Buyers and Sellers Guide

Buying a Home

When you buy a home, you’re probably making one of your life’s biggest financial decisions. The process is never really easy, but it doesn’t have to be complex or stressful either – ensuring that it won’t be entails careful planning and having a clear idea about what you want.

Preparing to Buy
Get your green file ready, you’ll need this for your loan application. It will contain financial documents and information such as bank statements, investments, tax returns, credit cards and loans, insurance, and so on. Check your credit report – you can get it for free once a year from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Your credit score will have an impact on the loan amount you’ll get approved for.

Choosing a Real Estate Agent
How the real estate market works can sometimes be puzzling to those not familiar with it, but not to a real estate professional. Find a local, preferably full-time, real estate agent with plenty of successful transactions under their belt and who truly knows the areas where you want to live. The right agent will help you weed through property listings, process the necessary paperwork, guide you in making more informed decisions, and help you steer clear of potential problems.

Loans and Mortgages
There are many different kinds of loans and the best one for you will depend on your finances and particular goals. Consider the pros and cons of each mortgage type. Get a pre-approval letter from a lender; it’s a sign to sellers that you’re a serious buyers.

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Looking for your Home
Learn more about the neighborhoods you’re interested in; check if your future home is close to work, schools, shopping, or main roads. Drive around the area at different times of the day and different days of the week. List down the features that you really need (vs. those that you just want) to help you narrow down your options.

Making an Offer
Your agent will help you make the best offer to the seller. Be prepared for counteroffers or rejections, that’s just how the process goes. Having a good agent will help greatly at this point, as they’ll know how best to negotiate on your behalf.

Escrow, Inspection and Appraisal
As you begin escrow, the help of your agent and other professionals will be crucial in this part of the transaction. Once the seller accepts your initial agreement and deposit, a property inspection needs to be done, and your lender will also employ an appraiser to determine the value of the property.

When all the paperwork has been processed, signed, and filed, the closing agent will provide the buyer and the seller with a settlement statement, and turn over the keys to you. Congratulations, you’re ready to move into your new home!

Selling a Home

Selling your home need not be a headache-inducing process – and it won’t be if you plan ahead and get the right help.

Deciding to Sell
Establish your desired time frame for selling. You’ll want to be up-to-date on the current state of your local real estate market in order to properly price and decide on the best time to sell your home. You will also want to get information on properties that are similar to yours. Once you’ve made up your mind to sell, it’s time to consult a professional.

Choosing an Agent
While you can sell your property on your own, working with a real estate professional can make a huge difference in the time it takes to sell the home and the price you can get from it. Your agent will make sure that your opportunities are maximized by using the most effective marketing and advertising strategies for your home. Select an agent that you can establish a good rapport with; choose someone who clearly understands your goals.

Preparing Your Home
Your agent will help you set a realistic price for your home and make your property more appealing to potential buyers. For homebuyers, first impressions count a lot, and prepping your home properly can help it get a lot of favorable feedback and higher offers. In order to reach more interested buyers, a good agent will ensure your home gets total market exposure, from ads in traditional media outlets to online platforms.

Accepting Offers
When you start to receive offers, it’s best to remember that price is not always the sole determining factor for accepting an offer. Your agent will help you in evaluating every proposal you get without compromising your marketing position and will make a thorough assessment of each offer to help you make the right decision.

Inspection and Appraisals
During this stage, the buyer will have your property inspected, and a licensed appraiser will also be determining your property’s value for the buyer’s lending institution. Typically, buyers who have a lender’s pre-approval letter or written loan commitment have a better chance of loan approval.

Be prepared for problems that could happen during this time, like something in your home breaking down or the buyer’s loan not coming through on time. Unforeseen problems like these happen all the time, so don’t panic. Your real estate agent should help you take care of them.

Once all contingencies have been met and all important documents signed, you can then turn over your keys to the brand-new owner of your former home. Congratulations, you’ve just made a sale!