Buying or selling a home? Preferred Real Estate can help.

Purchasing a home intimidates most people, but with a little planning ahead of time, it isn't all that difficult. I like to give buyers an overview of the whole deal so they understand exactly what to expect. Here are my nine steps to purchasing a home. If you have questions about this information or if you're ready to get started, you can contact me here or e-mail me at .

Step 1 – Prepare to buy a home
Before you begin searching for a home, there are a lot of things you should contemplate. When you start your search, you'll want to create a check list of items you want, get an idea of what neighborhoods and school districts you'd like to live in, and begin working on your budget. Ensuring your mortgage payment is no more than 30 percent of your net monthly income is a good principle to follow.

Step 2 – Talk to a real estate agent
This is where Preferred Real Estate can help. 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 upcoming plans. We'll talk about everything from neighborhoods, school districts in the Saint Cloud area, the mortgage and housing industries, to any other economic factors that might affect your purchase today or in the future.

I'll also help you begin the loan process. There are some great mortgage professionals in Saint Cloud, and I work with a lot of them, so you'll be in great hands. They can assist you in determining which kind of loan is best for you and help you get approved.

Step 3 – Begin your search
After our first meeting, I'll begin looking for available homes on the market that are a good fit for you. I'll get a sneak peek of many of the homes and eliminate the duds, and then we'll book appointments to view the houses at a time that's convenient for you.

When we tour homes, I'll call attention to positive features and negative ones. I'll also ask you to tell us about things you like and don't like. Frequently, buyers amend their must-have list as we tour homes and some things become far more important than others. If that happens, I'll go back through all the listings another time and narrow it down to the home you've been dreaming about.

Step 4 – Know the market
My knowledge of the Saint Cloud housing market is an imperative element in your home search. I am familiar with all the neighborhoods and school districts, and I will let you know what areas are "hot" and warrant immediate action and others that are "cold" and allow for thoughtful examination.

As we tour houses, I'll let you know if the asking price has room for bargaining or if I believe the home is "priced to sell." Trust your instincts and be sure to ask lots of questions, as any real estate agent in Saint Cloud will claim to truly understand the market. If things don't add up, just call me at (407) 791-3116 or e-mail me at , and I'll be happy to answer any questions you have. My market expertise will keep you a step ahead through the entire process.

Step 5 – Find the home of your dreams
I'm sure we'll find the house of your dreams in Saint Cloud. When we do, I'll meticulously create your purchase offer. The offer will be tailored exactly to your needs and the home, including several contingencies, such as obtaining financing, completing the inspection, and a clean title.

When sending in your offer, most likely you'll need to submit "earnest money." This is a cash deposit submitted to the home seller to secure an offer to purchase the property. The amount is often applied to the closing costs. If the offer is accepted, we should close on the home within 30 to 60 days after. This allows necessary time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate
Most deals aren't closed on the beginning offer, and it's really common to receive a counter offer. Don't let it discourage you. We'll talk about whether or not to consent to the counter offer, propose our own counter offer, or decline the seller's offer and go on.

The state of the market will play a large role in how aggressively we negotiate the contract. We'll also work within your financing constraints. And at the end of the day, we'll assemble a contract that's best for you.

Step 7 – Get financing
Once we sign the final sales contract, you'll begin working with your lender to close the loan. If you're pre-approved, this shouldn't take much time at all. However, you should to keep in close contact with your mortgage lender. And I'll look after all the property information your mortgage lender needs to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
You'll get a Loan Estimate (LE) of your closing costs from your mortgage lender within three days of getting your application. The estimate is based on the loan amount. RESPA requirements require that it has to include all closing costs and fall within a close range of accuracy, and I'll go over the estimate and let you know if it all looks permissible.

Then it's time to close on your home. This will most often take place at a title company or escrow office and should be a smooth and comfortable occurrence.

Step 9 – Move in
Congratulations! It's time to move into your new home. Enjoy it. And if you need anything, simply contact me at (407) 791-3116 or e-mail me at .

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