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Buyer / Seller

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Real Estate Glossary


Tools for buying a new home

Summer is the busiest time of year for home sales. If you want to buy a house this summer, spring is a good time to get the ball rolling. It takes time to get all the financial stuff prepared and fixing any credit errors. You can check out or

Whether your buying your first house or searching for your dream home, we want to make buying a new home easier for you. Look over these steps and tips below:

  1. Define what you want – start by creating a prioritized list of features you want in your next home and the reasons why. Use it as your search guide, but remember that depending on your funding, you will probably need to make some compromises. In addition, you will need to consider where you want to live. Location is a huge part of any move. We can help you narrow down the choices by sharing market trends and local information like community links.
  2. Figure out what you can afford – you can start by crunching the numbers. Lenders generally stipulate that you spend no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on a mortgage payment or 36% on total debts. Other factors include, the amount of cash you have available for the down payment, your credit history, current interest rates, closing costs and cash reserves required by the lender, and the type of mortgage you select. Contact us and we can help you with several types of calculations including Affordability Calculator, amortization Table and Monthly Mortgage payment Calculator. Email us with any questions.
  3. Shopping for Homes – Once you know what community you'd like to live in and have an idea of how much house you can afford, its time to start checking out actual properties. – Contact us and we can narrow your search and do virtual tours.

    Next, we can begin visiting homes in person that are in your target area and price range. When comparing homes, make sure to look at all aspects of the property. Is the property tax approximately the same? Are both the houses renovated? Do they both have the same amount of bedrooms and bathrooms? Are both houses located on the same or similar streets? Does either house have any encumbrances?
  4. Making An Offer – Once you find the home you want, you need to make an offer for the house. Typically this is a very difficult and trying time since both parties have totally different goals. In most cases it is better to have an agent do the negotiating. If you do have any personal interaction with the homeowner, don't give out any information about your move, your current housing status, financial status or your feeling about their property – positive or negative. This could hurt you in future negotiations.

    This might also be a good time to consider purchasing a home protection plan. These insurance policies can be purchased by the buyer or seller and help protect against unexpected costs or home repairs during the listing period or in the initial years after a home has been purchased.
  5. Inspection and Insurance – After your offer is accepted you will need to set up, coordinate and interpret various inspections, including insect, radon, building quality, oil tank, title, etc. You will also need to arrange for homeowners insurance and finalize the mortgage.

    This is a major step in the buying process and there are many potential problems that can be discovered during this period. These include a leaky roof, radon gas, termite damage, a foundation problem, and wall cracks, to name a few. These problems happen all the time. The difference between closing on your dream home and starting the process all over again is what occurs during the negotiations between you and the seller. You will also have the option of a “walk through” before the closing. This is your last chance to make sure that all of the items that you have agreed upon were completed to your satisfaction.
  6. The Final Closing – Before you arrive at the closing, make sure all the necessary paperwork and deposits have been completed. If not done properly, this could result in delays.

    Once you close, it's official – you own the house. But there might be a few things you want to do before you lay out the welcome mat. These include arranging for an alarm system, turning on the electricity, subscribing to the local paper, cleaning or replacing the carpet, arranging for lawn services, etc.

Home Buying Tips

  1. Know your seller's motivation – they may need to sale quickly.
  2. The “listing” or “asking” price is what the seller ideally would like to receive; however, it's not necessarily what he or she will settle for.
  3. Before you make an offer, know the market value of the home.
  4. Be flexible. Never say, “Take it or leave it”. An attitude like this can ruin the deal.
  5. Each time you increase your offer price; ask for something in return such as repairs, appliances, even lawn furniture.
  6. Take a tip from poker players and never show your hand or reveal your next step.
  7. If you plan to pay cash or have a tentative commitment for a mortgage loan, use your strong financial position as a bargaining tool.
  8. Don't let your emotions get in the way of negotiating the best deal. Leave your pride, fear, anger and emotional attachments at home.


Q – What is the first step to buying a home?
A - Make sure you are ready – psychologically and financially. Ask yourself the following questions: Do I have a steady income? Is my debt lower than my total income? Do I have enough money to pay for the down payment and closing costs? Am I working hard enough to improve bad credit? Do I have the time for the necessary upkeep? Once you can answer, “Yes” to these questions, you are several steps ahead of the game and that much closer to becoming a homeowner.

Q – Should I lock in the mortgage rate?
A - Because the interest rate market fluctuates constantly and is subject to quick movements without notice, locking in a mortgage rate with a lender certainly protects you from the time your lock is confirmed to the day it expires. Lock-ins make sense in a rapidly-rising rate environment or when borrowers expect rates to climb during the next 30 to 60 days, which is typically the amount of time a lock-in remains in effect. A lock-in given at the time of application is useful because it may take the lender several weeks to prepare a loan application. Some lenders require you to pay a lock-in fee to guarantee both the rate and the terms. If your lock-in expires before you close on the loan, most lenders will base the loan rate on current market interest rates and points.

Q – What is a “Statement of Information?
A – The statement of Information provides the title company with the information they need to distinguish the buyers and sellers of real property from others with similar names, thereby eliminating judgments, liens, or other matters in the public records which otherwise may affect the title.

Q – Is it possible to buy a home below market price?
A – Certainly, but do not hold your breath. It takes a lot of determination and time to find a real bargain. Some likely targets may be foreclosed property, a fixer-upper, hard to sell new homes in a housing development.

Q – What will I need to bring with me when I go to sign my papers?
A – You will need to bring a valid driver's license. This will be needed in order to have the papers notarized. If you need to bring money to close the escrow, these funds must be in the form of a cashier's check.

Q – What contingencies should appear in the offer?
A – When you look to purchase a home, anticipate potential problems. But protect against them so that if something does go wrong, you can cancel the contract without penalty. This is what contingencies allow you to do. They should be included in any offer your present to buy a home. Most offers include two standard contingencies: A financing contingency and an inspection contingency. Without contingencies, a buyer could forfeit his deposit under certain circumstances if he backs out of a deal.

Q – How long will my signing appointment take?
A – Please allow 45-60 minutes for signing the loan documents. More time may be necessary for additional escrow papers to sign.

Q – When will I get my deed showing proof of ownership?
A – The grand deed is recorded at the office of the County Recorder on the day escrow closes. Congratulations you are then a homeowner. It may take 3-6 weeks for you to receive the original deed, which will be mailed to you directly from the County Recorder 's office.


Learn the basics – Steps & Tips

The first impression that the house makes on people is the one they carry away with them. To a prospective buyer, the total value of your home isn't limited to the price paid. When looking at possible new homes, the buyer is motivated by what the house will do for his or her family. Don't rely on the buyer to use his or her imagination. It's charm, soundness, comfort and attractiveness must be obvious from the minute they view the house from the street to the time they walk out the back door.

  1. Creating a marketing Plan – create a marketing plan for your home that will help distinguish it in your local marketplace and attract buyers to your property. We can help you customize a personalized selling program.
  2. Setting the price – A key part of the marketing plan is setting the list price. If a home is priced too low, it may cost you money. If a home is priced too high, potential buyers may be scared away. To determine the best asking price review the cost of recently sold homes, evaluate the competition and study marketplace trends. We are trained to use this information to help you reach the right asking price.
  3. Showtime – Now it's time to get your home ready for the spotlight. Start with a good cleaning, then eliminate any clutter, add a fresh coat of paint and tidy up the yard. Making your house appear as attractive as possible from the street is important. Below are a few tips:

    Maintain the yard

    Address the flowerbeds

    Shrubs should not obscure windows

    Straighten up the woodpile

    Remove any piles in the yard

    Driveway should be in good condition

    Fill cracks in concrete or asphalt

    Walkways should be trimmed and clean

    Paint outside of house if peeling

    Add potted or hanging plants to give entry a cheerful feel

    Wash windows

    Ask your friends to do a walk thru and make suggestions

    Carpet should be clean and odorless

    Be sure house is well lit

    Clean all light fixtures

    Pack away personal belongings and repair any nail holes

    If you have pets, it is absolutely essential that your house does not smell like you have them – You want the first response to be pleasant

    Show off the entryway

    Clean the fireplace

    Paint any room that shows wear

    Talk up the best features of the house

    Kitchen must be spotless

    Run lemon through garbage disposal and trash compactor

    Floors must be clean

    Remove clutter from kitchen countertops

    Fix dripping faucets

    Clean oven

    Bathroom must be spotless and odor free

    Hang pretty towels from racks

    Eliminate any extra furniture from bedrooms

    Garage should be neat and organized

    Make a list of extra features and inform potential buyer

    In Summary, 13 Ways to make your home look like a Million Bucks:

    1. Make an entrance
    2. Conquer Clutter
    3. Make “Less is More” your mantra
    4. Float Furniture
    5. Furniture – Mix it up
    6. Rediscover “Lost” spaces
    7. Let the Sun Shine In
    8. Light the Way
    9. Make a Splash with Color
    10. Paint it black – Makes a great trim on accessories
    11. Make your Art Sing
    12. Accessorize with Flair
    13. Bring the Outdoors In
  4. Protecting Yourself
    1. Ask for ID
    2. Ask for pre-approval letters
    3. Lock up and hide collectibles and valuables
    4. Do not allow your children to open doors to strangers
    5. Control your pets
    6. Remove any dangerous items
  5. Making the Deal – A buyer has made an offer – now it is time to negotiate. We can help guide you through this process. We can help you arrive at an acceptable price, terms and conditions. Once you have accepted an offer, help keep the deal together by meeting deadlines and criteria, including home inspections, appropriate buyer visits, scheduled deposits and other steps. As the closing nears, you may also need to perform repairs or do additional work to the house as agreed upon in your contract. In addition, you will need to have the house “broom clean” prior to the closing so that the buyer can complete a final walk through. When you finally arrive at the closing table, come prepared with the appropriate certificates and approvals as required by the town.


Q – Do sellers have to disclose the terms of other offers?
A – Sellers are not legally obligated to disclose the terms of other offers to prospective buyers.

Q – How is a home's value determined?

  • An Appraisal is a professional estimate of a property's market value based on recent sales of comparable properties, location, square footage and construction quality. On average, an appraisal costs about $300 for a $250,000 house.
  • A comparative market analysis is an informal estimate of market value performed by a real estate agent based on similar sales and property attributes.
  • You also can get a comparable sales report for a fee from private companies that specialize in real estate data or find comparable sales information.

Q – What are the two most important factors when selling a home?
A – Price and condition are the two most important factors, even in a down market.

Seller Transaction Checklist – listed in order task is typically performed

  1. Pre-qualification issued & loan programs discussed
  2. Property previewed and selected
  3. Offer presented
  4. Contract ratified
  5. Escrow Opened; Check deposited; Preliminary Report ordered
  6. Loan application taken
  7. Inspections ordered
  8. Credit Report ordered
  9. Appraisal ordered
  10. Contract reviewed & dates noted
  11. Escrow instructions/amendments drawn
  12. Escrow instructions/amendments signed
  13. Preliminary report reviewed
  14. Disclosure package provided
  15. Preliminary Report reviewed
  16. Loan program selected
  17. Inspections reviewed and/or contingencies released
  18. Loan contingencies released; Deposit increased
  19. Receipt of increased funds
  20. Final accumulation of documents for loan approval
  21. Escrow Officer clears appropriate title report items.
  22. Package forwarded for underwriting
  23. Discussion regarding selection of hazard insurance
  24. Loan approval
  25. Loan documents ordered
  26. Loan documents delivered to escrow
  27. Hazard insurance ordered
  28. Discussion regarding moving date and moving van
  29. Realtor provides final instructions to escrow
  30. Loan closing conditions reviewed with Escrow Officer
  31. Funding package reviewed
  32. Loan funds issued
  33. Team decides what final actions are required to close
  34. Documents prepared for recording
  35. Escrow calls all parties to notify everyone of closing
  36. Escrow closed; Final accounting; checks written and forwarded; closing statements prepared
  37. Final walk through inspection
  38. Signed loan documents returned to lender with hazard insurance policy
  39. Final Funds from buyer deposited to Escrow at day end
  40. Documents recorded with County Recorder
  41. Keys released to new owner


Seller – Real Estate commission
Shared – ½ escrow fee
Seller – Premium for Owner's Policy of Title Insurance
Seller – Documentary transfer tax
Seller - Document preparation for deed
Seller - Payoff of all loans in seller's name
Seller - Accrued interest to lender being paid off
Seller/Negotiable – Termite inspection
Seller/Negotiable – Inspections
Seller/Negotiable – Home Warranty
Seller – any judgments, tax liens, etc. against the seller
Seller/Buyer – Tax proration
Seller/Buyer – Unpaid homeowners dues
Seller – Homeowners assoc. transfer fee
Seller – Any and all-delinquent taxes

Buyer – Premium for Lender's Policy Insurance
Buyer – Notary fees
Buyer – Recording charges for all documents in buyer's name
Buyer – All new loan charges
Buyer – Interest on new loan from date – 30 days prior to first payment
Buyer – Beneficiary statement fee for existing loan
Buyer – Insurance premium

McDade Homes and/or Real Estate Alternatives will not be responsible for errors in copy or pictures