller to address the issue, to his satisfaction. This might mean, having a Licensed Contractor, make the fixes, to bring the house, up to the proper quality and standards, or compensating the buyer, by either reducing the price or providing a Seller’s Concession, at closing. If the latter is the determination, it must be sufficient, to address these issues. The other possibility is some combination of repair and compensation.

4. Discovers other relevant issues: During the due diligence process, other factors, such as title issues, liens, zoning, or unanticipated surprises, might be discovered, that makes someone, reconsider.

5. Afraid it might become a Money Pit: While home buyers will nearly always, need to put some money, into any home, they purchase, if there are major issues, such as environmental, structural, etc, one risks, getting into an undesirable financial situation. No one wants a Money Pit!

Home buyers should make their offers, contingent upon, at the very minimum, mortgage considerations, and the inspection. If you can’t get what you want, and/ or need, walk away!

A Buyer’s Guide To Home Buying: 5 Keys

Wouldn’t it be nice, if qualified, potential home buyers, would have a clear – cut, guide, akin to a cookbook, so, they might proceed, effectively and efficiently, on a regular basis, and, thus, make their best possible decisions. Since, for most people, their house is their single, largest financial asset, as well as a source of pride, and comfort, but, unfortunately, many consider the home buying experience, to be an extremely stressful, period of time. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly examine and consider, 5 keys to making the home buying experience, a better, more successful one.

1. Know the market/ competition, etc: One of the important reasons, I recommend, buyers hire a qualified, professional real estate agent, as their buyer’s agent, is the guidance and assistance, this individual will be able to supply. When a buyer begins, with realistic perception and understanding of the local market, he has a better idea, what is available, and how his needs, and finances, fit into that scenario! Is it a sellers or buyers market, or a neutral one? Knowing this, helps you understand, the best negotiating strategy, etc.

2. Be realistic: When one is ready, willing and able, to realistically, consider the possibilities, and market, he begins, with a realistic concept and idea, of what he might be able to afford, need, and prioritize! This reduces the stress levels, because there are fewer unfulfilled expectations, and running around, considering homes, which may be unaffordable, etc. When a buyer focuses on his needs, and priorities, and looks at realistic possibilities, the process, is consistently simplified, etc!

3. Structuring an offer – How to differentiate? You’ve gone through the process, and probably seen many houses, which you aren’t interested in! Finally, you believe you’ve found the right house for you. What’s the best way to secure it, if it is? In a buyers market, this is often less challenging, than in a sellers one! So, if you are in the latter type, it’s a good idea, to consider, the best way, to structure your offer, in a way, which differentiates you, from other buyers, and makes it more attractive to the seller, to sell their home, to you. Have you taken the time, and structured yourself, in such a way, so you have a better than average – sized, down – payment, as well as being pre – approved (not only qualified) for your mortgage.

4. Negotiating points, versus deal – breakers: Smart buyers recognize the difference between effectively negotiating, and what makes up a deal – breaker! One must know, what are your wishes, versus essential goals and priorities! Use the services of a well – respected, professional home inspector, and know, what items, are more significant.

5. Negotiating offers – priorities and approaches: When you begin with a professionally designed, Competitive Market Analysis (CMA), you will better recognize the difference between the listing price, and what might be a realistic offer. Everyone wants to get their deal, at the best possible price, but what that might be and represent, often depends on the local real estate market.

Hiring the right agent, for you and your needs, who understands your needs, goals and priorities, and will direct you properly, as a buyers agent, is the first step, a buyer should take! Then, you should listen to the individual, you’ve hired, consider these 5 keys, and proceed accordingly!

Financial Help for First Time Home Buyers

Purchasing your first home is an exciting time and transitioning from renter to property owner presents a long list of significant long-term benefits. Yet, there are numerous thoughts and fears many have when considering buying their first home.

When beginning the initial process of owning a home for the first time, most people spend a fair amount of time looking around for the perfect house, in the right neighborhood and in the right location. Selecting the right property that is a good fit on all levels and ensuring the location will meet all of your requirements is obviously a big part of making sure your short-term and long-term needs are met.

However, as you get past the initial stages of simply looking at different properties and trying to determine your exact needs, you may find buying a home is a bit more involved than you first realized. Most first-time home buyers go through feeling a little overwhelmed at the beginning and a top notch realtor can offer significant help for first time home buyers.

Financial Help for First Time Home Buyers

Plus 5 Important Tips

Think About Today and the Future

When you are looking around for the right home to purchase it is important to think about what will meet your needs today and in the future. Most of the time, buying a house is not only a financial commitment but also a commitment of time; meaning, you will probably live in the home for at least several years.

If you don’t have any children a small cottage on the lake might sound fun now, but if you decide to have kids in a few years it may become impractical very quickly. Thinking about your current lifestyle and how it might change in the coming years is an important consideration and can help make your home purchase successful on a long-term basis.

Choose a Realtor Carefully

Choosing the realtor you work with is a very important consideration, perhaps the most important. A good real estate agent can help make the home buying process much easier and much more successful. Real estate agents are experienced professionals who know what to look for, what to be careful of and all the important details that you will need to take care of throughout your first home purchase.

Some real estate agencies offer special programs that can provide significant help for first time home buyers such as down payment assistance, tax credits and special mortgage programs. There are even a select few real estate agents that are willing to give up a portion of their commission and offer it to home buyers as a cash back rebate. If restrictions on cash back rebates exist due to guidelines of the lender, then buyers can apply the rebate towards closing costs instead. Either way it is a significant financial bonus and can provide tremendous help for first time home buyers.

Pay Attention to the Type of Mortgage You Accept

Knowing the price range of home you can really afford is based on many factors such as your credit score and your debt to income ratio. Knowing your budget from the lenders perspective is very important so you do not waste your time looking at properties that do not fit your budget and do not fit a lender’s criteria either. A well-seasoned realtor can assist you with the mortgage pre-qualification process so you are ready to not only make an offer on a property, but you are actually able to secure a loan and close on the property successfully.

In some trending real estate markets the seller will not even consider an offer unless the buyer has a pre-qualified certificate from a lender. Working with the right realtor who can help you get pre-qualified and who is also affiliated with multiple lenders, title companies and home inspection services will help you be prepared for a successful buying process. Additionally, it will allow you to negotiate on the selling price of a home from a position of strength.

The details, terms and costs involved with your mortgage are important for knowing how much a home will cost you on a monthly basis and over the length of the entire term of a mortgage. Knowing if there is a free down payment program associated with the loan, the interest rate, term and closing costs are just a few of the considerations you should be clear about before committing to a mortgage. One very important element of a mortgage is if the interest rate is fixed or variable.

A fixed interest rate will give you a set rate of interest for the entire term of the mortgage, which will result in a predictable monthly payment that is the same month after month from the very first month until the last payment is made. A variable rate mortgage will typically offer a fixed rate for a short period such as 1 year, 3 years or 5 years and then the rate will fluctuate based on a set parameter such as the London Interbank Offered Rate, also referred to as LIBOR.

Other Expenses In Addition to Your Mortgage Payment

We all know it is important to make sure you can afford the monthly payment for a new home, but what about the other costs involved with home ownership? Besides your monthly mortgage payment, there will be other costs involved with owning a home that some first-time buyers may not have thought about. Take some time to make a list of all the possible expenses that will fall under normal maintenance for any property you are considering.

For instance; will you need to maintain your yard up to the standards set by the neighborhood homeowners association which means purchasing lawn maintenance equipment or hiring a service to do it for you. What are the costs for your monthly water, electric and gas bills? Is there adequate WiFi and or cable service available and the fees associated with it.

Keeping a home in top condition is not only important for maintaining a quality standard of living and following the rules of the HOA, city ordinances or even just implied rules based on how your neighbors care for their homes but also for the resale value of a home.

Resale Value

When you look around at all the different properties available it is always a good idea to listen to the advice of your realtor on what homes present the best resale value opportunities. Depending on the area you are in, there will be certain properties that lend themselves to higher potential resale values due to the number of bedrooms, how much property the home sits upon, the school district or other factors.

An experienced realtor will know the area well and what will sell quickly. Listening to their advice will not only ensure a good decision today but can also save you from big headaches when you try to sell the property many years from now.

An Experienced Realtor is the Best Help for First Time Home Buyers

Buying your first home or even your next home can be a little intimidating and it does involve making several careful decisions. However, working with an experienced realtor who works for you specifically as your buyer’s agent rather than a transaction agent will help keep the process smooth and successful.

“We cannot imagine a better home buying experience. Our Realtor was professional, courteous, and straightforward and did whatever it took to get us a fair deal and made sure that we were buying a home that was right for us. On top of all of that, they offer a 1% rebate back on the purchase price of the home! I would recommend them without any hesitation… you simply won’t find a better realtor. They gave us $3850 cash rebate when we purchased our home through them. Thank you Kellie and Kent Lighthall.”

Stay on your goal to purchase your first home and explore the available programs offered by some realtors; like down payment assistance and home buyer’s cash back rebate program as both are available to all home buyers first time or next time purchasers.