Our Team's 10 Step Guide to Home Buying!!!

 

Introduction

          Hello and welcome to our team's 10 Step Guide to Home Buying! Before we begin, we realize that you may only be in the information gathering stage at this point and not ready for the help of a real estate agent. When you are ready to interview agents for buyer representation, we would love the opportunity to speak with you! This page contains an overview of the services clients receive who select Maryland’s Property Team and Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage to represent their best interests. After review, we hope that you will contact our team to Schedule Your FREE No-Obligation Home Buyer Consultation!

          Having a real estate agent with a proven path to success is critical during your home search. Our team strives to make sure that our clients have a positive home buying experience! With our 45+ years of local knowledge and experience, we created our team's 10 Step Guide to Home Buying! From the beginning to the end we make sure our clients fully understand the home buying process, have clearly defined needs so we are always on the same page, communicate all information needed to make an informed decision and always give an honest 3rd party professional opinion. If you have any questions or there is anything that we can help with please Contact a Member of Our Team. Always the best!!!

We offer FREE No-Obligation Home Buyer Consultations:

  • Review our teams 10 Step Guide to Home Buying!
  • Step 1- Our Initial Buyer Interview!
    • Discuss your goals and any concerns you may have
    • What are you looking for in a real estate agent? 
  • Step 2- Developing Your Customized Home Buying Plan!
    • Define your specific home search criteria
    • Make sure you are aware of the best available financing options
  • Step 3- Finding Your New Home!
    • Make sure you are the 1st to know about new listings, properties coming soon & price changes!
      • Set up instant alerts through the local Multiple Listing Service!
      • Know about homes before Zillow, Realtor.com or anyone else!
      • Search on your own and set your own alerts!
    • The ability to show you any property listed for sale!
  • Have a decision to make about representation
    • If you like what we have to say we would love the opportunity to help you find your new home!
    • If you would like to go in another direction, we wish you the best and if anything changes in the future we will always be here to help!

We provide our services through a Performance Representation Agreement:

  • Our teams services are FREE to you!
    • It is customary for the seller to pay the buyer’s agents commission!
  • No upfront fees!
  • Nothing is owed if you do not make a purchase!
  • If Maryland’s Property Team does not perform as described in our team's 10 Step Guide to Home Buying, client reserves the right to cancel their agency agreement per the terms of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s representation agreement.
  • More About Our Team & Past Client Testimonials!

 

Outline

  • Step 1- Our Initial Buyer Interview
  • Step 2- Developing Your Customized Home Buying Plan
  • Step 3- Finding Your New Home
  • Step 4- Showing Appointments
  • Step 5- Selecting 'The One'!
  • Step 6- Negotiating the Purchase Agreement
  • Step 7- Planning from Contract to Closing
  • Step 8- Guiding the Purchase to Closing
  • Step 9- Closing
  • Step 10- Turning Your House into Your Home

 

10 Step Guide to Home Buying

Step 1- Our Initial Buyer Interview

          When deciding to buy a home it is important to choose an agent and brokerage that you feel comfortable with and trust. There can be great differences in the level of service offered to the client not only between different brokerages but also between agents in the same office. Maryland’s Property Team will go above and beyond expectations with our tried and proven 10 Step Guide to Home Buying; developed with 45+ years of local knowledge and experience! While buyers have access to more information than ever before, Zillow and the internet still have not found a way to account for the personal and emotional considerations of purchasing a property that you will call “HOME”! We make it a priority to inform our clients of how we are going to work together to accomplish your goals during the entire transaction at the very beginning. We believe that in order to help you we need to understand what you are looking for down to the smallest details. Some of the things that we will cover and discuss are:

  • Our Initial Buyer Interview
    • Why are you buying?
    • Who will be involved in the purchase?
    • When would you like to purchase by?
    • Where would you like to buy?
    • What would you like to buy?
    • What would you like your real estate agent to help you with?
    • Any specific questions or concerns you would like us to cover?
  • The Benefits of Exclusive Representation with Our Team You have a choice of how you wish to be represented
    • You will be presented with all state required disclosures
    • What you should know about agency in Maryland
      • You have the right to buyer agency representation
      • Buyer agency agreements are required to be in writing by law!
      • Listing agents always represent the seller!
    • Our Performance Representation Agreement
      • Our teams services are FREE to you!
        • It is customary for the seller to pay the buyer’s agent's commission!
      • No upfront fees!
      • Nothing is owed if you do not make a purchase!
      • If Maryland’s Property Team does not perform as described in our team's 10 Step Guide to Home Buying, client reserves the right to cancel their agency agreement per the terms of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s representation agreement.

 

Step 2- Developing Your Customized Home Buying Plan

          We recognize that every buyer has different needs and goals when purchasing a home. In this step we will begin Developing Your Customized Home Buying Plan to achieve your goals and create a path to success. Common items found in our customized home buying plans include:

  • Specific home search criteria
    • Location
    • Price range
    • Property type
      • Detached
      • Townhouse
      • Condo
    • # of Bedrooms
    • # of Bathrooms
    • Square footage
    • Lot size
    • Community amenities
    • Lifestyle features
    • Specific needs to even considering purchasing!
    • Wish list
  • A time line to get you moved in according to your schedule
    • Research market
      • We recommend ~6 months ahead of desired move in date
    • View houses
      • According to the National Association of Realtors, the average buyer spends 10 weeks looking at homes. Of course this can vary greatly buyer to buyer.
    • Need to go under contract
      • If there is a loan involved will probably need at least 30 days to go through the mortgage process
    • Desired closing date
      • In Maryland you legally own property at the end of settlement
      • Customary for a closing date of 30-60 days from contract acceptance but always negotiable
  • Making sure you are aware of the best available financing options
    • Foundation for your negotiating position with sellers!
      • Sellers are unlikely to consider an offer without proof of financing
      • Proof of financing tells sellers that you are ready, willing and able to purchase
    • How are you planning on financing your purchase?
      • Proof of funds
      • Pre-approval letter
        • It does not cost anything to get pre-approved by a mortgage professional
        • Recommend shopping options
          • Will not hurt your credit!
        • Know Before You Owe - Truth-in-Lending RESPA Integrated Disclosure - TRID
          • Funds needed for your down payment and closing costs
          • Monthly mortgage payment
            • Principle
            • Interest
            • Taxes
            • Insurance
          • Additional monthly costs to live- What most people really shop for!
            • Utilities
              • Electric
              • Heating/Cooling
              • Water
              • Sewer
            • HOA/Condo fees
            • Special assessments
            • Front foot
  • Costs to consider when purchasing
    • Inspections
    • Moving costs
    • Move in repairs
    • What if fund?
    • Recommend speaking with your accountant about tax advice!

Upcoming Blogs

  • Difference between pre-approved and pre-qualified
  • New Construction Considerations
    • Lot Premiums
    • Base package vs upgrades
    • Historical value
    • When do amenities go in
  • Turnkey vs. Fixer Upper
    • If want to consider fixer upper could get good value and finance money to make adjustments to your tastes
      • Mortgage interest tax deductible
  • Standard Sale vs foreclosure vs short sale
  • Raw Land
    • Feasibility Studies
    • Land & Build
    • Rehab existing lot)
  • Buying vs. Renting 

 

Step 3- Finding Your New Home

          The real estate market and how buyers search for homes has changed tremendously due to increases in technology. If you have not purchased a home in the last few years, you may be surprised by how much information is available. Being able to access so much information allows you to focus on properties that truly meet your needs. You need to be the 1st to know about properties coming on the market and ready to go look when something of interest comes on. Some of the benefits of working with our team when Finding Your New Home include:

  • Listing alerts from BrightMLS
    • The Multiple Listing Service that agents use!
    • Be the first to know about new listings, price changes and more...
      • Updates before Zillow, Realtor.com or anyone else
    • Set to specific home search criteria of your choice
    • Search on your own and set your own alerts
    • The most up to date & accurate data
  • Homesnap- homesnap.com/Adam-Heimbach (for searching on mobile devices)
  • The ability to show you any property listed for sale
    • Online
    • Yard signs
    • New construction
    • Open houses
    • Driving around
    • For sale by owner’s
    • Newspaper
    • Home magazines
    • Print advertising
    • Contacting local agents about properties coming on the market soon
    • Contacting homeowners to see if they are interested in selling

 

Step 4- Showing Appointments

          Sometimes nothing can give you the true feeling of a home like viewing it in person! While properties may seem very similar online they can be very different. Whenever there is a home that you would like to see we will be responsible for Showing Appointments. We can be extremely helpful to you during this stage in many ways including: 

  • Scheduling all showings
  • Always being present and looking out for your best interests
  • Access to detailed property information
  • Honest and 3rd party professional opinion
  • Pointing out important features and benefits
  • Red flags
  • Access to community amenities
  • Information on neighboring locations, local attractions & amenities
  • Where to find information on schools, demographics, crime statistics...
  • Answering specific questions and providing additional facts
  • What buyers should know in today's market!
    • Inventory is low
    • Well priced listings in good condition tend not to last long
    • Need to be ready to go look when something of interest comes on
    • Things that can be changed
      • Appliances
      • Lighting
      • Kitchens
      • Baths
      • Paint
      • Flooring
      • Roof
      • Siding
      • Cosmetics
      • Etc...
    • Things that cannot or are difficult to change
      • Location
      • Neighborhood
      • Property features
      • Lot size
      • Square footage
      • Floor plan
      • Community amenities
      • Lifestyle considerations
      • School district
      • Etc...
    • Almost every buyer across every price range compromises on something
    • Many homes needs some updating
      • If you are willing to consider a fixer upper you can get good value in the current market
      • Possibility finance improvements to your tastes
    • If a need can happen now and a want can be changed, we would suggest not to rule a property out right away
    • It is unlikely that a buyer will find exactly what they are looking for, priced perfectly and not have competition
  • Your impressions of each property will help us fine-tune the search process
    • We will ask you your positives and negatives after each showing
    • Why didn't we buy this one?

 

Step 5- Selecting 'THE ONE'

          Few things in life are more exciting than walking into a house that you want to call Home! There are also many important considerations to account for. We like to say that buyers purchase on emotion and justify with facts. When you select Maryland’s Property Team it is our job to make sure you have the knowledge to make informed decisions when purchasing. Some things that we can help you with when Selecting 'The One' are:

  • 2nd showing appointments
  • Access to additional information so that you can make an informed decision
    • Market data of similar homes to establish value
    • Mandatory seller disclosures
    • Important to know age and condition of major structural & mechanical components
    • Please let us know any questions you have
  • Contract states property is to be sold in as-is condition per the date of contract ratification
    • Best to assume the seller will not change or fix anything unless negotiated in contract
    • Contract states property will be delivered free of trash and debris & broom clean at settlement
    • Regardless of type of property inspections
      • Point of inspections is to discover unknown defects in property
        • Items not in proper working order
        • Not punch list or future renegotiation of the contract
        • No cosmetics
    • Items contract does not address
      • Professional cleaning
      • Steam cleaning
      • Paint
      • Nails in walls
      • Picture hangers
      • Mounted TV’s
      • Fixtures that require tools to remove generally are considered included with the property
      • Items of question should be addressed in the contract as inclusions or exclusions
  • Financing specifics- Know before you owe
    • Needed down payment
    • Closing costs
    • Monthly payment
    • Utility costs
    • Homeowners association or condominium fees and inclusions
  • Homeowners association or condominium amenities
    • Water access
      • Beach
      • Boat ramp
      • Personal watercraft
    • Pool
    • Golf
    • Common areas
    • Walking trails
    • Storage
    • Water & sewer
    • Cooling & heating
    • Maintenance & insurance
      • All inclusive
      • Studs in
      • Roof
      • Exterior
      • Windows
      • Private roads
      • Security
      • Snow removal
  • Ways to improve the property
  • Things that may affect the use
  • Any specific questions you have? Let us know and we will find the answer!

 

Step 6- Negotiating the Purchase Agreement

          There are no one size fits all ways when it comes to negotiating. We will make sure you have the knowledge to make informed decisions. Some of the things that occur when Negotiating the Purchase Agreement include:

  • Informing you of negotiation strategies
  • Structuring the offer to your advantage
  • Showing you ways to increase favorable responses from sellers
    • Striking a balance; motivated but not too eager
    • Looking beyond just price
    • Is it really 'The One'?
      • Is it the only one?
    • Keeping the big picture in mind
  • Preparing the purchase offer
    • According to your terms, on the home of your choice
    • Complex and involves various legal issues
      • We do not offer legal advice. Only attorneys can give legal advice!
    • Make sure all proper disclosures and mandatory forms are included
    • Summary of most important items
      • Purchase price
      • Seller closing help
      • Escrow deposit
      • Date of closing
      • Choice of settlement company
      • Type of financing
        • Pre-approval for loan type & offer amount
      • Homeowners association or condominium disclosures
      • As-is inspections with right to terminate
      • Property inspections with right to ask the seller to consider repairs upon discovery of defects
        • Structural/Mechanical
        • Mold
        • Environmental
        • Radon
        • Chimney
        • Termite
        • Lead Paint
        • Well
          • Yield
          • Bacteria
          • Chemical
          • Lead
          • Radium
        • Septic
        • Other
      • Home sale or rental contingencies
  • Presenting the purchase offer to the listing agent and/or seller
  • What May Happen?
    • Accept
    • Reject
    • Counter
  • Communicating the seller's response to you and if necessary suggest further negotiating options
  • Reach an agreement that is acceptable to you
  • Signing of appropriate documents to ratify the contract

 

Step 7- Planning from Contract to Closing

          Congratulations! You have successfully negotiated a ratified contract. This can be a very exciting time as you make plans to move into your new home. Before closing can occur there are generally numerous contingencies and obligations which need to be fulfilled by both parties. Our team will make you aware of what you will be responsible for and develop a plan to make sure that everything is taken care of. Typical things we will help you address include:

 

Step 8- Guiding the Purchase to Closing

          It's not over until it's over. When Guiding the Purchase to Closing we will track and inform you of the progress of your transaction. Our experience allows us to rarely be involved in uncharted waters and to navigate even the most difficult circumstances that may arise successfully. Some things that we will be available to help you with are: 

  • Track completion of all contingencies
  • Property inspection remedies
    • Review the inspection reports with you
      • Buyer be aware
      • Inspector, buyer and agent may feel some items are more important than others
      • Items not in proper working order should generally be fixed
        • Seller has to agree!
      • Not cosmetics
    • Suggest specialists if necessary
    • Licensed contractors
  • Home sale or rental contingencies
  • Work with the lender to complete mortgage process
    • Mortgage underwriting
    • Appraisal of the home by an independent certified appraiser
    • Required inspections
      • Termite, well, septic, etc...
    • Lender required repairs
    • Mortgage commitment
    • Closing Disclosure
      • Required by law to be delivered to buyer 3 days prior to when settlement can occur
  • Timeline to review homeowner's association or condo documents starts from receipt
    • 5 days for resale HOA
    • 7 days for resale condo
  • What to do if during title review there are clouds on the title
    • Flaws in prior transfers
    • Liens
    • Encumbrances
  • Having utilities and services set to be transferred
  • Attending the final walk-through
    • Making sure the property is in the same condition as the date of contract acceptance
    • Receipts for any agreed upon completed work or repairs
  • Any help you may need

 

Step 9- Closing

          The day of closing is a very exciting day in the purchasing process. The settlement company of your choice will be conducting the closing. At the end of the settlement you will own your new home! In order for the closing to go as smoothly as possibly it is best to know what to expect. Here are a few things to know about the day of closing:

  • What to bring to settlement
    • Funds needed to close
      • It is common to have these funds wired to the title company
        • Do not wire funds without calling and verifying instructions with the title company!
      • Photo ID- needed to verify your identity
      • Checkbook- just in case
      • Copy of homeowner's insurance policy and payment
    • The settlement company’s responsibilities
      • Prepare all documents to transfer title
        • Deed
        • ALTA settlement sheet
      • Witness all parties signing of documents
      • Collect keys, garage remotes, warranties and other needed items from the seller
      • Exchange all necessary funds
      • Provide all parties with copies of the settlement documentation
      • Ensure that the title is properly recorded in the local records office along with any mortgage liens
    • When all documents are signed and the funds exchanged the home is yours!

 

Step 10- Turning Your House into Your Home

          Maryland’s Property Team does not believe that our service to our clients should end at the settlement table. We believe that in our effort to stay committed to a high level of service to our clients, that service after the sale is equally as important. We want you to be our clients for life! Some things we can and will be available to help you with long after settlement include:

  • Answering any questions you may have
  • Your personalized 'Homebuyer Book'
    • Hard copy of most important documents regarding your purchase!
  • Free property evaluations
    • At the end of every year we will send you information on how your investment is doing
  • Continued access to our network of real estate related services
  • Activating your home warranty if applicable
  • Applying for the Homestead Tax Credit after 6 months of ownership
  • Helping you with Tax Assessment Appeals
  • Subscription to our Newsletter
    • Tips on home ownership
    • Local news & events
    • What is going on in the market
  • Being available for any real estate needs your friends, family or self may have!

 

In Conclusion

          Thank you for taking the time to review our team's 10 Step Guide to Home Buying! We hope this resource is of valuable assistance when purchasing your new home. To schedule your FREE No-Obligation Home Buyer Consultation or if there is anything we can help with please Contact a Member of Our Team! Always the best!!!