Welcome to my Buyer's Guide. This is a lengthy page of information but I tried to include most aspects of the the Buying Process to give you a good idea of what you might expect to encounter. Of course not all transactions are the same so it may differ in your case but this will serve as a good guide line. If you have other specific questions, please just contact me and I will get back to you as soon as possible with an answer.

The Buying Process

If you’re thinking about buying a home, the first thing you should do is focus on exactly what you're looking for. Start by establishing your priorities in these three areas:

  1. Location: How will the location of schools, shops and transportation affect your choice of neighborhoods?
  2. Personal tastes: How large a home do you need? What style of architecture do you prefer? On what kind of lot?
  3. Budget: How much home is wise for you to own?

There is also the question of whether or not to buy a new home. New homes tend to have more spacious living and family rooms, and they’re generally easier to maintain. However, many homes built years ago offer more total space for the money and larger yards. Taxes may also be lower.

Many people are charmed by the character of an older home, but deterred by potential maintenance costs. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage's Home Protection Plan gives you a safety net for unexpected repairs on many home systems and appliances for a full year or more after you move in.

If you’re thinking of buying a new construction home, there are other matters to take into account. 

This mortgage calculator below will help you estimate your monthly mortgage payment. Simply enter the price of the home, your down payment and loan details to calculate your monthly payment.

 

Resources & tools

While you’re thinking everything through, do a little research by conducting a property search and reviewing our neighborhood info. Use the mortgage calculator at the bottom of this page or contact our mortgage experts to get an idea of what your costs will be.

Once you have a sense of what you want in a home, contact me and I'll help you find neighborhoods and properties that appeal to you. Provide as many details as possible about what you have in mind. This will help them determine which properties you should see. With our experts at your side, you can rest assured you will find the right one.

On the road: looking at homes

When you go out to look at homes, we suggest bringing the following items along:

  • Notebook and pen for note-taking
  • Flashlight for seeing enclosed areas
  • Tape measure for checking room sizes, clearance, etc.
  • Camera to help you remember details about the home

Your real estate agent will likely provide detailed information about each home you see. That said, don’t be afraid to snoop around a little. You will want to find out as much as possible. Sellers understand that because their home is on the market, it will be looked over pretty thoroughly.

Also, don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have – about specific rooms, features or functions. Pay particular attention to areas that could become problematic, such as additions, defects and areas that have been repaired. As a potential buyer, you have the right to know.

If you want to go back to a home for another look, your agent will be happy to schedule an appointment.

8 questions to ask when looking at a home

People buy homes for many reasons: to be closer to their jobs, get extra space for a growing family, downsize, or other lifestyle changes. With your own reasons in mind, consider the following questions:

  1. Is there enough room for you now and in the near future?
  2. Is the home's floor plan right for your family?
  3. Is there enough storage space?
  4. Will you have to replace the appliances?
  5. Is the yard the right size for you?
  6. Are there enough bathrooms?
  7. How much maintenance or upgrading will you need to do right away or later?
  8. Will your furniture work in this home?

Finding the right home for you

There is no set number of homes you should look at before you decide to make an offer on one. The perfect home may be waiting for you on your first visit. If it isn't, the house-hunting process will help you get a feel for the homes in the community and create your “short list.”

If you're looking in more than one community, try to make the most of each house-hunting trip. Stop by the local chamber of commerce to pick up promotional literature. You can also ask your agent for welcome kits, maps and information about schools, churches and recreational facilities.

The mortgage calculator below will help you estimate your monthly mortgage payment. Simply enter the price of the home, your down payment and loan details to calculate your monthly payment.

Finding The Right Neighborhood

If you’re unsure what to expect from a new neighborhood, your agent can help.

If you have children, your real estate agent can show you where the schools are, and provide information about school districts, including test scores, extracurricular activities, bus service and more. If you're relocating, your agent may be able to put you in touch with teachers and principals when you visit.

Your agent can also give you pointers on where to shop, eat, and find the kind of lifestyle you’re seeking. These types of local amenities should weigh into your decision-making – and of course, you can always find out more about an area by searching online.

As they say, location, location, location. The neighborhood where a home is located will have a big impact on its price (and on its resale value). You’ll want to be well-informed.

To find out if a home you’re looking at is priced well for the area, we suggest:

  • Checking out public records in that neighborhood. You can get all the information you want about recent sales, including prices and listing times, by calling the County Recorder of Deeds.
  • Asking your real estate agent. If you're interested in a particular home, an agent may be able to provide you with pricing for “comparables”—other homes in the area that are roughly the same size and age. There will always be some differences between homes, but this is still a good way to evaluate the seller's asking price.

    You’ve found the right home. Your offer has been accepted. Now it’s time to close.

    You “close” on a home when the seller is satisfied that you meet all conditions of the purchase contract. This clears the way for the deed to the property to be recorded in your name.

    In most cases, you'll be given the opportunity to inspect the home immediately prior to closing. When you do, check on any work the seller agreed to have done in response to your initial inspection. You should also check the condition of walls and ceilings from which window treatments, pictures or any other attached furnishings have been removed. If you find any problems, don't hesitate to bring them up at the closing. It is the seller's responsibility to correct them.

    In preparation for closing, your agent will help you address all of these questions:

    • Are all the necessary inspections complete?
    • Are all the required repairs complete?
    • When will you conduct your final walk-through inspection?
    • Is your attorney satisfied that title to the property is clear (no one else has a claim on it)?
    • Have you confirmed a date, time and place for your closing?
    • Who will conduct the closing?
    • Is your insurance policy paid and ready to go into effect the day you close? (You'll need a receipt for proof.)
    • What form of check should you use (and who should it be made out to) to pay closing costs?
    • Has your closing agent told you the closing amount?
    • Do you have receipts for the items you have already paid for, including your deposit and inspection fees?
    • Do you have your checkbook to cover any last-minute extras that might have been overlooked?

    At closing, you can expect these seven things to happen:

    1. The lender's representative will ask for your paid home insurance policy.
    2. The agent will list the adjustments. These include the money you owe the seller (the remainder of the down payment, prepaid taxes) and what the seller owes you (unpaid taxes, prepaid rent).
    3. You will sign the mortgage. This gives the lender legal rights to the property if you don't make your payments.
    4. You will sign the mortgage note, which is the promise to repay the loan in regular monthly payments.
    5. You will get title from the seller in the form of a signed deed.
    6. The lender's representative will collect the closing costs from you and give you a settlement statement of all the items you have paid for.
    7. The deed and mortgage will be recorded in the town or county Registry of Deeds.
    8. If you have additional questions about the closing process, talk with your agent or use the form on this page to contact us.

    Once you have the keys, you'll want to have the locks changed. Also, put your deed and other important paperwork from the closing in a secure place, preferably a safe deposit box. Even though it's all on file with the county, it's smart to know where your copies are and have access to them at all times.

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