Real Estate with a Mission: Living, Serving and Building a Community of LOVE.| Corinthians 16:14

Buying a Home

Custom image 1Buying a home is a significant life choice and decision. Hometown Realty Group strives to listen deeply to our clients needs. We meet our clients where they are at on their life journey. Whether you are a first time home buyer, a new or expanding family, downsizing, job changes, or life style change. We at Hometown Realty Group will help you discern this transition with prayer and our considerable knowledge of real estate.

Hometown Realty Group agents are trained experts in their field. They know how to guide you in the right direction with each and every move. We are committed to working faithfully, ethically, and spiritually throughout the transaction. We strive to create clients for life by going above and beyond their expectations with the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We are dedicated to making the home buying process as efficient and smoothly as possible for all parties involved. In order to accomplish this for our clients we have provided suggested steps and how to obtain this goal with you.

Choose a link from the list below, or follow them step-by step to learn more:

#1 Getting Ready To Buy

Preparing to buy a home can be both exciting and terrifying at the same time. Fortunately, a Hometown Realty Group agent can partner with you in seeking the home to meet your needs. You first may want to ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I looking for in a new home?
  • What is my budget for a home purchase?
  • How does my credit look?

You may want to make a list or brainstorm about the features and amenities that you find most appealing in a new home.

#2 Finding a Realtor

Before you choose a real estate agent, it is important to talk to your family, friends, and neighbors for a recommended agent in your area.

When contacting a Realtor, feel free to ask them the following questions:

  • How many years of experience do you have in the profession?
  • How long have you been in the area?
  • What is your professional background?
  • What services will you provide for me as my agent?
  • How will you represent me as a buyer?
  • Can you provide all the information that I need about homes in the area that fit into my price range?
  • What is the fee for your services?
  • Will you handle all of the necessary steps with the purchase of my new property?
  • Will you explain the required paperwork and disclosures that I will need to sign?
  • Do I need to sign a Buyer/Agent Agreement?

Once you have chosen an agent, it is important to establish specific goals that you would like to meet. It is very important to communicate with your real estate agent and, in turn, that your real estate agent communicates with you.

#3 Starting the Loan Process

It is important as a buyer that you have established a working relationship with a lender prior to viewing homes with your realtor. Your lender will be able provide you with a "pre-approval" based upon your finances and credit history in order to make a general assumption about your loan amount.

The pre-approval process is when a lender looks at all of your finances and determines the amount of money you could afford for a mortgage.

In order to get pre-approved for a loan, you need to contact a lender. Your Hometown Realty Group agent can give you recommendations of a lender that you feel comfortable with, and that offers programs best-suited to your needs.

#4 Starting Your Search

Now it is time to start the exciting search for homes! You may want to narrow down your search by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Where do I want to live?
  • What is the neighborhood like?
  • Are there any zoning restrictions?
  • How far is this home from my job?
  • What is my price range?
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms do I want?
  • What style of house am I attracted to?
  • What amenities do I desire (ex. pool, fenced-in yard, etc.)?
  • Does this home have potential to increase in value?
  • Is there room to expand if I would like to build an addition?

Searching for a home is becoming easier than years ago. We now have the Internet as a powerful "home finding tool," as well as the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).

#5 Finding Your New Home

Beginning the search for your new home can be a great feeling. It is important that you directly communicate what your desires are in a home to your real estate agent.

You may want to first begin by making a list of the features and benefits that are most important in your pursuit of finding a home. These could be:

  • Location
  • Affordability
  • Size
  • Style
  • Design
  • Amenities

Looking for a home in an area where you feel comfortable is key. If appropriate, instruct your real estate agent to look for homes in the specific areas you have designated.

#6 Making an Offer

Real estate contracts can be confusing and long, however this is where Hometown Realty Group will navigate you through the process. We feel it is important that you understand what it is that you are signing. Our goal is to help you make this as easy and stress free as possible. We know this can be a time of high anxiety and we will do everything we can to guide you through this process in the most informed way possible.

  • Be prepared to spend at least an hour with us when you are ready to sign a contract. We will explain all the fine print
  • Be prepared to leave a good faith deposit. This is usually about 1% of the price of the home. The funds are held in a non-interest bearing escrow account. Then it is applied to your down payment and closing cost at closing. If your offer is not accepted, your check will be returned, uncashed.

As your Buyer Agent we can advise you on what type of offer to make. Price is not the only issue. Wiil the Seller pay closing costs? How much of the closing costs? Will the Seller leave the appliances? When is the best time to plan the closing? Do you want a home inspection? Do you want a Radon Test? If something is wrong, who will fix it and how much will it cost? These are just a few of the issues we address in the offer.

Negotiating:

The Seller won't necessarily accept your first offer. We will discuss a strategy while writing the offer. Sometimes it is good to offer low and then come up a little. Other times it is better to make one offer and stand firm. We can help you make those decisions.

#7 Applying for the Loan

Once your offer is accepted you can make a formal application with your mortgage lender. To successfully complete your loan application, you will be required to provide some specific financial information. Your Mortgage lender will also ask you for permission to request a credit report fromone or more credit reporting agencies. To facilitate the process , this handy checklist will help you and any co-borrower gather the necessary information.

  • Home addresses for the previous two years
  • Social Security Number
  • W2 tax records for the previous two years
  • Employment information for the previous two years, including employer namem address, and phone number
  • Income: Salary, overtime, bonuses, commission, dividends, interest, retirement, and any other source of ongoing income that you would like considered for repaying this loan.
  • Liquid Assets: Bank name, account type(s), and balance(s)
  • Other Assets: Value of bonds, stocks, life insurance policies, retirement funds, and automobiles
  • Liabilities: Creditor name and outstanding balance for liabilities including notes payable, 401(k) loans and other liabilities including existing loan balances. (Your crdit report may provide details of your credit card and loan balances)
  • Real Estate Owned: Property address, market value, outstanding liens, rental income, and mortgage payments
  • Purchase Contract for the home you plan to buy (if applicable)
  • 30 Day Bank Statement printout for checking/saving account
  • If it is a VA Loan, you will need your certificate of eligibility, DD-214

#8 The Home Inspection

When you made your offer we asked if you wanted a home inspection. The bank does not require a home inspection but we do recommend it. You will pay the inspector when the inspection is completed. It is not part of the normal closing costs on your good faith estimate.

Helpful Hint:

The Home Inspector is looking for actual mechanical and structural defects, not cosmetic flaws. The plumbing, heating, air conditioning, electrical and appliances must be in safe and working order.

Here are the reasons why you should consider a home inspection:

1. A home inspection gives you more detailed information to help you make a wise decision. In a home inspection, a qualified inspector takes an in-depth, unbiased look at your potential new home to :

  • Evaluate the physical condition: structure, construction, and mechanical problems
  • Identify items that impact the habitability of the home that will need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Estimate the remaining useful life of major systems, equipment, structure, and finishes

2. A home inspection gives you an impartial, physical evaluation of the overall condition of the home and items that need to be reparied or replaced. The inspection gives a detailed report on the condition of the structural components, exterior, roofing, plumbing, electrical, heating, insulation, and ventilation, air conditioning, and interiors.

3. It is your responsibility to be an informed buyer. Be sure that what you buy is satisfactory in every aspect. You have the right to carefully examine your potential new home with a qualified home inspector.

#9 Insurance

Insuring your home is like making an investment in your future. You work hard to have a home; homeowners insurance protects you and your family from someone or something taking it all away.

There are many different forms of insurance:

  • Title Insurance - protects you in the event that the title on your property has a lien, unpaid taxes, or other legalities that would make it invalid.
  • Homeowner's Insurance - protects your home from fire, theft and other liable coverage.
  • Flood Insurance - protects your home from flood damage.
  • Home Warranty - offers buyers and sellers the piece of mind that should anything unexpected happen (due to normal, every day wear and tear) of the home's appliances, heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical systems, it will be repaired (or replaced in some cases) for you without costly fees.

#10 Closing Procedures

The Attorney or Settlement Agent will conduct the closing for you. At closing you will sign and receive copies of all the documents pertaining to your purchase and new mortgage. The Attorney or Settlement Agent will also do the title search. He/she will look up the legal history of the property at the City/County Courthouse and make sure that there are no new title problems that could stop you from free and clear use of your new property. He/she will make sure all owners have signed all the deeds and there is no one who can come back and claim they own the property.

The closing process is always changing. It is even referred to as "settlement" or "escrow" in different parts of the country. With increased technology, most closings are completely automated and both parties do not have to be present at the same time to sign.

Closings usually take about 30 days to complete. This mainly depends on the buyer's financing availability, successful home inspection completion, and various lender conditions (ex. title search, title insurance, termite inspections, surveys and appraisals).

The closing process is the transfer of the title of the property from the buyer to the seller. The buyer will receive the keys to the home or the deed to the land, while the seller receives payment for the property. The amount the seller receives is based upon the amount that is still owed on the mortgage, any outstanding fees or taxes, and any additional closing costs. All legal papers are filed with the local record office.

It is this step where the buyers and sellers do very little. It is important as the seller to take a final walk through the property to make sure the property's condition has not changed. It is equally important for both the buyer and seller to make sure the paperwork they are signing reflects the agreement of the original sale.

#11 Get Your Utilites Changed

Plan to have everything transferred to your name for the day of the closing.

Electrical Services:

Harrisoburg Electric Commission

540-434-5361

Dominion (VA Power)

1-888-667-3000

Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative

540-879-2551

Natural Gas:

Columbia Gas

1-800-543-8911

Cable Television:

Comcast

1-800-934-6489

Ntelos

540-271-0141

Dish Network

1-888-261-6928

Direct TV

1-866-535-9593

Division of Motor Vehicles:

Harrisonburg/Rockingham County

1-866-368-5463

Website

www.dmv.state.va.us

Telephone Companies:

Verizon

1-800-483-4000

Shentel

540-434-4449

Water & Sewer:

Harrisonburg

540-434-6783

Rockingham County

540-564-3020

Broadway

540-896-3541

Grottoes

540-249-5896

Augusta County

540-828-6205

Bridgewater

540-828-6183

Dayton

540-879-9538

Remember:

Forward U.S. Mail!

You can do this online at www.USPS.com

#12 The Last Few Days Before Closing

The Walk Through

In the last few days before closing, we will do a walk-through inspection of the home. At this time we can make sure that everything in the contract has been completed, all repairs are done, all of the Seller's personal property has been removed and the home is in satisfactory condition.

Get Cashier's Check

The day before closing the Attorney/Settlement Agent wil fax us a copy of the closing statement which shows how much money you will need to bring. We will go over the closing statement to make sure there are no mistakes. You will need to get a cashier's check made payable to the Attorney/Settlement Agent to bring to closing. It must be certified funds because you get the house at closing and your check cannot bounce.

#13 Settling In

You have unpacked your boxes, arranged your furniture, and feel complete with your moving task. What's next? There is always an adjustment period when you move. It is important to understand that what you, your spouse and/or children may be feeling is completely normal.

Here is a list of a few things that may help:

  • Urge everyone to talk about how they are feeling.
  • Get outside and tour the neighborhood or take a drive and visit some new places around the community.
  • E-mail old friends and neighbors to let them know about your new home and community.
  • Start a list about what you like about:
    • Home
    • School
    • Neighborhood
    • Community
    • Church
    • Friends
    • Teachers

#14 CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE A HOMEOWNER!

Tell your friends about Hometown Realty Group! Our business and continued success depends on referrals from good customers like you. We appreciate your referrals, and promise to give excellent service to anyone you send our way. Continued blessings on your journey!

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