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Tips for Choosing the Right Realtor

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Tips For Choosing the Right Realtor

A record number of Americans are gearing up to buy their first homes.  This is a big decision that can bring a lot of questions including the big one. How do I choose the right realtor? We can help with that! Read below for simple tips that will help you find the best real estate agent.  Here’s a hint: the tools you need are actually right in front of you.

 

Ask Around

Just like recommending your favorite local coffee shop, word of mouth recommendations are still the best way to go to begin curating your list. Ask friends and family for realtor references especially if they are recent buyers. It’s important to note that just because a realtor might have been a good fit for someone you know, they still may not be the right one for you.

 

Find Your Neighborhood

Decide on the areas that you are interested in living in and narrow down your potential realtor list based on that.  You can research this online or drive those neighborhoods and take note of the realtors selling homes there. Working with an agent who has experience in successful sales in the area you want to live will put you several steps ahead.

 

Google!

It’s time to find out more about your potential prospects. Do a few Google searches to get to know their online persona.  As a first time home buyer, pick a realtor who is experienced and knowledgeable, but also current and fresh. Does it seem like they know the area you are interested in?  If they have a website, is it modern and up-to-date? Are they active on social media and post regularly? Do they offer relevant content that is helpful and coincides with your vision? A realtor who takes the time to continue learning about the growing market trends is someone you want on your side.

 

Be a Boss

Make a list of real estate questions that are important to you regarding your house hunt.  Ask them to explain the home buying process and add anything that you expect from your realtor (i.e. preferred method of communication, how often you would like updates).  Being honest about your expectations from the beginning will pave the way for a smooth buying experience. Meet your potential realtor for coffee or just give them a quick call. Do you feel that they are genuine in the advice and information they are offering you? Are they approachable and outgoing? Someone who is outgoing is most likely confident and confidence is definitely a characteristic you want when choosing a realtor. At the end of the day, go with your gut. And remember, they work for you.

Buying a first home is a significant milestone. Take your time when selecting who will help you make this major financial and emotional decision. Just don’t forget to have fun and enjoy this time, too! You’re only a first-time home buyer once!

If you need help finding the right realtor for you, call us.  Cardinal Financial AZ has worked closely with hundreds of realtors and will be able to recommend the right fit for you. Call 480-759-1500 or email matt.askland@cardinalfinancial.com to talk about your options!

4 Basic Benefits of Owning a Home

It’s a major responsibility and a giant up-taking, but owning a home comes with some big-time benefits – one being peace of mind. Here are a few other benefits to owning versus renting:

You’re Building Up Equity Every Month

What is equity? It’s the amount you sell your home for, minus the money you still owe on it at the time of sale. The amount you owe reduces each time you make a mortgage payment. Your principal payment increases each month, too, meaning that as time goes on, you’re paying more toward the actual loan amount versus interest. Equity in your home is typically lowest at your first mortgage payment and highest at your last payment.

It’s Cheaper to Own a Home Than Rent – In the Long Run

Buying and owning a home may be frustrating at the very beginning because of interest rates, mortgage payments and the entire legal process that goes along with it. You may think it’s easier – and cheaper – to rent a house, but it’s not, really. After a while, your interest rate will decrease. Plus, each month that you’re making a payment, you’re putting money toward your own home, not sending hard-earned cash into a landlord’s pocket.

As a Homeowner, You’ll Enjoy More Stability

Owning a home actually brings much freedom and a sense of independence. The house belongs to you and you can do whatever you want to it. You don’t have to worry about a landlord hiking up your rent at the beginning of a new year or risk being kicked out of the house. Any improvements that you wish to make benefit no one else but you! Plus, if you have kids, you’ll have to worry less about having to switch school districts on-the-fly because you won’t have to worry about being asked to vacate.

Improvements Are Made for Your Own Good

Let’s talk about this a bit more. Once you a buy a house, you’re no longer restricted by a landlord’s guidelines or requirements on paint, decor or design. You get to decide what type of construction, design or maintenance professionals you’ll hire to work on the home. Any improvements made to a rental are enjoyed by you for only as long as you’re living in the home. Once you leave, your updates will benefit the next renter.

Are you you in the process of looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

10 Necessary Steps to Any Successful Home Closing

10 Necessary Steps to Any Successful Home Closing - myarizonaloan.com

You’ve finished the exhaustive search for a new home and have finally made an offer on the place of your dreams. Now what? Closing on a new home can be a lengthy process, but the steps are necessary to success. Here’s what to expect in the final stages of buying a house.

Open an Escrow

The first step to unlocking the door of your new home? It’s opening an escrow. During escrow – which lasts for approximately one month – your mortgage advisor will make any required payments on your behalf to property bills that are separate from the loan payment. These payments are made out of a designated escrow account and can go toward things like property taxes, HOA fees and insurance costs.

Lock-In Your Interest Rate

If you’ve found a home and are in the process of obtaining a mortgage, it’s highly recommended that you lock in an interest rate. Exactly when you choose to lock in the rate is up to you, but a solid mortgage advisor will be able to guide you in the right direction. Some people choose to do this immediately and others prefer to wait until just before closing in the hopes that rates will fall during that time.

Schedule a Home Inspection

The last thing you want is for something to go wrong in your new home just days after moving in. That’s why it’s smart to schedule a home inspection before closing. During an inspection, specialists will check things like the air conditioning system, plumbing and electricity. New homes should be thoroughly evaluated, too; even homes that have recently passed municipal inspections by the builder. It’s always a good idea to get an objective third-party review.

Have a Pest Inspection

Hire a licensed pest inspection company to check for issues with flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, fleas, rats, mice, bed bugs, termites, ants…pretty much any type of pest! Make sure they evaluate the home for any possible environmental health threats caused by lead, fungus and asbestos, too. Presence of any type of contamination is a subject of renegotiation of terms and possibly even a reason to rethink the deal completely.

Address Any Issues

Did your inspection reveal any problems? It’s time to troubleshoot! You may want to discuss dropping the price or asking the seller to fix the problems that were unearthed. Nevertheless, you’ll want to obtain the estimates for repairing the issues and schedule a time to do so as soon as possible.

Ask for Title Search and Insurance

Title insurance is needed to eliminate the third party ownership on the property that you are buying. A title officer will make sure there are no legitimate claims from relatives, collectors and the like on the home. Your title insurance is legal proof that everything is clear and that you have a green light for closing on – and owning! – your new home.

Conduct a Home Appraisal

A home appraisal determines the estimated market value of your soon-to-be property, based on factors like general condition, geographic location, proximity to points of interest, value of nearby homes and recent neighborhood sales or growth. Typically, a mortgage lender will need this information to make sure you’re asking for the right amount of money. Occasionally, you’ll run into the issue of a low appraisal. As a buyer, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But if you’re a seller who’s already negotiated a certain price, this could present a major financial problem. To help prevent this issue, make sure that the appraiser is from your county, and has a residential appraiser certification and professional designation.

Set the Day and Time of Closing

First thing’s first – you’ll want to set aside enough time in your day to finish the closing. An hour or two may not be enough time if unexpected issues arise. We recommend allocating at least a half-day’s time for the home closing. Schedule it toward the end of the month, but not on the last day – aim for a day between the 20th and 25th. That way, you’ll still have some padded time should there be any disputes. If you schedule a closing and don’t complete it by that day, you could face increased closing costs for the next month in addition to penalty payments.

Be Present at Final Walk-Through

Don’t miss your chance for a final look at your home before paying for it! Most final walk-throughs are scheduled 24 hours before closing. Make sure the home is in the condition that’s specified on your final sales contract. Confirm that any necessary changes were made post-inspection. Check if everything is in order and that any additional necessary replacements were made. If you do run into an issue, you’ll want to shift the closing day. Or, upon mutual agreement, the repair costs will be submitted to the escrow account.

You Did It! Now Prep for Closing Day

You’ve completed the escrow marathon and it’s officially time to sign the paperwork and get your keys! Prepare in advance all paperwork you collected during the process, such as title search and insurance, inspection reports, bank statements, home appraisal reports, checks for down payment closing costs, etc.

There’s likely to be quite a few people present for closing, including your attorney, a seller (or their representative), the seller’s attorney, real estate agents (for both parties), a lender’s representative, a title company employee, the closing agent and even a public notary.

You’ll be signing a string of documents – do not sign anything at this point that is unfamiliar to you. By now, if you’re working with a competent buying team, you should have seen and read all of the closing documents in advance. Make sure that you understand what you are signing and how your payments will be distributed over the designated time.

Are you you in the process of selling your house and looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

Home Buying Needs Versus Wants

Imagine what your dream house looks like. You have particular needs, and you can’t imagine not having them fulfilled. Additionally, there are  some desires that you will have to let go due to affordability issues.

There is a bundle of things that are to be considered before buying a home.

Would you like to have a swimming pool?

Where is the house located?

What makes it special?

What can you afford and what is out of your budget?

Budgeting restricts us more than anything else in most cases. While some things are necessary for any home, others will just stay on the list of desires without ever coming to reality.

You might have a first impression of what you need and what you desire to have in your new house, but having a complete checklist can prove to be complicated.

Before starting your hunt for a new home, it is advisable to make a list of all your basic needs and desires while targeting the most important ones.

Making a list and highlighting what truly matters is the way to go. On top of it all, it will make the hunt easier, but at the same time, you need to know that it’s nearly impossible to have all items checked.

Buying a house involves certain aspects, and it is not a simple process.

You can think about budget estimation, choosing the location of the house, contacting lenders ahead of time as well as having detailed discussions with the retailer.

It is also about avoiding traps. You need to be careful and avoid different scams that are out there.

It’s similarly ideal to have a list of priorities for all your requirements that are related to the new house, which you intend to buy.

Having the image of your dream home is reality married with imagination.

In fact, you may find that some aspects of the house you intend to buy are different. It’s not the same as what your dreams would’ve told you. Some criteria you might be looking at include:

  • Distance from your job
  • Nearby facilities
  • Swimming pool
  • Countertops
  • Condition of doors and windows

Different people have different requirements, and not everyone has the same list of requirements.

It all depends on your thought process and personality. We all understand important things and potential compromises differently.

Needs – like basic requirements – can’t be ignored or compromised. Desires, on the other hand, are to be left behind if the situation demands it.

Surely, you need to make a clear distinction between what necessities are, and which items you would classify as desires.

You need to acknowledge that no matter how many desires you have unfulfilled at the moment, they can be worked on at a later date. Maybe you don’t like the color of the walls or the window frames, but it’s very easy to repaint walls and change the windows later.

Without being limited by a certain budget and the basic requirements that you can’t let go of, you should be able to find a great home at an affordable price.

Pet Owners

The majority of people love to have pets in their homes. Some people openly confess that their children and pets are alike.

Pets have taken so much importance in their lives that some even think that they could have children later on in life or maybe never become parents.

Also, those parents who have grown-up children and are alone at home have adopted a lifestyle with their pets.

Home buyers who are pet owners have specific requirements as well, because they have to consider providing for their pets.

It is essential that the neighborhood in which you are going to buy a house in has no restrictions on pets, for which reason you need to be careful and documented.

Usually, pet lovers don’t like carpets because their pets destroy all the carpet fabric and make a mess.

If you are a pet lover, it is better for you to find a home that has a fence, because the security of your pet is also important.

Then you need to consider the arrangement of rooms and the structure of the house to make sure it’s suitable for your pet(s) too.

Traffic in the area is another checkpoint, because certain pets such as dogs and cats can go out on the streets if the door is left open, and if it’s in an area with heavy traffic then that’s a real problem.

If you like, you may also ask if there were pets in that house before. It is also important to have pet-friendly neighbors because otherwise if they don’t like pets, that will create trouble for you and your pet as well.

Pet services like pet food and a vet should be near the house, or at least in range for a relatively short car ride.

Location

You can’t go to buy a home without choosing a suitable location. One of the most significant decisions when buying a home is where you want to live.

Location influences your everyday life.

The climate, job opportunities nearby and availability of necessary facilities are the most important aspects.

A home normally translates to peace and happiness, so the place that you choose for your house must be peaceful and at a distance from highways and other heavy traffic roads. It should also be fairly close to relatives or friends, if possible.

It is a known fact that in real estate, the most significant aspect is location.

The price is mainly based on the location and condition of the property. When someone starts looking for their house, it is important for them to consider the location and how far it is from schools, shopping areas, and other facilities.

Reviewing these points and then making a decision based on them is a wise choice because as much as you might have to pay more when you close the deal, it may actually save you from many expenses and headaches later. Home also means comfort, and comfort can’t come if the location is not suitable.

Schools

If you have a family or are planning to have children soon, then having schools is undoubtedly an important consideration when buying a house.

Living in an area where good public or private schools are available will save you from later headaches.

Even if you don’t have kids yet, it’s a good idea to have quality neighborhood schools so as to increase the value of your investment when selecting the location of your new home.

If you have difficulties finding a house near some schools that meet the threshold of your standards, then you may have to change your mind and choose another house.

This aspect is indeed one of the primary requirements for most people.

Neighborhood

Different neighborhoods will have different characteristics. Sometimes, the neighborhood becomes a reason for your happiness, and sometimes it becomes a headache for you.

You must make sure to be in a neighborhood that offers the closest possible match to the kind of lifestyle that you like and the personality that you possess.

Don’t choose the wrong neighborhoods believing that it’ll work out later. Even if you have a peaceful family life, neighbors can cause problems if you didn’t make sure to be in the right area.

Ideally, neighbors are the people who reach you in case of any difficulties; and if they are kind, they will help you through any difficult situation you that you may encounter.

Good neighbors can sometimes be trusted to watch over your kids when you’re away, or take care of your pet(s). A good neighborhood is not only a blessing but also a fundamental need because without it, there could be no peace at home.

While buying a house, there can be many things that require compromises.

Compromises may arise because of your budget, personal preferences, and dislikes, the location of the home, size of the garage, community, and distance from different important areas as well as structural integrity.

You must carefully make your decision because buying a house is a one-time job that can hardly be undone.

Prospective House Conditions

The Condition of the Property

When viewing a home, there are some very important things to look out for, with the condition of the property being the primary factor.

Is the Home Structurally Sound?

Walk around checking the walls and ceilings for big cracks – hairline cracks are to be expected in some places. Make sure you check the exterior too. Cracks could be a sign that the property is not structurally sound.

Points at which extensions join are good places to look as cracks often occur there.  Also, look for loose or broken tiles on the roof or broken guttering, evidence of damage to the drywall and weaknesses on the floors.

Any signs of a problem anywhere in the structure of the property should be queried – what caused it? How long has it been like that? Will it be fixed?  Furniture or accessories like rugs could be hiding cracks on the walls or problems with the floor, so again, don’t forget to look behind furniture or move them around if necessary.

If you see major cracks or any of the walls looking like they are bowing but you still like the home, you should seriously be getting a structural engineer to have a look.

You should also have a survey done – not to be confused with a mortgage valuation – as this will uncover hidden issues that may characterize the house.

Watch Out for Mold

Mold is a major problem that could cost you a lot to fix. Don’t just try to look for it, use your nose as well, as damp frequently gives off a musty smell, even when there are no visible signs.

A plaster that’s flaking, watermarks on walls or ceilings, even a fresh coat of paint in a particular room or a section of a room could all be indicative of mold. Don’t forget to properly examine the ceiling and around the skirting boards for evidence of leakages or water damage.

Heating, Air Conditioning, and Electrics

Other aspects to consider when looking at the general condition of the property are the heating and air conditioning systems. Have an expert assess whether they are the appropriate models and capacity and whether they are working properly.

Check the fuse box; it shouldn’t be old and outdated and must be easily accessible and in good working condition. Ensure wiring was done properly.

Otherwise, you may have to spend a fortune rewiring the home so as to bring it up to standard. Confirm if there are enough power points and that all of them are in good conditions.

Basement and Attics

Also, check the attic for water problems – look for water damage or leaks that may have affected the insulation, walls, and ceiling of the attic.

And while you’re at it, make sure that the insulation is adequate for where the property is located. In the basement, look for evidence of moisture problems in the home – is there water leaking onto the floor or water around the foundation?

There should be no cracks in the basement walls and any wood such as those in exposed beams should be in good condition without any rot.

Pipes and Taps

Check that the plumbing is up to scratch.

Run taps to ensure they work properly and the water pressure is strong enough. Exposed pipes in unheated areas should be insulated, as frozen pipes will eventually cause water damage.

It is particularly important from a health perspective to ascertain that the pipes are not made of lead. If they are, you will need to replace them. Also, find out where the hot water tank is located. If it is on the roof, you may need to replace it, as it is probably an old tank.

Exterior

Check for evidence of water around the foundation, which may indicate drainage issues.

The ground should slope away from the foundation. If there is a porch, it should have a foundation and not simply sit on the soil. Check that driveways or any walkways leading up to the house do not have cracks and are not crumbling. Check that the siding of the home is in good condition.

Take a look at the landscaping on the property as well. It shouldn’t be unkempt and unsightly, as that is an indication of lack of care.

The sprinkler system should be in proper working and if there is a deck, ensure there’s no decay or damage from termites or beetles.

Property History

Don’t just settle for the information contained in the customer copy of listings. Ask your agent for more detailed info.

How long has the property been on the market?

Was it previously listed, withdrawn and relisted for a lower price?

These kinds of questions can help you decide how much to offer.

You also need other detailed information on the property, most of which will be available from the public records.

The name of the owner, original age of the home, mortgage history, parcel number, previous sales of the property, property deeds and any judgments or liens filed against the seller – all these will show up. So will information regarding how much the taxes on the property are and whether they are paid or in arrears.

If there have been improvements to the home, you’ll also be able to see if a permit was obtained, as this could complicate the sale of the property.

This kind of search could save you a lot of money as it will reveal important information about the property you’re interested in, so don’t skip it.

You can get all this info through your agent if you’re using one since most agents subscribe to services that give them access to such data or through a local title company. Additionally, you can order them online for a small fee.

Closing Process

What Closing When Buying a House Means

Top Things to Keep in Mind Before Finally Signing the Deal

Deciding to buy a house for the first time can prove to be quite a challenge, especially if you are not the kind of person that understands the way that financial transactions go and how the real estate market works.

Here is a short, user-friendly guide to help you find your way through the amount of paperwork required by the insurance, warranty, appraisal, and mortgage statement on the property.

In this section, we also present some of the best tips to follow in order to avoid letting things get out of hand.

Homeowner’s Insurance, One of the First Things to Consider!

Most people don’t give too much thought to the homeowner’s insurance when buying a house.

Big mistake! And that is because there are always things that seem more important and manage to capture your attention before this detail even crosses your mind.

Well, you might get lucky, and all turns out well. Or you won’t, which will be a disaster.

Why?

Because homeowner’s insurance makes a huge difference in case something hazardous happens to your property.

So, before you blindly sign on the dotted line, here are some important things to consider in order to cushion your investment as well as your beautiful future home.

Get price quotes from multiple insurance companies – It is recommended that you contact at least three companies, in order to better compare coverage, price and customer reviews. In some cases, an additional insurance is needed.

It’s important to choose the company that earns your trust, and not necessarily the one that offered the lowest price. A very good thing to remember is that you should not pay for more coverage than you really need.

So, double-check that the level of coverage is adequate to your true needs. Another thing to consider is that most lenders prefer you to escrow your insurance payments with your mortgage payments, so they can be sure their investment is protected.

Before you sign the papers, make sure you understood all the details of your insurance.

In case you still have doubts, don’t hesitate to ask for further clarification.

Here are some tips to help you reduce your homeowner insurance costs:

  • Raise your deductibles.

Careful, if you live in a disaster-prone area, certain kinds of damage might be considered separate deductibles.

  • Do not be afraid to negotiate a discount.

Some companies have a policy that allows them to reduce a certain percent of the final cost.

Home Warranty, One Little Thing that Makes You Sleep Better at Night

If you are a first time home buyer, it might be a smart idea to have a warranty plan, so that you can sleep well at night.

The advice also applies to the experienced real estate owners that just don’t want to have the thought of maintenance and repairs hanging over their heads.

A home warranty is a way of protecting yourself from expensive, unexpected repair bills.  Depending on the local market as well as on the deal, the home warranty can be paid either by the seller or by the buyer.

Most commonly, this warranty is paid by the seller, in order to protect the buyer from having to do any additional, expensive repairs to the house after the deal is closed.

The cost of a home warranty is normally not high, as it fluctuates between $250 and $400, depending on the coverage. The payment must be made one year in advance. On the day of expiry, the home warranty can either be renewed or not.

In case you need to use such a warranty, the procedure is quite simple. When there is a problem, the owner calls the warranty company, which then announces the service provider that will be fixing it.

The provider will always call the owner in order to schedule an appointment and fix the problem. The insurance company will pay the service bill.

The only thing that the owner might have to pay is a small trade service fee. In case the warranty company initially refuses a claim, do not accept no for an answer.

Complain to the real estate agent. He will then have to find a solution by working with the warranty company representative. Be careful when choosing a plan, because there are many existing coverage differences.

Pay attention when reading the fine print relating to the conditions for coverage and the reasons that can make them to be denied. Remember, the secret to getting a good insurance plan rests in knowing all the details.  

Getting an Appraisal and How that Differs from the Evaluation by a Property Inspector

In simple words, a real estate appraiser can be defined as a state-licensed expert who determines the value of a certain property.

When it comes to closing a financial transaction, implying a property, both the seller and the buyer depend on his or her evaluation.

This procedure is meant to protect the buyer, as well as the bank that offers the mortgage loan, from purchasing an overestimated and overpriced piece of real estate.

The property appraisers are not the same as property inspectors.

The difference between an appraiser and an inspector is that the former will only look for obvious issues while the latter only checks, in a more detailed manner, things like the plumbing, or the air conditioning system.

The appraisal report is required by the bank, and the cost is included in the mortgage cost.

The expert evaluates the property using one of these two methods: sale comparison approach, by comparing your home with other similar ones that were sold in the area, or the cost approach, used mainly for new buildings, a method that evaluates the cost of replacing the structure of the home.

If the reports show that the property in overrated, you don’t have to panic. Some maintenance work might convince the appraiser to take a second look.

Otherwise, you can simply ask for a second opinion from a different expert.

Although the evaluation only lasts a few minutes, the final report may be ready within a week or more.

So, don’t expect to get it on the spot.

Closing Statement – Your Rights

According to the law, a real estate transaction is considered closed when a closing statement or settle statement in signed. At this point, the buyer becomes the new owner of the property.

This document must include details about all fees incurred by all the parties involved.

Settlement regulations differ from one state to another. However, two aspects are the same all over the US. One of them is that the buyer has the right to visit the property 24 hours before closing the deal in order to make sure that everything is according to the settlement and any damage noticed beforehand had been fixed by the seller accordingly.

The second thing is that the buyer should receive the settlement statement 24 hours before signing, in order to have adequate time to review and compare it with the Good Faith Estimated for discrepancies.

Different locations have different traditions. It is mostly a custom in most parts of the US that only the buyer is the one who is accompanied by his/her attorney.

The presence of an attorney is necessary because there is literally a mountain of paperwork to be drafted and signed.

Two examples of such documents are the loan estimate and the closing disclosure. When the deal is sealed, you should always receive the front door keys, all the copies that were made, as well as any other keys relating to the property (if that’s the case).

Also, you should know that you will need an entire stack of documents for tax returns, in case you ever choose or need to sell the property.

Prepay Mortgage, is it Worth it?

If possible, you should always know that it is a great idea to prepay your mortgage. By doing so, you can reduce the costs incurred together with interest and save thousands of dollars in the long term.

To prepay the mortgage means that you pay the amount you owe to the lender before due term. In order to do so, it is very important to understand some of the most popular methods of doing so.

Some people decide to pay on a monthly basis a sum of money that is larger than the one that was settled upon.

It has been proven that this method can actually save you a small fortune in the long run. Another way of reducing interest is through the bi-monthly payment system.

This way, instead of 12 payments per year, there will be 13 monthly payments that you will be making to your bank.

Some mortgages have a flexible policy, which basically allows you to make extra payments as you consider fit (and that without restrictions).

In other cases, however, the terms of returning a loan are quite strict and require a penalty for those who are planning on prepaying the mortgage.

These terms would usually be detailed in the prepayment penalty disclosure section of the documents. So, make sure that you examine the documents carefully. This is especially the case when it comes to the fine print. In case you decide to close the payments on the mortgage and the penalty is too high, there is an option called refinance.

But do not take this decision without thinking it through.

Before deciding to refinance your mortgage loan, you should always make sure it is a logical and advantageous long-term financial decision

Unexpected, Little Things that can Mess Up Your Deal

Until the closing statement is signed by both you and the seller, nothing is certain.

The deal might literally fall apart from one day to another. Here is a list of the most common mistakes that may seem insignificant for the buyer at the first glance, but which, for the lender may mean the world.

Be careful with other big purchases while trying to obtain a mortgage.

Do not charge your credit cards with thousands of dollars for unnecessary things.  Buying expensive furniture or opening a new line of credit may threaten the deal as the lender may suspect that you are cutting funds reserved for the real estate payment.

It is highly important to act responsibly and turn in all the required paperwork on time. Make sure you have enough time to review the closing statement and try your best not to be the reason that will make the signing to be delayed. It is also important that any problem mentioned during the inspection is fixed in time.

Some buyers may use this as an excuse to withdraw from going through with the deal. One more detail which doesn’t always seem important, but actually is, regards the money you receive from family or friends.

This kind of income should be cleared with the lender early in the process, in order for the sums not to be considered as further debt. Another way to delay the closure is by changing jobs or switching positions.

These actions are highly questioned, especially if they lead to your main income to no longer being based on a monthly salary, but on commissions or performance bonuses. The fickle, unstable nature of a commission-based income might threaten the deal.

To sum up everything, so far, closing a real estate deal can be a race full of adrenaline. At the same time, it is highly regulated and governed by strict rules.

In case you ever stumble upon unexpected delays and challenges, do not lose hope, eventually, the house will be yours.

Don’t worry, most of the time you will reach the finish line with a smile on your face and a beautiful new home to call your own. So get out there and start searching for the perfect home for you and your loving family. After all, we all know that there is no place like that you can call home.

Negotiation Tips

Tactic #1. Use the Middleman

Your attorney’s real estate agent can act as your middleman and negotiate with your seller’s representative.

Using him as a buffer will not only save you time, but it may also provide you with useful information concerning the sellers, their intentions, etc. which the other party will not disclose to you directly.

Tactic #2. Play Good Cop and Bad Cop

Like in all movies, one of the buyers plays a person who is on the seller’s side, while the other one acts as a displeased party.

In this way, you will not be estranged from the seller, and will let him know that you are working on the compromise and are aware of his best interests.

Tactic #3. Wait for the Big Boss

The current tactic is somehow similar to the first one. Some third party (attorney, parents, professional friend of the family) need to see and evaluate the offer and give his or her expertise.

This is a chance to lower the seller’s counter-offer and keep your positions, in addition to the waiting factor, which the seller can naturally perceive as you considering other options.

Tactic #4. Be Curious

Asking questions may reveal some valuable information from the seller and might help you to discover the reason as to why the house is being sold,  which could be your priceless leverage.

Tactic #5. Consider Compromise

If you think that you might lose and fail the whole deal at one point or another, be ready to give away something during the negotiation.

As they say, compromise means that you agreed in the end, but both of you left with a feeling that you backed off.

Tactic #6. Focus on the Ball

Remember your main goal: to get the house.

If you feel that you are stuck in negotiating some minor details, a good decision will be letting them wait till you agree on the major points.

How to Avoid Mistakes During the Negotiation

Matters not, if you are buying a house of your dreams for the first time, or just got carried away in the rush of the negotiation intensity, no one is protected from making mistakes.

#1. Be Nice

No one likes rude people. If you somehow offended your future seller during a house visit, for example, by discussing all necessary renovations and poor taste of the current owners – they probably will not want to sell their beloved house to you personally.

#2. Be Calm

Never express too much interest!

Most of the specialists agree that when sellers see how desperately you want this house to become yours, they do not believe your first offer and they will definitely counter offer.

To avoid this situation, you should always play it cool, no matter how perfect this property appears to you.

#3. Think Like A Seller

Take a different look at this situation – imagine you have to sell this house in two, five or ten years.

Will it be possible, or does it lack some basic features that, during decreasing market situation, will become essential?

#4. Get Help

Saving money on real estate agents and attorneys may cost you thousands if something goes wrong.

Be cautious with extremely cheap services, if they are significantly lower than the average market price in your area, as the lack of the professionalism may cause significant losses in the future, so pick your team carefully.

Also, do not rely solely on yourself, especially if you are going through the house buying process for the first time.

With so much information available online and information that you have, you have all chances to spend all your time researching and analyzing before you can proceed to close the deal.

#5. Do Not Expect the Price to Get Lower After Inspections

Bid lower than you can pay, and make your final offer with the most comfortable price that you can afford.

Repairs after the inspections most likely will not cost the seller millions, so do not keep your hopes high on this account.

Consider any future revealed issue as a possible subject of renegotiating on some points, although be ready to go through with what you have already signed up for.

#6. Sign Cautiously

Make sure you acknowledge all terms and realize all liabilities before you sign any documents.

Once you sign the contract, there is no way to make amendments without renegotiating and signing a new one, which may fail to happen at all.

#7. Calculate All Future Costs

Budgeting is essential during the purchase, as the amount that you pay is not just the price of the house.

Besides payments to the agent and attorney, there are escrow payments, deposit and down payments, the title search and insurance, and many more.

You definitely need to estimate your abilities and decide for yourself, if you can manage it.

What If There Are Multiple Offers?

In a seller’s market, you probably will not be the only one wishing to buy the same house.

Sellers might be considering several offers at the same time and making decisions basing on the best offer that is available to them.

They may also play with one potential buyer, sending him a counter-offer and say no to all the others.

You, as a buyer, will never know although there are main points on how to stand out in the case of the multiple offers.

The best way to protect yourself from failing is to simply make your offer better than what others have made. Usually, your real estate agent will be able to tell if there is a chance for the existence of multiple offers, and you should act accordingly.

At first, receiving a pre-approval for the mortgage will be a good start to becoming the best potential seller’s choice as the statement is issued based on your credit report, bank statements, etc. and it shows your ability to pay for your possible purchase.

Also, let the seller know the financial options that you have: some mortgage conditions and funding programs are more attractive and may influence seller’s decision.

Bid close to his price — there is no much sense in offering significantly less than he wants on a market that is selling.

By doing this, you will save your time on continuous counter-offering process.

It would be helpful to review the contingencies list because the fewer clauses you have there, the more attractive your offer appears to the seller.

However, it is recommended not to remove home inspection, as the seller will not be liable for any uncovered issues with the house, and you will have to pay for the repairs on your own.

Showing your intentions by making a large good faith deposit and down payment usually convinces the owner of  your commitment and may finally tilt the balance towards your proposal.

Negotiating the price is a very stressful period in a house buying process.

You are not sure what the result would be, and exactly how much money you will spend.

In any case, keep in thought that the owner is interested in selling his home, and you are willing to buy it. With a little time and energy, you will be able to do it!