Real Estate Buyers Information
For over 47 years Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors has helped satisfied buyers and sellers through the intricacies of their real estate transactions. Although the needs and the process may be different depending on whether you are a buyer or a seller, the ultimate goal is the same. The professional realtors at Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country are ready to assist clients and customers through all steps of the process.
Whether you are buying or selling, you will want to know who your agent is working for and whose interest they represent prior to sharing any confidential information. According to Vermont Law all real estate agents must inform you by written disclosure about agency representation and what your choices are. This is not a contract and you are not obligated in any way to a specific agent by signing it. Please review the document provided here.
Buying a home can be one of the largest financial endeavors a person can do in their lifetime. Therefore, careful consideration and care must be taken during this exciting process. Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country's professional realtors can guide you through this process. Here is information on the steps towards home ownership.
Are You Ready?
Do You Know What You Want?
Whether you are an experienced real estate buyer or a first-time homebuyer, ask yourself why you want to buy. What would you like when you purchase your real estate and do you have a purchasing timeframe? Regardless, the more you know about the real estate marketplace, the better you will be about defining your goals.
Do You Have The Money?
Homes and financing are closely intertwined. (Financing is the difference between the purchase price and the downpayment, commonly referred to as the mortgage.) In addition to a down payment, purchasers also need cash for closing costs (the final costs associated with closing the loan). Less money down means higher monthly mortgage payments, and if purchased with less than 20% as a down payment, private mortgage insurance may be required. that requires the owner to pay some or all of your settlement expenses. Speak with local REALTORS® for details.
You need good credit. For at least one year prior to purchasing a home, you should assure that every credit card bill, rent check, car payment and other debt is paid in full and on time.
Get a REALTOR®
Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors are members of The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) includes 1 million brokers and salespeople, individuals bound together with a strong Code of Ethics, extensive training opportunities and a wealth of community information.
All properties are unique. No two properties -- even two identical models on the same street -- are precisely and exactly alike. Homes differ and so do contract terms, financing options, inspection requirements and closing costs. Also, no two transactions are alike.
Today real estate transaction involve a lot of details from forms, financing, inspections, marketing, pricing and negotiating, it makes sense to work with one of our well informed, professional and helpful agents.
Once you select a Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country REALTOR® you will establish a proper business relationship. Some REALTORS® represent sellers while others represent buyers. Each REALTOR® will explain the options available, describe how he or she typically works with individuals and provide you with complete agency/consumer disclosures (the ins and outs of your relationship with the agent) as required in Vermont and New Hampshire
Once your relationship is established, the REALTOR® will provide you with information detailing current market conditions, financing options and strategies that might apply to a given situation. Remember: During the entire process you will be updated to each step in the transaction process.
Get Loan Preapproval
Before looking at homes, ask the real estate agent to set a up an appointment with a mortgage lender. Sellers today want assurances that if they take their house off the market for a buyer requiring bank financing that the buyer has been pre approved to purchase a house. A buyer with a pre approval letter will be in a stronger position compared to a buyer who has not taken that step.
The lender will inquire about your employment, income, and debts, verify your credit report then estimate the maximum mortgage for which you qualify. The lender will then issue a letter stating that you are pre approved for a mortgage in a certain amount.
Look at Homes
A home is more than just a collection of bedrooms and bathrooms. Several properties, each with the same number of bedrooms, baths, and the same price, may be drastically different in design, commuting distances, lot sizes, tax costs, interior dimensions, and exterior finishes.
Since we are all different it's important to list the features and benefits you want in a home. Consider such things as pricing, location, style, size, and amenities.
Take a look at your priorities, if you can't get a home at your price with all the features you want, then what features are most important? Consider your needs in several years. If you'll need a larger home, maybe now is the time to buy a bigger house rather than moving or expanding in the future.
As a guide, you should maintain a file with information on each of the homes you like. You can do a search on the Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country website and print out listing pages, making notes for each one and passing that information on to the agent you have chosen to work with.
Choose a Home
Buying a home is a big decision so you want to do it right. You want to make sure it is the right home for you and your lifestyle.
As a buyer, here's what actually happens. A home has been placed on the market for which the seller has established an asking price as well as other terms. You can accept the seller's offer and create a contract; reject it and not make an offer; or suggest a different price or terms and make a counter-offer. If you choose this last option, the seller may accept, reject or make a counter-offer.
Make an Offer
State REALTOR® groups, working with legal counsel, have developed forms that are appropriate for real estate transactions in their state. Such documents include numerous sale conditions and their wording should be carefully reviewed to assure that they reflect the terms you want to offer. A Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtor can explain the general contracting process in your community as well as his or her role.
A proposal to buy includes both the price and terms. In some cases, terms can represent thousands of dollars in additional value for buyers or additional costs. Terms are extremely important and should be carefully reviewed.
How much do you offer?
People sometimes hear that the amount of your offer should be a certain percent below the seller's asking price or less than you're really willing to pay. In practice, the offer depends on the basic laws of supply and demand: If many buyers are competing for homes, then sellers will likely get full-price offers and sometimes even more. If demand is weak, then offers below the asking price may be in order.
How do you make an offer?
In Vermont and New Hampshire the real estate agents write the offers rather than which may be different from other parts of the country. Typically, once your offer is written it will be presented to the seller and the seller's representative. The seller, in turn, may accept the offer, reject it or make a counter-offer. Any change in an offer can be considered a "counter offer", and a buyer should remain closely connected to the real estate agent so any proposed change can be reviewed quickly.
How many inspections?
A number of inspections are common in residential real estate transactions. They include checks for wood boring insects, surveys to determine boundaries, appraisals to determine value for lenders, title reviews and structural inspections.
Structural inspections are particularly important. An inspector comes to the property to determine if there are material physical defects and whether expensive repairs and replacements are likely to be required in the next few years. Such inspections for a single-family home often require two or more hours, and buyers should attend. This is an opportunity to examine the property's mechanics and structure, ask questions and learn far more about the property than is possible with an informal walk-through.
What type of loan are you looking for and qualify for?
The mortgage you choose will likely be determined by at least several key factors:
- How much down? Loans vary in how much you need to put down with 5 percent down or less now being available.
- If you place less than 20 percent down, lenders will want the mortgage guaranteed by an outside third party such as the Veterans Administration (VA), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or a private mortgage insurer (PMI) Private mortgage insurance, is required by lender to protect against any mortgage defaults).
- How's your credit? The best rates and terms are only available to those with solid credit.
- Are you a first-time buyer? It might seem that "first-time buyer" means someone who has never owned property before, but under Vermont and New Hampshire programs, the term refers to those who have not owned property within the past three years. State-backed first-timer programs often feature smaller down payments and below-market interest rates.
How do you get a loan?
To obtain a loan you must complete a written loan application and provide supporting documentation. Documents include recent pay stubs, rental checks and tax returns for the past two or three years if you are self-employed. During the prequalification procedure, the loan officer will describe the type of paperwork required.
Where do you get a loan?
Mortgage financing can be obtained from mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers, savings and loan associations, mutual savings banks, commercial banks, credit unions, and some insurance companies.
The essential idea behind various forms of real estate insurance is to protect owners and lenders in the event of catastrophe. If something goes wrong, insurance can be the bargain of a lifetime.
There are various forms of insurance associated with home ownership, including these major types:
- Title insurance: Purchased with a one-time fee at closing, title insurance protects owners in the event that title to the property is found to be invalid. Coverage includes "lenders" policies, which protect buyers up to the mortgage value of the property, and "owners" coverage, which protects owners up to the purchase price. In other words, "owners" coverage protects both the mortgage amount and the value of the down payment.
- Homeowners' insurance: provides fire, theft and liability coverage. Homeowners' policies are required by lenders and often cover a surprising number of items, including in some cases such property as wedding rings, furniture and home office equipment.
- Flood insurance: Generally required in high-risk flood-prone areas, this insurance is issued by the federal government.
- Home warranties: Home warranties for existing homes are typically one-year service agreements purchased by sellers. In the event of a covered defect or breakdown, the warranty firm will step in and make the repair or cover its cost. Insurance policies and warranties have limitations and individual programs have different levels of coverage, deductibles and costs.
How do you get insurance?
The time to obtain insurance and warranty coverage is at closing, so speak with your Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country agent for a list of insurance brokers prior to closing. Be sure to ask about limitations, costs, deductibles and "endorsements" (additional forms of coverage that may be available).
Closings bring together a variety of parties who are part of the "transaction" process. For example, while the history of property ownership has been checked, it's possible that the records contain errors, unrecorded claims or flaws in the review itself, thus title insurance is necessary. At closing, transfer taxes must be paid and other claims must also be settled (including closing costs, legal fees and adjustments). In most Vermont and New Hampshire transactions, the closings are done with both buyer and seller each having a lawyer.
Closing is typically held in an office setting, often with both buyer and seller and the result is that title to the property is transferred from seller to buyer. The buyer receives the keys and the seller receives payment for the home. From the amount credited to the seller, the closing agent subtracts money to pay off the existing mortgage and other transaction costs. Deeds, loan papers, and other documents are prepared, signed and filed with local property record offices.
What you need to do.
Before closing, real estate buyers typically have a final opportunity to walk through the property to assure that its condition has not materially changed since the sale agreement was signed. At closing itself, all papers have been prepared by closing agents, title companies, lenders and lawyers. This paperwork reflects the sale agreement and allows all parties to the transaction to verify their interests. For instance, buyers get the title to the property, lenders have their loans recorded in the public records and state governments collect their transfer taxes. Also at closing, determine the status of the utilities required by the home, items such as water, sewage, gas, electric and oil service. You want utility bills to be paid in full by owners as of closing and you also want services transferred to your name for billing. Usually such transfers can be done without turning off utilities. The real estate agents can provide contact numbers and related information.
About two weeks after closing, contact your local property records office and confirm that your deed has been officially recorded. Such records are public notices that show your interest in the property.