Buying or selling a home?

With a little up-front planning, buying a home isn't too hard, but the event is stressful for many people. So they understand exactly what they can expect, I like to supply buyers with a road map of the whole deal. Below are my nine steps to purchasing a home. Should you have any questions about any of this information or if you're prepared to get started, simply contact me here or e-mail me at .

Step 1 – Get ready to buy
Before you start looking for a home, there are several things you'll want to take into account. You'll want to form an index of must-have features, get a plan of what neighborhoods and school districts you want to live in, and start planning around your budget. Keeping your mortgage payment less than or close to 1/3 of your net monthly income is a good rule of thumb to go by.

Step 2 – Speak with a real estate agent
This is where RE/MAX Advantage comes in. I'd be happy to arrange a time to get together with you and speak with you about your real estate needs and get an idea of your future plans. We'll discuss the mortgage industry, other economic factors that might affect your buying decision today or in the future, as well as neighborhoods and schools in the Rice Lake area.

In addition, I'll help you facilitate the loan process. There are some excellent mortgage professionals in Rice Lake, and I partner with a lot of them, so you'll be in great hands. They can assist you in deciding which kind of loan is best for you and help you get qualified.

Step 3 – Begin looking for a house
After our initial meeting, I'll begin looking for houses on the market that are great for you. I'll get a sneak peek of many of the homes and remove the bad ones, and then we'll set up appointments to tour the houses whenever it's most convenient for you.

As we view the houses, I'll call attention to good features and bad ones. I'll even ask you to talk about things you like and dislike. It's widely common for buyers to update their list of must-haves as we view houses and some features become more essential than others. If that happens, I'll go back through the listings once more and narrow it down to the home you've been wishing for.

Step 4 – Get a grasp of the housing market
Your agent's knowledge of the Rice Lake home market is a crucial factor in your home search. And I can assure you I'm mindful of all the neighborhoods and school districts, and I'll communicate some areas are "hot" and call for immediate action and others that are "cold" and allow for more examination.

As we view houses, I'll be sure to tell you when the seller's list price has room for bargaining and when I know the house is "priced to sell." Any real estate agent will tell you they truly understand the market, but trust your instincts, and make sure you ask your agent a lot of questions. If it appears they don't know everything, contact me at (715) 736-7000 or e-mail me at , and I'll be glad to answer any questions you might have. My market expertise will keep you a step above the rest throughout the entire deal.

Step 5 – Find the house of your dreams
We'll find the home of your dreams in the Rice Lake area, and when we do, I'll meticulously develop your real estate purchase offer. The offer will be tailored with your needs in mind and the home, including many contingencies. A few examples are obtaining financing, completing the home inspection, and a clean title.

When we send in your purchase offer, you'll want to present "earnest money." This is a cash deposit submitted to the seller to secure an offer to buy the property and is usually applied to the closing costs. If the seller accepts your offer, we should close on the property within 30 to 60 days after. This allows plenty of time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate
Unfortunately most contracts aren't closed on the beginning offer, and it's widely common to receive a counter offer. But don't let this discourage you. We'll talk over whether or not to agree to the counter offer, submit our own counter offer, or reject the seller's offer and go on.

Market conditions determine how aggressively we negotiate the contract. We'll also work within your financing budget. And at the end of the day, we'll assemble a contract that works well for you.

Step 7 – Get your loan
Upon finishing the contract, you'll start working with your mortgage lender to close the loan. If you're already pre-qualified, this shouldn't take much time at all, but you need to stay in close contact with your lender. And I'll take care of all the property information your mortgage lender needs to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
You'll get a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) outlining closing costs from your lender within three days of taking your loan application. The estimate rests on the loan amount. RESPA requirements require that it has to contain all closing costs and be within a precise range of accuracy, and I'll go over the estimate and let you know if everything looks okay.

Then it's time to close on your house. This will likely occur at a title company or escrow office and should be a smooth and easygoing event.

Step 9 – Move in
Congratulations! Now you can move into your new house. Enjoy it. And if you need anything, just contact me at (715) 736-7000 or e-mail me at .

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