Our Buyer's Guide to Homeownership
Our Buyer's Guide to Homeownership will help answer your questions and guide you along your journey to owning a home.
First Steps for Buyers There are some questions you need to answer even before you start your search. If you’re a first-time home buyer or someone who hasn’t bought a home recently, we recommend that you begin with an in-person Buyer Consultation. That will enable your Weichert Sales Associate to help you identify and clarify your requirements for your new home and then give you a good idea what to expect when you proceed with your home search.
Here are some questions to ponder as you begin to define the kind of home you really want:
- What style or type of home interests you – contemporary or historic, ranch or colonial?
- How large a home do you want, with how many bedrooms and baths?
- What do you think are the key features? (For example: eat-in kitchen, deck, fireplace, family room or central air conditioning)
- How will you determine whether a location is right for you – schools? Commuting needs? Availability of shopping?
- Would you consider buying a home that is in need of some renovation or expansion?
- Will it be necessary to sell your home to buy your next one?
- Have you spoken to mortgage consultant to determine how much you can afford?
Once you begin your search, your Weichert Sales Associate can show you any home that is on the market. Whether your interest is piqued by a For Sale sign, a listing on the internet or ad in the paper your Weichert Sales Associate will be your best resource for learning more of the details and to take a personal tour! Your Sales Associate will begin to work with you by diligently searching the current inventory of available homes to find ones that meet your expectations.
Using the Internet Here's the best way to learn about homes you might choose to buy. First of all, the Internet has replaced newspapers as the number one source of new homes, so you’ve already started off on the right foot!
You can rely on WeichertRP.com as the most convenient and best source for all active listings throughout the state of Connecticut, up-to-date and accurate information 24/7! Create your own account (free of charge or obligation) and customize your search, save favs, and stay in the loop with notifications about new and updated listings and upcoming Open Houses that match your criteria!
Preparing to Shop with Confidence, be Pre-Approved for a Mortgage! Since a pre-approval, unlike a pre-qualification, is based on your specific financial situation, it takes the mystery out of what you can afford. Not only will it help you understand which homes to consider, it will give any prospective seller more confidence in your ability to obtain a mortgage.
Your Weichert Associate will connect you with one of our mortgage specialists who will handle your pre-qualification. He or she will help you determine the monthly payment you’re comfortable with and provide you with a mortgage credit decision before you shop for your home. In fact, by using basic information such as your income, debt, assets, and employment history, our mortgage broker is generally able to get you a credit decision within minutes. The approval is subject to an acceptable appraisal of the home you eventually purchase.
Making an Offer
Here's what you need to understand about making an offer. When you have found the house that meets your needs and maybe even realizes your dreams, you'll probably find yourself getting emotionally involved. Maybe you'll imagine moving your furniture in, planting flowers, or hosting your first big holiday party. The trick is not to get too attached prematurely. There are a number of steps you must take before you're holding the keys in your hand, and you need to think clearly and objectively at this point so that the offer you make is a realistic one.
Determining what you should offer. There are a number of factors that will affect the offer you make. You can rely on your Weichert Sales Associate to help you determine a home's value relative to others in the area. Together, you'll also consider the condition of the home, the demand for homes like it, how long it's been on the market and, of course, how much you really want it.
Rest assured that your Weichert Sales Associate is a neighborhood specialist, well trained in the techniques of negotiation. After helping you think through the issues to determine the best offer for you to make at the time, your Sales Associate is well qualified to negotiate on your behalf with your best interests in mind.
Written offer with deposit. Your Sales Associate will strengthen your written offer by presenting it personally and describing your case to the seller in person. To show that your intentions are serious, it is customary to submit the offer with a deposit. If your offer is accepted, your deposit is placed in a trust account. If not, your deposit will be returned to you.
If the seller counteroffers, you may agree to that price and terms, or make your own counteroffer. Once you and the seller agree, both sides initial the final price and terms shown on the agreement of sale.
The final contract will specify the items in the home included or excluded in the sale, as well as any additional provisions either side wants to have as part of the contract. End dates for contingencies, such as for obtaining financing, are also filled in before the contract is signed.
Additional deposit. Depending upon the price of the home and the size of your down payment, the contract may specify a date when additional monies would be placed into the trust account. At this time, the mortgage company or your attorney will order a title search and insurance.
Mortgage contingency. Unless you are an all-cash buyer, as part of your sales contract, you generally will agree to obtain financing within a specified period. This period may be extended with the seller's agreement. If you are unable to secure financing, the contract becomes null and void.
A Smooth Transaction
Here's why you should be glad that Weichert offers one-stop shopping. Even with a signed contract in hand, there's still a lot to deal with before the house you found can become the home you live in. Through WEICHERT® REALTORS - Regional Properties Gold Services Division, we can take most of the details out of your hands and into ours, smoothly streamlining the delivery of mortgage financing, home insurance, closing attorney, moving services and even vital home connections services to save you time and make the transition easier.
Inspections While only certain inspections are required by mortgage lenders or government mandate, a comprehensive home inspection is needed to tell you exactly what needs repair or replacement before you actually purchase a home. However, it is not legally required, so you, as the buyer, must pay for it. It is also recommended that at the time of the inspection you accompany the home inspector so that you can learn firsthand as much as possible about the home you are about to purchase - including such basics as where the main water shut-off and electrical distribution boxes are located.
What if the inspections turn up problems? You should expect problems to be uncovered. While some may be a matter of simple cosmetics, others may be more serious and may call for costly repairs. The good news, however, is that in most cases you and the seller will be able to come to terms. You may decide to compromise and share the costs of repairs or the seller may take the responsibility. In some cases, you may just decide that an issue is not important enough to risk losing the home.
Mortgage Financing Unless you have a mortgage credit approval, obtaining financing in time to meet the date specified in your sales contract is a top priority. WEICHERT® REALTORS - Regional Properties mortgage broker relationships offers all types of mortgages, so you're sure to find the one that's best for you. When meeting with a mortgage specialist, ask all the questions you like so that you clearly understand what your financing options are.
Home Warranty Plan If the home you're purchasing doesn't come with a Home Protection Plan, you may want to consider one. After all, breakdowns happen even with the best-name appliances. And they're not normally covered under homeowners insurance. Instead of worrying that a dishwasher, for instance, will go on the blink, a Weichert Home Protection Plan offers repair or replacement protection for covered major appliances and systems, with qualified contractors only a phone call away. Often times, a seller provides a Home Warranty plan to their buyer for coverage during the first year after their closing day.
Property Insurance We work with a well respected insurance brokerage firm with over three decades of experience in providing personal, commercial, and life insurance for Connecticut residents and clients of Weichert Realtors Regional Properties. They work along with regional and national insurance carriers to provide the best quality coverage and outstanding customer service. With our variety of services, we can help build an insurance plan that fits you, your family, or your business.
Here's what it takes to make a new home yours: a final walk-through and closing.
The final "walk-through" is typically scheduled within 24 hours of the closing/settlement. It gives you one last opportunity to make sure that the home you are purchasing is in the condition that you and the seller mutually agreed to in the sales contract.
Should a problem arise during the walk-through, your Weichert Sales Associate will contact the seller's representative to let him or her know what the deficiency is. If the seller accepts responsibility, money for the repairs can be allocated to you at the closing/settlement. If the seller does not agree to the repairs, your Sales Associate will act as the go-between to help you and the seller reach a satisfactory compromise so that the closing is not delayed.
When the closing/settlement day arrives, be sure to bring:
- A certified check for the closing/settlement costs (your mortgage lender or attorney will advise you beforehand)
- Your homeowners' policy
- Photo identification
- Your checkbook for any miscellaneous costs that may come up
You'll sign the mortgage and many other documents, adjustments will be made for such items as property taxes, the seller will be paid, and you will receive the title or deed and the keys to your new home. Be prepared to sign your name over and over again, but when you're done, it's time to celebrate – you're ready to move into your new home!