Unlocking the door to your dream home is easy when you have the right key! As an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR), I have the experience and knowledge to take you through the home buying process with ease.

Many buyers begin their search on the Internet and start calling listing agents to show them homes. Don’t do this! The first thing you need to understand is why you need your own Buyer’s Agent. Did you know the listing agent is working only for the seller? Any information you disclose will be conveyed to the sellers because it is the fiduciary responsibility of their agent to disclose any information they are able to find out about potential buyers. As a Buyer’s agent, no personal or financial information will be disclosed to the seller’s agent because we don’t want to harm our negotiating power. The seller pays for the buyer’s agent commission, so why not hire a true professional for free, working solely on your behalf?

The true first step is to sit down and talk about your needs, wants and buying criteria. It is so important as your agent, to understand exactly what you are looking for. As we go through the process, you will find you usually end up making some compromises because it can be a true challenge to find one home that has everything on your list. I can promise you I will work very hard finding your dream home.

Once we analyze your needs, the next step is for you to obtain a preapproval. A good lender will review your income, debt ratio, employment and credit scores to determine what you are qualified to purchase. Once that number is established, he can provide you with more detailed information regarding your total estimated monthly payment and any closing costs. He will also help you determine which loan program is best for you. This will also save us time so we are only viewing those homes you can afford.

Now the fun part. Time to find homes to view! There are many websites for you to search for homes. I will also be searching myself for you using the criteria you have provided. I will email you links to view homes that I have chosen. You can send me links to any homes you may have found yourself. There are many things to consider prior to viewing homes so once you pick your list of desired homes to view, I will be doing some upfront legwork for you. If the home is a short sale, I will contact the listing agent to find out how many liens there are, which banks the liens are through and if the sellers have been preapproved for a short sale. All of these things can affect the time it may take you to get to the closing table. If it is bank owned, what type of financing will they allow? Sometimes if the home needs many repairs, it will not qualify for financing and would need to be handled only as a cash sale. If you are financing, of course this will eliminate this property.

Once we determine which properties will be a good fit, I will set up an itinerary for you. Usually 5-6 homes are the maximum to schedule in one day. Most of the time, it will take several trips to find a home you like. I prefer to give 24 hours notice whenever possible so the sellers can be ready for us.

Once you choose a home, it is time to write an offer to purchase. I will prepare a market analysis on the home you have chosen, so we can determine if the list price is where it should be. This will give us a basis for determining our offer price. There are other things to consider. Will you need assistance with closing costs? Will you want the seller to provide a home warranty? How soon can you close? Also, any offer will be subject to a satisfactory inspection, appraisal at offer price or higher and ultimately a final approval from your lender. This is also the time to collect an earnest money deposit (EMD) which will need to be deposited into an escrow account within 24 hours.

After the offer is submitted, we usually give the sellers 24-48 hours to consider the offer. They can accept it as written, counter it, or outright reject it. This is the part where you will be glad you have a strong negotiator working on your behalf. The negotiations are the most difficult part of the transaction.

Once everyone comes to an agreement, you will have 7-10 days to have your buyer inspection. I will walk you through this process and will be there with you during the inspection. Generally, an inspection is for the buyer to obtain a baseline on the home and understand the future maintenance needs of the home. It is also to determine if there is any major health or safety issues that need to be addressed. Some of the major items that may cause you to go back to the table and renegotiate would be a bad roof, mold in the attic, unacceptable levels of radon gas or a failed water test. The cost of an inspection will vary depending on the size of the home and what all you choose to have done. You can budget between $300 – $600 usually for this.

Once we are through the inspection period, you will need to meet with your lender to make formal application. At this time, he will formally collect things like paystubs, tax returns, bank account and asset information and will advise you about locking in your interest rate. Then he will order the appraisal.

After the appraisal comes back, it goes to the lender’s underwriting department for review. The underwriting department will also determine if there are any other conditions that need to met by the buyers. They may need additional verification of things like deposits into your checking/savings accounts, questionable items on your credit report and many other little things. Usually these are all easy to overcome.

The whole process takes 30-45 days so once we reach this point, closing day will be 2-3 weeks out. Once the target closing date is established, you will need to secure one years paid homeowners insurance on your new home and provide a copy of the paid receipt to the lender. You will also need to call the gas and electric companies to arrange to have the power transferred to your name, effective the day of closing.

You will have your final closing documents to review usually 48 hours prior. Your lender will determine the amount of funds you need to bring to closing and you will be required to bring a certified check to closing along with your driver’s license for identification. Then, signing the closing papers is your last step. You are now proud new homeowners!

Buying a home is one of the most important decisions in your life and I would love to walk you through your journey.