Buyers

Glossary

Make Sense of those Confusing Real Estate Conversations 

Buying or selling a home can be stressful. But what may be even more stressful is having a conversation with your realtor or mortgage lender where you don’t really understand what they are talking about. Here’s a quick dictionary for you to help navigate those tricky conversations. 

Escrow 

An agreed upon amount of money that the buyer gives as a gesture of good faith that they are serious about moving forward on the contract.  The escrow check is held by either the listing or buyer’s agent and is given back to the buyer at closing.  

VA Loan

A type of loan backed by the Veterans Administration that is available to American veterans. It allows the buyer to secure long-term financing without having to make a down payment but may have higher interest rates and stricter inspection standards.

 

FHA Loan

A type of loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration that allows borrowers to make a lower down payment. FHA borrowers must pay mortgage insurance, which can increase their monthly payment. FHA loans also may have stricter inspection standards. 

Conventional Loan

Any loan not covered by the Veterans Administration or Federal Housing Administration. A conventional loan allows the borrower to select their down payment usually without the additional cost of mortgage insurance. 

Appraisal

A lender will always have a certified third party give their opinion on the price of the home. The appraiser will spend several hours touring the home and comparing like homes in the neighborhood to determine the home’s price. The appraiser must value the home at or above the loan amount or the lender will not approve financing. 

Home Inspection

The buyer pays a certified inspector to tour and report on the condition of the home.  Once the report is complete, the buyer has an opportunity to negotiate any repairs or they could choose to terminate the contract without penalty. 

Pre-Approval Letter

A mortgage lender will provide you with a letter stating based on an initial look at your financials you are qualified to buy a house within a certain range. Most sellers will look for a pre-approval letter when reviewing a contract to ensure the buyer is financially sound. 

Closing Statement

Shortly before you are scheduled to close on your home, the closing attorney should send a statement for you to review. This closing statement will list credits and debits due to the seller and buyer, giving each party a total of what monies they will need to bring to or will receive at closing. It is important to review this carefully to ensure any monetary amounts or home warranties promised during contract negotiation are listed properly. It will be too late to change the closing statement on closing day. 

Short Sale

A short sale will occur when a homeowner sells a house for less than the remaining loan. Short sales can be a lengthy process because they require approval from the lender. 

Foreclosure

A foreclosure can occur when a homeowner fails to pay their mortgage. The mortgage company can seize the property through court order and evict the homeowner. The mortgage company would then try to recoup their loss by selling the home. 

Title Insurance

When preparing for closing, your closing attorney or title company will preform a title search to ensure the homeowner owns the property and is free to sell it. Title insurance defends the homeowner in court if someone else claims they have a right to the property.

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Make Your Home Buying Experience Less Stressful

Follow these simple steps and you could be sitting in your new dream home before you know it! 

First, work with a real estate agent that you trust.  You need to have faith in their abilities and experience.  If you are constantly seconding guessing their advice, this will only add to your stress, not reduce it.  You want to work with an agent that answers your phone calls, texts and emails, and stays in touch with you every step of the way.

Home buying is about decisions.  There are large ones, like which area of town you want to live in, which home plan is right for you, what your budget is, who to use as a lender, etc.  And there are small ones, such as whom to complete the termite inspection.  The way to keep stress low is to make informed decisions and then let it go.  Don't beat yourself up over what could have been or what you should have done.  Hindsight is always 20/20.

Along those same lines, remember the phrase, 'Too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth.' Yes, there are family members and friends who have great advice to share.  However, asking too many people for their opinions can distract your mind from your own wishes and wants.  Be careful to keep the advise in moderation.  This is your decision after all!

Avoid 'cocktail talk' too.  It seems invariably that there are always those that say they got a better deal than you did, a lower interest rate, more concessions, blah, blah, blah.  Often times, you may be getting part of the story or they don't truly understand the process.  Don't allow braggarts and fibbers to make you second guess your decisions.  More often than not, they are just trying to make themselves feel important and you feel less important.  Steer clear of such toxic talk.

There is no 'perfect' house or deal.  There will be things that don't go as planned.  Now is the time to focus on the good things about the move and the deal.  Don't get bogged down in the little things.  Buy a house that you love and that makes good financial sense.

And finally, plan ahead.  It is tempting to channel Scarlett O'Hara and worry about things tomorrow, but time is of the essence when you're buying.  Deals can move quickly and between hiring inspectors, getting appriasals, going on showings and hiring movers you don't want to be weighted down with everything all at once.  Make lists and timelines to keep you on track!

The bottom line is this...buying a home is a big responsibility.  It takes time and it takes money.  But the end result, owning a home that is a good fit for you, is always worth it.  So take a deep breath, plan ahead, make those lists and don't be too hard on yourself.  Enjoy the process and enjoy your new home.

The folks here at Julie Pogue Properties area always ready, willing and able to help you achieve your home buying goals and keep your stress level as low as possible.  We do this every single day and can help you through the entire process.  Give us a call when you're ready to start.

Hope you all have a terrific week! 

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The Chicken or the Egg?

When you are in the market for a new home, what should you consider first--the neighborhood or the home itself?

Over and over again you will hear the top three considerations when buying a home are price, location and condition.  However, what you will hear most of those three is, 'Location, location, location.'  That should tell you that you choose your neighborhood first.  Then you look for price and condition.  The chicken and the egg are about getting things in the right order.

We have numerous clients that tell us that they will buy almost anything if they can live in Anchorage, or Hurstbourne or Lake Forest, etc....if they live in walking distance of their parents/sister/best friend or of a school, church and local shopping.  Others are picking their homes based upon commuting time and distance.  Time and gas are precious resources these days!

If you have specific criteria such as this pick the neighborhood first.  Today you have available to you a large number of homes located throughout these neighborhoods.  Only look in those neighborhoods.  You may not find a new home in an established neighborhood so your house may not be exactly how you envisioned it but your location will be.  You can always renovate and change a home but you cannot change the character and location of the neighborhood.

Identify what is important to you--commute time, shopping, schools, local amenities such as parks, rivers, lakes or other recreation and narrow the neighborhoods drown to three or four, if possible, that would suit your desires.  You will not be sorry that you did this critical thinking before you start your home search and it will reduce the hours that you might otherwise spend unnecessarily looking at homes that you are not in an area that will suit your needs.

We at Julie Pogue Properties are glad to help you identify the neighborhoods that would suit your needs.  Just give us a call and we can start helping you in your search to find the perfect home.

Have a great week!

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House Hunting Checklist

I recently had the opportunity to work with a very well-organized buyer.  We looked at more than 30 homes that matched her criteria.  As the housing inventory is so great, there are more homes to see than ever before.  Right now it is truly a buyer's market.  But, with so many homes to view, they can all begin to look alike if you don't remain organized.  This gal was ready with her checklist and really took the time to fill it out between each showing.

Some of the things on her list included the amenities she required (or if they were missing), ratings on the neighborhood, traffic, surrounding area, how much yard maintenance would be necessary, ability to re-sell in approximately three years and even a measurement for her 'Wow' factor--really a good way for her to  purchase with her head as well as her heart.

I have no doubt we will be writing a contract for her very soon and she will be living in a home that will 'rise up to greet you,' as so aptly put by popular television show host, Nate Berkus.

If you'd like help developing a list when you start house-hunting, just let us know.  We will be honored to help you.

Have a terrific week! 

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Ben Franklin's Advice

Ben Franklin is attributed to the saying, 'Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.' I was thinking of this after having a conversation with several of my respected colleagues.  

While it is very common to deal with unrealistic sellers' expectations reflecting markets past, we are now seeing more and more of first time buyers making unrealistic low-ball offers amounting to discounts of up to 40% on well maintained properties that are COMPETITIVELY priced for our current LOCAL market!

Or, we encounter the buyers that constantly insist on looking at properties that are way beyond their means.  They are pre-qualified for $500,000 and truly believe they will be able to purchase a $1,000,000 home for half the price, despite what might be our very best efforts to explain the facts to them with current comps in hand.  And, they get quite offended when their low-ball offer is completely ignored by the sellers many times blaming lack of response on their agents.

And all of this, because they keep hearing from the national media and pundits that housing prices have to fall even further, for whatever reasons...or, at a local cocktail party what great deals 'so and so' is getting on their ever-growing real estate portfolio! Hence, my reference to Ben Franklin's advice.

As real estate professionals we are bound by duty to put these offers through and almost every time they'll go nowhere, with no counter offer or any other response leaving us cringing at the thought of what other seasoned agents may be thinking and eventually we lose our disappointed, unrealistic buyers unless we finally succeed in educating them regarding our local real estate market.  

I pledge to always take the time to educate you about your target market and your ability to purchase before you start looking at your first property.  That is my job as a real estate professional.  You should expect no less of any other real estate professional.

Have a terrific week and keep dry! 

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The Value of Good PeopleBrian Just, Century Mortgage Company

I think that everyone would agree that surrounding yourself with good people is one of the best ways to assure that your business runs smoothly and everyone's expectations are met.

I'd like to tell you a little bit about one gentleman that we count on to make sure our clients are getting the best lending products available for their needs.  His name is Brian Just and he is a loan officer with Century Mortgage Company.

Brian has been with Century Mortgage for fourteen years.  Prior to joining Century Mortgage, he obtained a marketing degree from the University of Louisville and has had management experience with United Parcel Service.

Brian has consistently been a top producer with Century Mortgage and has a long list of satisfied clients.  He is extremely professional and confidential.  He stays up to date on all the latest lending products.  He is thorough in his explanations and gets our clients to the closing table in a timely manner.  He works the way we like to work---in a professional, personal and accessible manner.

We can count on him to take good care of our customers and he is one of our top 'go to' guys for our customer's lending needs.  We are very thankful to have such an excellent professional partner like Brian. 

Brian Just, Loan Officer

Century Mortgage Company

 

Have a terrific week!

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Five Reasons to Use a Buyer's Agent

Reason #1: Using a buyer's agent is completely free for the buyer.

Reason #2: Using a buyer's agent gives you full access to the Multiple Listing System (MLS).

Reason #3: Using a buyer's agent ensures that someone is on your side with only your best interest in mind.

Reason #4: Using a buyer's agent allows more time for rest and relaxation knowing that someone else is doing all the hard work for you.

Reason #5: Using a buyer's agent helps to ensure you are getting your home for the best price possible.

Click here to learn more about why it is wise to use a buyer's agent.
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