If you're like most people, buying a home represents your single biggest investment- and debt. As such, the home buying process can be one of the most exciting, but sometimes also stressful, experiences you ever go through. And this is true whehter you've bought many homes or you're looking to buy your first, whether you're in the market for a new primary residence, and investment property or that perfect vacation getaway.
Morever, never has the real estate marrket offered more great opportunities than right now- especially for the first time homebuyer. There are so many factors to consider and so many decisions to make. That's why, when buying, it's crucial for you to have all the available resources necessary to make a well-informed decision, together with the time required to make a complete use of them. That's also why you should enlist the help of Dousevicz Real Estate-- a firm that will be able to provide you with not only helpful and usefull information, but expert consultation at each step of the buying process.
Generally, finding and purchasing a home includes the following steps:
- Define your goals, research your options, make your plans. Given that buying a home is such a big step, it's all the more important for you to educate and prepare yourself as much as possible in advance. This means clearly determining why you're buying and waht kind of home you're looking for. Because buying and financing a home are so closely related, it also means examining your current financial situation and projecting how much you can afford.
- Contact a REALTOR. Buying real estate is a complex matter at the best of times, given that there are so many factors to consider and no two homes or transactions are alike. However, with all the unique opportunities and potential pitfalls of the current market, it's even more important for you to contact a REALTOR- like Dousevicz Real Estate, once you've decided to buy. In choosing a REALTOR to guide you through the property search, financing, negotiation and transaction processes, you should consider their local market knowledg, experience and track record. We at Dousevicz Real Estate are confident you will not find a better equiped REALTOR in the area.
- Get Pre-Approved for a loan. Generally, it is recommmended that you get pre-qualified for a loan before you start viewing homes with the serious intent of buying. The pre-approval process involves meeting with a lender and authorizing them to examine your current financial situation and credit history. On the basis of this examination the lender will provide you with a document that details home much you can borrow to buy a home. This pre-approval letter will allow you to realize how much you can realistically afford, and you will be taken seriously as a buyer when presenting an offer on a home. Also, the process will allow you to examine all financing options with your lender.
- View Homes and Select THE ONE. Simply put, the key to the home purchase is knowing what you're looking for! Among other things, that means distinguishing between "must-haves" and "like-to-haves." Some interesting facts: Almost 90% of buyers use the internet to search for homes. The typical buyer searches for 12 weeks and views 12 homes! There are many benefits to starting the search process at a real estate website like www.VTBuyer.com. You can view many homes and their details, access neighborhood information, and even send an email to Brad Dousevicz for clarification on any aspect of the home buying process, or details on an area or specific home. However, it's also important to view homes in person. While their property details may seem similar online, homes can actually be very different in terms of layout, design, workmanship and other aspect. In addition, you should ideally view homes with the help of an experienced and eagle-eyed broker like Brad Dousevicz who'll notice things you might miss, provide expert analysis, and act as an impartial sounding board.
- Make and offer and negotiate with the seller. Now that you've found the home you'd like to buy, it's time to make an offer. Your local real estate association- NVBR, working with legal counsel, has developed the contracts that are used for transactions in your area. These contracts enable you to specify a sale price and also include many clauses for specifying various terms of purchase, such as the closing and possession dates, your deposit amount, and other conditions specific to your situation. Dousevicz Real Estate will carefully review these clauses with you to ensure that they expressed your desired offer. Dousevicz Real Estate can also address all your questions about the offer process. Once you're written the offer, Dousevicz Real Estate will present it to the seller and the seller's representative. At that point, the process- given that a home's eentual sale price is subject to supply and demand- will depend on the kind of market you're in, and the area of Vermont you are looking to buy. Generally, though, the seller can accept your offer, reject it, or counter it to initiate the negotiation process. Successful counter-offers, with deadlines for responding and meeting conditions, will be exchanged between you and the seller until a mutually-satisfactory pending agreement is reached or the negotiations collapse.
- Secure Your Financing. Once you have a pending agreement with the seller, it's time to go back to your chosen lender to finalize your mortgage details so you can close the deal . This means finalizing your down payment, interest rate, regular payment schedule and any other financial conditions associated with the closing.
- Close the Deal. If you've efficienctly taken care of everything connected with purchasing your next home, the experience of taking ownership will be a positive joy with no surprises. Key steps to the closing include; Getting a title search (historical review of all legal documents relating to ownership of the property, which your attorney will coordinate), The final walkthrough of the home (a chance to look at the home prior to your closing to make sure everything is in the condition as when you signed the sales agreement) and the settlement (typically done in your attorneys office to veryify and sign all the paperwork to complete the transaction.
To Buy or Not to Buy- Considerations for First Time Home Buyers
Buying your first home is a major step. There's a lot you need to know to make the right decisions- and also to avoid making the wrong ones! That's particulary true in this market, when there are many homes available and sellers have such diverse motivations.
The good news is that if you're working with an experienced agent like Brad Dousevicz of Dousevicz Real Estate, this market offers fantastic opportunities to get a great home at a great price.
Owning Versus Renting
Without question, owning a home comes with responsibilites and risks that you don't have to worry about when you rent, such as a mortgage, taxes, homeowner's insurance, maintenance and repairs, to name a few. However, financial advisors- not to mention homeowners themselves- say there are far more advantages to owing:
- Historically, it has trended that over time, you'll lose money by renting instead of owning your own home. Why not build up equity in a home instead of paying your landlord's mortgage?
- Although there are periodic market drops, historically owning a home has been a prime financial investment.
- You can take advantage of many ongoing tax benefits, like deducting the interest on your mortgage and property taxes from your income tax.
- Owning a home isn't just a good investment in financial terms, it's also an investment in a higher quality of life- particulary if you have a family or if you're planning one.
- There is a special kind of pride in the ownership and upkeep of a hime that you won't get with renting.
At the end of the day, it just feels good to own your own home. You can decorate it any way you like, renovate or build additions, and personalize your landscape.
Do you qualify to own? There's only one way to find out: go to your bank and/or another lending institution and allow them to perform a credit check and analyze your financial situation generally. Dousevicz Real Estate is happy to offer the following links to local lenders that he has had experience with:
Is it a Good Time to Buy?
Generally speaking, if you're financially qualified, your timing couldn't be better. In fact, few markets have ever offered the kinds of opportunities that currently exist for first-time home buyers:
- Home prices are down generally
- Mortgage rates are historically low. You might be able to lock in at a very low rate on a 30-year mortgage!
- There are plenty of new and existing homes to chose from.
So the bottom line is that if you are currently renting but really want to own a home, this is a fantastic time to buy. You may qualify to buy and not know it! Talk to Brad Dousevicz at Dousevicz Real Estate about your options. He will be able to guide you towards getting all the financial support you qualify for and get the "scoop" on the many and various great real estate opportunities currently available.
Not only that, but in case you didn't know, all the work that Dousevicz Real Estate does to help you find, finance, and purchase a home won't cost you a penny- it's all paid for by the seller!
Additional Information- Successfully Negotiating the Deal
Negotiating the transaction is usually the most complex aspect of buying a home. At the same time, it's the one that can involve the most creativity. That's why it's important to have an experienced and savvy REALTOR, like Brad Dousevicz, who has successfully worked through MANY different transactions scenarios.
That said, what follows are a few strategies for negotiating a good deal in a market like this one, all of which involve; presenting yourself as a serious buyer while at the same time, keeping your emotions in check; trying to understand and respect the priorities of the seller; being creative and, where necessary, willing to compromise to get the deal done.
Strike a balance- Motivated but not too eager
For you, as a buyer, it all starts before you even make an offer, the first time you see that home you think might be THE ONE. It's important that you not give yourself away to the listing agent by getting too excited about your "Find." If anything, ask a few questions, maybe take a few notes, and let Dousevicz Real Estate do most of the talking.
The point is that ideally you're trying to strike a balance by appearing, on the one hand, to be a qualified and motivated buyer, while on the other hand, not appearing to be too eager. You'll demonstrate that you're a serious buyer- the kind sellers look for- at the time you make the offer, particularly if you:
- Make it clear that you're not dependant upon selling in order to buy
- Make an all- cash offer or show that you've been pre-approved for a loan
- Provide an attractive "earnest" deposit with the offer
- Make a reasonable offer that still gives you rom to negotiate your price
Not only will this approach show that you're qualified and motivated, it will place you in a stronger negotiating position overall. The sellers won't want to lose you and so will be more inclined to reduce their price a little and/or make some concessions with resepect to term.
Understand and respect the Seller's priorities
If, through the negotiations, you can find out more about the seller's situation and priorities you'll not only improve your position, but you'll also be able to resolve any obstacles more creatively and sensitively.
For instance, if a seller is adamant about the sale price they might be more flexible about taking care of a few repairs or part of the transaction costs. Or if they need a certain closing date, you might be able to get them to concede some other terms. There are no "one size fits all" approaches to negotiating. In principle, thought, the more you know about the seller's priorities, the more you'll be able to work with them in order to achieve your own priorities.
Look beyond the price
While a home's sale price is generally the focus of negotiations, often sellers will have needs such that the terms of purchase can significantly influence the final deal. Additionally, it is in relation to the terms- which can represent thousands of dollars in value- where you can get most creative when it comes to resolving the obstacles to transacting. Here are some elements in the purchase agreement that you might put on the table for discussion:
- An all cash offer by you
- The amount of earnest money deposit you provide
- Closing and Possession dates
- Inclusion of furniture, fixtures, etc, not considered part of the property (examples; hot tub, pool table, washer and dryer, etc.)
- Payment of repairs required by your lender
- Payment of taxes, utilities, and rents
- Payment of title search and insurance
- Payment of attorney fees
Along these lines, the key is to get all terms of purchase in writing within the agreement. These terms should then be carefully reviewed and clearly understood by both you and the seller so that you're on the same page and the negotiations move forward.
Is it really THE ONE? If so, Make it So!
If you're really interested in buying the home you're negotiating over- if it really is THE ONE- you should be willing to make some compromises to make the deal happen. If that's not the case, then you should listen to your heart and consider looking for another home- it just might be out there waiting for you...
That said, here are a few basic principles of successful negotiation to consider if you're committed to completing your purchase:
- Remember your priorities and respect the sellers- don't let the small thinkgs get in the way of your better judgement.
- If necessary, defer until "later"- if small issues do get in the way in the midst of big ones, focus on and consolidate your agreement on the big issues and come back to the small ones later.
- At the end of the day, if there are disagreements about relative small expenses, split the difference and smile.
The reality is that most negotiations that Dousevicz Real Estate has dealt with proceed without much problem. In the event that there are difficulties but you're committed to buying the home, remember; where there's a will, there's a way.