Let us be your buyer’s agent

KeyToHome_0_0Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or an experienced one, going it alone is often stressful, time-consuming and filled with unwanted surprises along the way. Some people believe that if they buy directly from a seller or seller’s agent, they will save some of the commission fees. This is quite the myth. Buyers who choose to go it alone without a buyer’s agent leave themselves without a knowledgeable negotiator. Unlike the seller’s agent, a buyer’s agent represents YOU, the buyer. The buyer’s agent will put your best interests first and will work diligently to get you the best deal.

The agents at Valley Real Estate Brokers will use their extensive market knowledge, years of experience, and a wealth of resources to guide you through the real estate process.


Where to start

Buying a home, especially in a new area, can seem daunting and overwhelming. Well, take a deep breath and let’s start from the beginning.

Establish priorities. Think about the lifestyle you’re looking for, the amount of space you need, the style of home that interests you, and anything else that may be important to you. Then prioritize. Of course, it’s not always that simple. You may want to schedule some home previews with your Valley Real Estate Broker’s agent to see how far your dollar will take you in the current real estate market. Chances are that you will ultimately need to compromise on at least one item. When you have a priority list, it will be easier to find the right home for you and your family.  It will also make it easier for your agent to help you find the appropriate homes to tour.

Good news is that the current market offers a wide array of homes to choose from, and Valley Real Estate Brokers’ website offers comprehensive information on those homes AND the areas where they are located.


Getting pre-approved

It is a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage from an accredited lender before you even begin looking at properties. That doesn’t mean it is time to shop around for the best rate, since getting pre-approved with a lender doesn’t mean you are locked into using them in your purchase. There should be no costs associated with getting pre-approved. If you look without a solid budget, you risk wasting a lot of time and potentially falling in love with a home you simply cannot afford. A pre-approval will also help sellers take you seriously. Most sellers will not consider offers without knowing the buyer has been pre-approved.

In order to give you a pre-approval and to determine the mortgage amount you qualify for, your mortgage lender will ask you about your financial situation. The lender may or may not require all documentation to back up your statements at this point, but they will require it down the road. The lender will also check your credit score. Here is a list of the most common items needed during the mortgage pre-approval process:

  • W2 or 1099 income statements for the last two years
  • Federal tax returns for the last two years
  • Bank statements for the last few months
  • Recent pay stubs or proof of other income


Questions to ask

When you start looking at homes, you need to ask yourself certain questions. The house you ultimately choose will play a major role in your family’s future. A home can be an excellent investment, but, more importantly, it should fit your lifestyle, with spaces and features that appeal to everyone in the family. As you look at each home, consider these important factors:

  • Is there enough room for you now and in the near future?
  • Does the floor plan feel comfortable? Is there enough storage space?
  • Will you need to replace the appliances or any fixtures in the near future?
  • Are there enough bathrooms?
  • Are you comfortable with the location?
  • Are you comfortable with the monthly payment?


From offer to close

Once the seller accepts your offer, you may think you will have loads of free time. Think again. There is a lot of work to be done to make sure the process goes smoothly and you actually get to the closing table.

Once the contract is ratified, your escrow is deposited and it is time to order inspections and proceed with securing a loan.  It all may sound complicated but, rest assured, your Valley Real Estate Broker’s agent understands the process and can guide you through every step.

You may only have 5-10 days to organize a professional home or radon inspection, so order the inspection as soon as you can. You will also want to begin shopping for a loan. You may want to work with the lender who you were pre-qualified with or you may decide to shop around. Keep in mind that you will have a much higher likelihood of completing a smooth closing if you decide to take a mortgage through a local lender with on-site underwriting capabilities.  The mortgage process can be daunting, especially in today’s market. Understanding exactly what documentation your lender requires and getting the paperwork filed in a timely manner will help the lender get you a clear mortgage commitment letter by the contingency date. The lender will also require an appraisal, which will be organized through the bank and listing broker.  Once loan approval is received and inspections satisfied, your agent will provide you with a list of qualified settlement agents and insurance companies and will provide guidance with any other services needed.

Depending on the time of year you plan to move, you will want to book a moving company well in advance. Moving companies tend to be especially busy from April to August.

Near but prior to the day of closing, you and your agent  will do a walk-through inspection of the property to make sure no significant damage was done since you last  saw the property. Also check that any work the seller agreed to complete has been done in response to your initial inspection. You will also receive a HUD statement from your settlement agent to review. This is a breakdown of all the costs associated with the purchase, both for you and the seller. Remember to bring your driver’s license or another form of photo ID to the closing along with a certified check for closing costs and other expenses that may need to be paid.

Pick up your keys and welcome to your new home!