Categoryhome buying tips

Purchasing a home: closing the deal and moving in

Closing day is typically 30 to 45 days from when the Seller and Buyer agreed to terms and signed a final Purchase Agreement. 

In most eastern states the closing is hosted by the Seller’s attorney.

The mortgage lender’s attorney is more often the host in south eastern states.

Many western states have Escrow Agents or Title Company officers performing the tasks of the closing attorney.

Events between Acceptance of an Offer to Purchase and the closing day are covered under Finishing Details
Items paid by the Buyer and items paid by the Seller are summarized on the Settlement Statement,     
The Settlement Statement is the main focus of attention on Closing day.Get a copy of the Settlement Statement at least a day before the closing.Review every item with the help of your real estate agent.Demand changes if items the Seller should pay have been charged to the Buyer.

Mortgage Lender’s Attorney
Buying a home is really a transaction between a Seller and a Buyer, and the Mortgage Lender who puts up most of the money.In our example the Buyer put up $31,000 on a $150,000 house. The Mortgage Lender put up $120,000 in the form of a loan to the Buyer To protect his $120,000, the Mortgage Lender wants to make sure papers are filed with the court and everything else about the closing is done properly.

Escrow Agents and Title Company Officers(closing attorney)
To reduce the cost of selling property, some states specify  the use of Escrow Agents or Title Company officers to handle the functions of a closing attorney.The Escrow Agent or Title Company officer deals with the Seller, the Buyer and his Mortgage lender separately. There need not be an actual “closing day” where Buyer, Seller and Mortgage Lender sit down together. The Escrow Agent or Title Company officer files all documents with the court, performs all other tasks of a Closing Attorney, and delivers a settlement statement to Buyer and Seller.

Viewing Homes For Sale

Strolling through homes is the fun part, so much so that we often loose track of our purpose: 

Take a notebook.
Record the address, price, number of bedrooms and baths plus your impressions. If not working with a real estate agent record the owner’s phone number.     

If you love the house:
Think ahead to the negotiations.Strangle your emotions! 
Don’t let the Seller know you would “die” to have her kitchen.
 Ask the Seller for his reasons for selling. …is he under pressure to sell quickly?
 Does the Seller have any “soft spots?”
would she prefer selling to someone who will care for her rose garden ?    
Don’t forget the basics…
look for the following problems and make notes: 
Water pressure: 
Turn on faucets on the top floor. Make sure water flow is adequate.
Heating and Air: 
If summer, is it cool on the top floor?  If winter, is it warm on the ground floor?
 water stains on ceilings, damp basement walls or musty odors are all signs of possible water damage.
in plaster walls might mean nothing, but all cracks should be investigated by a professional, especially cracks around fireplaces or in foundation walls.
Uneven floors: 
floors that are not level could mean the house is sinking. It might have done all its settling in the first year and has been stable since, but have it checked
.Loose doors:
Look for light coming in, around, and under exterior doors.
These might need insulation or refitting.
Alignment: Doors not perfectly vertical.  If you can see more space between a door and its frame at one end than at the other, the door is installed improperly and will eventually stick or fail to lock.
Sticky doors & windows: Hard to open windows are not a serious problem, but it’s a good negotiation point.  Ask for a few hundred dollars off the price or some other concession from the seller.
Tilted stairways: Like uneven floors, tilted stairways indicate movement in the foundation. Make a note and discuss with your inspector.

Control your emotions!
Excited oohs and aahs tell the Seller you will buy her house at any price. Never say the following within hearing distance of the Seller”this is the best house we’ve seen at this price…” “we can easily afford this..” “…this house needs no work..” Any of the above statements leaves the Buyer at a disadvantage during negotiations Return to top

Reasons for selling
Knowing the Seller’s reasons for selling can often give the Buyer an advantage in negotiations Try the following approaches”This is such a nice house and a nice neighborhood how can you bring yourself to sell?” “Have you already bought another house ?” Don’t give up after the first try.  Be diplomatic, but persistent “What is your deadline for completing the sale?” You want to find out if the Seller is under any pressure to sell (and thus less likely to quibble about price).

Seller’s Soft Spots
Many Sellers invest huge amounts of energy in maintaining and improving their homes, and some become emotionally attached to their improvements. 
“Soft spot” examples
The Seller who prefers to take a $1,000 less rather than sell to someone who will mow down the garden she nourished for years. After laboring to restore the woodwork to its natural beauty, one Seller gasped at selling to someone who promised to paint every surface. Knowing these “Soft spots” can be an advantage during negotiations.  Be observant ! Search for home buying advice HOME BUYING GUIDE: FREE
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Buying a new home

New homes are more expensive than pre-owned homes of similar size, but they can be as light and bright as you wish and generally come with a more open layout. Here are some other good reasons to prefer new homes:
No asbestos, lead-based paints, formaldehyde or other common building products recently found to be hazardous.Cheaper to maintain due to the latest in energy efficient heating, cooling and insulation technology.Zero first-year maintenance for roofing, heating, cooling and major appliances.Sufficient wall and floor outlets to accommodate all the high tech goodies: from DVDs and expresso machines to microwaves and treadmills.
Key considerations for a new home:
Choosing a reliable builder and Making sure the house is inspected during several stages of the building process.
Before making an offer on a new house built by ABC Homes: Visit an older development built by ABC Homes. Ask owners if they would buy from ABC Homes again.
Okay, you’re shy, but your home is the biggest investment of your life! Drive slow and stop where someone appears to be home.
You’ll be surprised at how helpful strangers can be.
If ABC Homes had to be sued and forced by courts to keep their promises, owners will gladly tell.A new home should be inspected before the walls are closed up, while structural problems are out in the open.

Down side of new homes:
The model home that you see is not what you get. Aside from the decorator furniture your home is without the landscaping and appliances that are “extras” not included in the price.Prices are less negotiable. The developer can’t give you a deal because that would undercut appraisals on other homes in the development. Negotiations are effectively limited to “upgrades” on things like flooring and appliances.Hidden operating costs: Homeowners are usually charged for maintenance of amenities such as pools, tennis courts and health clubs.Bare bones home is priced attractively low, but basic “upgrades:” good carpets, wood floors, and ceramic tiles are more expensive than if purchased from Home Depot or Lowes.Price per square foot is relatively high. For the same money you can get a bigger pre-owned home.
Inspect a new home before buying

The following items must be inspected while the walls are still open:Structural members: things that hold the house up.Beams, studs and anything else that helps to support floors: – Studs that are not perfectly vertical are a sign of sloppy workmanship and poor quality.Stairway foundations and doorways: – Steps must be perfectly horizontal and doors should be hung perfectly vertical.Drain venting: – Every toilet, tub and sink drain should have a vent to the outside.Roof installation.$200 or even $300 for a professional home inspector is a good investment if you don’t have a friend who works in costruction.

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