Buying Made Easy Kit
Thank you for the opportunity to represent you in the purchase of your new home. I think of my clients as individuals with specific needs. With this in mind, my team and I strive to give you exceptional service. In response to the more challenging market we have experienced over the years, we have become more determined and assertive with marketing and technology. This has allowed us to be very successful in securing results for our clients.
This is absolutely the very best time to be a buyer. Timing is everything and here are four reasons to confirm your decision to buy.
- 1. Interest rates are edging upward but are still at historically low rate
- 2. Prices were at their bottom range and are starting to inch upwa
- 3. The market is seller’s market and you need to have someone on your team who knows how to best help you get the home you are wanting.
- 4. The first step to purchasing a home is to select the right Realtor ® to effectively and profitably
Represent your interests in today’s market or tomorrow’s opportunities.
Thank you for the privilege of allowing one of my professional team members to show the best possible listings available.
Enclosed please find:
- 1. The Home Buying Process
- 2. Preparing for the Lender
- 3. Mortgage Preapproval Myths
- 4. Dos and Don’ts during the Loan Process
- 5. Questions to ask your Realtor ®
- 6. What to Expect from this Market
- 7. Questions to ask your Realtor ®
- 8. Buyer Plan of Action
- 9. What to Expect When Writing an Offer
Step 1- Is now the right time?
- How long are you planning on living in your next home?
- Consider the benefits/drawbacks to owning a home.
Step 2- Get Preapproved for a mortgage
- How much can you afford?
- What are the different loan programs available? (FHA, VA, Conv)
- Make sure your credit is in good shape
Step 3- Find your dream home
- What kind of home do you want? (Detached, Attached, etc.)
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms?
- Are school districts important?
Step 4- The escrow process
- The home inspection
- Reviewing disclosures
- Ordering the appraisal
- Securing the financing
Step 5- Closing
- The final walk through
- Schedule the move
- Changing over utilities
These are general statements each item may not apply to every buyer
- Full names of all purchasers as they are to appear on the title
- Social security numbers of all purchasers.
- Present residence addresses for all purchasers.
- Previous address for all purchasers going back two years if they have not resided in the present home for two years.
- Home, office and cell numbers
- Present Employer: Name, address, and a contact person to send employment verification form
- Explanation for an gap during 2 year history
- Relocation letter for any transferees-giving date, salary, new location, and any relocation benefits.
- Previous Employer: Name address and a contact person, going back two years if not in present job for two full years.
- Present Salary: Year to date pay stub and last 2 years w-2s
- If any variable income, commission, part-time income, bonus, overtime, interest income, etc is being used to qualify: 2 years signed federal tax returns and w-2s and/or 1099s.
- If self-employed: 2 years signed federal individual and corporate returns (if applicable). Also a profit
and loss statement and balance sheet.
- Diploma or transcript if student during 2 year period.
- Rental Income: copy of the lease which is current and at least one year in length.
- Alimony and child support (only if used for qualification): Copy of divorce decree and property settlement (ratified) setting out terms. Proof of payment will also be requested at application.
- Income from Notes Held: A copy of the ratified note.
- Retirement, Social Security, and Disability Income: Copy of award letter and latest check showing
amount of present payment. Copy of the end of year statement if applicable.
- Bank Accounts: Name of bank, address, account numbers, types of accounts, and present balances.
With checking, use average balances.
- Copy of two most recent statements of all accounts.
- Stocks and Bonds: Copy of certificates or copy of recent (within 30 days) broker statement listing the
- Life Insurance: Cash value, only if being used for down payment.
- Vehicles: Year, make, and value. Copy of title if under 4 years old with no outstanding lien.
- Real Estate: Address and market value. If free and clear, deed of release, deed or mortgage payoff.
- Present Home: Copy of sales contract, settlement sheet and/or lease.
- Gift Letter: Form will be provided by financial representative. Donor Capacity must be verified. Receipt of funds must be shown in account.
- Credit Cards: Account numbers and outstanding balances.
- Loans (Auto, Mortgage, Personal, Student, etc.): Name of institution, address, account numbers, outstanding balances, monthly payments, months left on loan. Copy of next payment coupon. 12months’ statements or canceled checks for present mortgage.
- Alimony and Child Support: Copy of Ratified Decree and property settlement setting out terms.
- Certificate of Eligibility: To obtain certificate, you will need a DD-214 (Separation of Service) or if in the Service, you will need a Statement of Service signed by Commanding Officer of Personnel Officer (certificate must be updated prior to application).
- If in service, you will need Authorization to Live Off Base (DD-1717 from Housing Office) and Transfer
Orders (if applicable).
Will mortgage pre-approvals hurt my credit score?
This is a very common Myth buyers have regarding getting preapproved. Getting preapproved is 100% a benefit to you as the buyer because it will give you confidence to write offers and prevent any heart ache down the road. In a competitive market like ours a good agent and a smart seller will not even consider looking at a financed offer without a preapproval letter. Also it is common for a seller to not allow you to view properties without the same preapproval letter.
Credit Bureau Scoring
Credit bureaus use a subtle formula that they don’t publicize how they crunch your credit history down into a single credit score. One of the things that can cost you points on your credit score is to have a bunch of inquiries coming in very close to each other. So, should you worry about what mortgage pre-approvals will do to your credit reports? Probably not.
The “Ding” for One Inquiry is Very Small. (For verification please visit www.myfico.com)
The most a single inquiry on your credit report will cost you is five points. Often, your score, which can range from 300 to 850, will suffer even less than that. Unless you are seeking a new mortgage and are
right on the cusp between a good credit score and a fair credit score, five points shouldn’t make any
difference in your loan terms. (multiple inquiries in a short period of time are often considered as one
inquiry for scoring purposes…please visit www.myfico.com for verification)
Making the Mortgage Process Easier
All of the credit bureaus understand the complex timing of getting a mortgage. Therefore, they have instituted measures to avoid reflecting pre-approval inquiries on credit reports. For instance, if you are shopping around for the best rate, and several mortgage companies make credit inquiries about you within 45 days of each other, all of those inquiries will be bundled into a single event with a miniscule effect on your credit report. Your credit report also does not include any credit inquiries made within 30 days prior to your loan application.
It is, therefore, nearly impossible that the mortgage process of pre-approval will cause enough damage to your credit score to hurt your mortgage terms, so don’t worry if your real estate agent asks to see your letter of pre-approval. Getting pre-approved for the mortgage you want won’t hurt you.
There are certain “Do’s and Don’ts” which may affect the outcome of your loan request. These remain in effect before, during and after loan approval up until the time of settlement when your loan is funded and recorded. Many times credit, income, and assets are verified the hour before you have signed your final loan documents. Here is a list that you should comply with:
MAKE SURE THAT YOU DO NOT: Do any of the things that may alter your credit and may risk you obtaining your loan. Also, these things may put you in default of your Sales Contract, may put your ESCROW deposit at risk, and may put you at risk of being sued.
DO NOT quit your job or change jobs. If this is likely, consult with your loan officer and call this office should this occur.
DO NOT allow anyone to make an inquiry on your credit report except your lender.
DO NOT apply for credit anywhere else except with your lender. This causes more “hits” on your credit rating which can
reduce your credit score.
DO NOT change bank accounts or transfer money within your existing accounts.
DO NOT co-sign for anyone, for any reason, for anything.
DO NOT purchase or attempt to purchase anything else on credit such as another car, truck, boat, furniture or other real estate.
DO NOT charge any abnormal amounts to your current credit cards or credit lines.
DO NOT send in late payments, or incur late fees for anything.
DO NOT wait longer than the time frame given per your contract to provide all necessary paperwork and information to your lender when requested.
MAKE SURE THAT YOU DO:
DO keep all accounts current, including mortgages, car loans, credit cards, etc.
DO contact both your lender and your sales associates anytime a question may arise.
DO make all payments on or before due dates on all accounts, even if the account is being paid off with your new loan.
DO have any lender-required money/funds to your loan officer within 72 hours after home inspection is complete.
DO return phone calls from your agent, loan officer, settlement company, or anyone else involved in your transaction within 2 hours of a message.
- 1. Will I receive daily updates on Real Estate activity in my area, including price changes, new listings on the market, and houses that have come back on the market?
- 2. Will I be able to adjust my search criteria on my own through your website?
- 3. Are you a full-time realtor or part-time?
- 4. Are you a single agent or do you work with a team?
- 5. Do you specialize in working with buyers or sellers?
- 6. Besides the MLS what other sources do you use to find homes for sale?
- 7. How many homes have you sold this year?
- 8. How many homes have you sold over the last 5/10/15 years?
- 9. What is your availability to show me homes?
- 10. Do you have experience working with short sales and foreclosures?
- 11. Do you have a list of vendors that can help me with repairs?
- 12. Will you keep in touch with me after the sale or will I have to search for another Realtor when it comes time to sell my home?
- 13. How do you get paid?
- 14. How is the buyer representation different from the agent that is already working with the home seller?
- 15. What expenses can I expect in this process?
Navigating this market can be very complex at times. In your search for a home you mostly come across three different types of sellers. Each one will have different escrow timeframes, negotiation styles, pricing strategies, and timeframes for accepting your offer. Without knowing the different characteristics of the different types of sellers it can be very frustrating out there as a buyer.
Traditional Sales – These are sellers who have equity in their homes and are usually looking to close escrow in 40 – 50 days. When writing an offer on a traditional sale you will usually negotiate directly with the seller through their agent.
Short Sales – These are sellers who owe more than what they can sell their home for and therefore have to negotiate with their bank to receive a lesser amount. Typically the negotiation process with the bank can take 4-6 months to get an offer approved and the price is subject to change during this time. There is also a chance that the bank will reject the seller’s request for a short sale and instead foreclose on it.
Foreclosures – These are the homes which have been foreclosed on and taken back by the bank also known as REO’s (Real Estate Owned) or “bank owned”. Like the traditional sale the bank will want to close escrow within 45 days upon accepting your offer. The banks are motivated to sell these homes quickly and will typically price them slightly below market value to get multiple offers and create a bidding war to drive the price up. Even though you may pay over the asking prices these can still be great values.
Multiple offer Situations– With the combination of a seller’s market (houses selling in less than 6 months from listing date) and low inventory buyers might find themselves in a situation where they are not the only person bidding on a specific property. Buyers need to be prepared to move quickly and make decisions that might include offering over asking price.
In this market it takes a proactive and aggressive approach to find you the best home at the best price. Every buyer has access to the homes for sale in the Multiple Listing Service through various free websites such as Zillow or Trulia. The reason why more buyers choose to work with us than any other agent is what we do above and beyond the multiple listing service to find our clients the best deals.
Preapproval– We put you in contact with lenders that are working in your area and specializing in what you need. If you already have a lender then we can work with that person to make sure that all of the necessary processes have been completed and are ready in the appropriate time frame. We work hard so you don’t have to! We will complete this process before starting the showing process.
Your Personal Website– After our initial conversation, we will set up a website that will help us to search the MLS database for the houses that are actively available in your selected areas that fight your size, location, and pricing requirements. You will receive these listings daily. You have the ability to dismiss any property that you are not interested in and also selected favorites and possibilities. By selecting the properties that you are interested in, this will allow your agent to pre-screen the properties to
make sure that they fit your requirements, price range, and needs. We would also request that you verify that the final properties against the list of links that we will email
to you. Those links allow you to check for Sexual Offenders, Demographics, Great info about Houston, Crime Reports, County Flood Maps, and School Districts.
Tip: If you have any problems locating the information you are seeking please let me
know and we will work hard to help you find to find it.
My client reviews
Great info about Houston http://www.visithoustontexas.com/travel-tools/about-ghcvb/ Crime Reports
Sexual offenders https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/SexOffender/PublicSite/Index.aspx
Flood areas Harris County
Flood area Fort bend county http://fbcmap.co.fort-bend.tx.us/floodmaptool/ Demographics
Harris county toll road https://www.hctra.org/tollroads/
Hwy 290 http://www.my290.com/
48 hours- After selecting the properties that you are interested please email us the list of the properties at least 48 hours before the day you would like to schedule appointments for. This allows our team to gather all pertinent information and verify that the property meets all of your requirements and financial plan.
Please only use www.HAR.com to look for properties outside of your personalized website. The reason for this is because this website is the centralized database that feeds many of the other websites like Zillow or Trulia. This database is the most accurate resource to verify that a property is still available today. Even beyond verifying the database status your agent will call the listing agent to make sure that there are no offers and any other information that the listing agent might be able to provide.
Market and Comparable information- Your agent will provide the information on any properties that have been sold in the area in the area that are in a comparable range and make sure that the property listing price is comparable to that number. We will further verify any pending sales that will show the trend up or down in the neighborhood for comparable properties.
Here are some things to consider to ensure your offer gets accepted:
- What type of Sale is it?
- Foreclosure, Short Sale, Traditional Sale
- Is it priced right for the market?
- What is the buyer activity?
- Are there offers on the home?
- What other homes are for sale in the neighborhood?
- What has sold recently in the area?
- How long has it been on the market?
- What is the seller’s motivation?
- Are they price driven or are there other terms that are important to them such as a lease after sale?
- How long of an escrow are they looking for?
- Do you need concessions for closings costs?
- Closing costs such as title, escrow, and lender fees usually cost between 1-3% of the sales price.
- Are there multiple offers on the property?
- This is not uncommon for homes priced right for the market and in great condition.
- Often times the seller will ask for your “highest & best” offer. In other words, what is the highest price you will offer that if another buyer offered more you would not have any regrets because you gave it your best shot?