Buyer's Road Map
DREAM THE DREAM
For decades, the American dream has included home ownership. Home is where the heart is and where memories are made. Buying a home is one of the biggest investments and financial decisions you can make. While it is a major commitment and responsibility, it is also a very exciting time in your life. It’s important to keep in mind that home buying is a complicated process. I work hard to make sure you can make informed decisions and act as an educated buyer. I’ll guide you every step of the way to help you achieve your goals, needs, and desires.
Buying goals will help you stay focused. With thousands of houses for sale, it is important to have a list of the Top 10 features as your goals. The most important first step is LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. Sound familiar? This may include a school district, proximity to work, or ease of travel. Consider the style, interior features, lot features, size and age of the home you are looking for. You will evolve over the home search process, so it is important to keep an open mind. Where you start may not be where you end. Once you find the house with 7 out of the Top 10, that’s the one to buy. If you wait for all of the Top 10, you may never find it.
TALK TO THE $$ PEOPLE
Showing the Seller how you are paying for the home is your best negotiating strategy. When you talk to a lender, you will confirm the price range in which you can buy. Most buyers are qualified to buy a more expensive house than what they want to budget for. It is very important that you start your search at the right price range, because if you look at houses beyond your budget, it will be harder to pull back into your price range. Finding out your credit situation, what type of loan is best suited for you, how much the payment will be, how much down payment is required, what is the best interest rate, and how long it will take to get your loan are all answers you will get from a lender.
With over 94% of home buyers beginning their search online, ReeceNichols was the first in the market to bring consumers a mobile app. I have my own mobile website as well, offering advanced search options, property photos, mapping, and other useful tools right in the palm of your hand. It allows you to search the entire MLS, save searches, and be alerted immediately to new listings that match your criteria. It features:
Property Quick Search
Enter your search criteria and get real-time results for listings in Kansas City and surrounding markets
Advanced Home Search
Added functionality to narrow your home search results to your exact specifications, save them and be alerted for new listings
Open House Search
Search our online schedule to plan and map your Open House weekend tour
View full color photos and complete property information direct from ReeceNichols.com
READY – SET – GO
Home shopping can be both exciting and exhausting, but it will belp tremendously if you are very prepared. Chances are you have already started your search. Accurate information is key for the best decision. I can provide that through the Multiple Listing Service. We will look at neighborhood solds, trends, and evaluate the data. Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com are easy ways to search, but they don’t provide the most accurate information. We will use all of these so you can be assured, your decision will be the right one. Here are some quick tips:
- Don’t view too many properties in one day.
- Bring a notebook, pen, and camera with you as you search.
- Keep a folder with flyers so you can remember what you saw.
- When you find a home you like, drive by different times of the day and view it more than once.
- Don’t be put off by interior decorations – they can be changed.
BRAIN vs HEART
Buy it with your brain, but pick it with your heart
Here are 10 effective ways to strengthen your offer and beat the competition:
- WRITE A LETTER TO THE SELLER – Tell the Seller why you want to buy their home, a little about you and your family, and point out the strengths of your offer.
- INCLUDE ALL ADDENDUMS AND DOCUMENTS WITH YOUR OFFER – Have the total Offer package available to the Seller to review.
- INCLUDE YOUR PRE-APPROVAL LETTER OR A PROOF OF FUNDS LETTER – The Seller will want to know how you are going to pay for the home before they agree to take the house off the market and go forward with the transaction.
- MINIMIZE INCLUSIONS – If you are competing, this is not the best time to ask the Seller to include personal property with the sale, especially if they have excluded items on the Seller’s Disclosure.
- INSPECTION CONTINGENCY – Sellers are always nervous about going through the inspection process. A buyer can reserve the right to satisfactory inspections with an “In It’s Present Condition” amendment, giving your offer an advantage over a buyer that has an open-ended amount for a seller.
- REQUESTS FOR SELLER CONCESSIONS – Sellers usually don’t like to pay closing costs for Buyers. They will always “net” out the concession but the sales price is then artificially increased which could put the appraisal amount in jeopardy. Always compensate the seller by strengthening up other features of your offer.
- EARNEST MONEY – It is customary for the earnest deposit to be 1-3% of the asking price. It is deposited into an escrow account once all parties have agreed to the offer contract. It is refundable within the various contingencies within the contract. The more “skin” your are willing to put into the game, the more solid your offer appears to the Seller. This can really get a Seller’s attention when you are trying to offset a concession somewhere else in the offer, without any additional risk to you.
- CLOSING AND POSSESSION DATE – If you can be flexible, based on what works best for the Seller, you will have a big advantage. Find out what the Seller prefers. Accommodate the Seller’s needs if at all possible. If you can’t, then offset the date by strengthening the offer in other areas that you can.
- CUSTOMARY COSTS – In Kansas City, the title work is customarily a Seller cost. Some Buyer’s closing costs can be paid by the Seller but the amount is dictated by the lender. Usually around 2-3% of the loan amount is the most a lender will allow for a Seller contribution to a Buyer’s closing costs. Inspections, appraisals, and lender fees are the costs for a Buyer.
- CASH IS KING – This is not an option for most buyers, but a Buyer will always be in the optimal position by offering cash, for several reasons. Cash closings are uncomplicated and quick. There are no lender appraisal concerns, no possible lender restrictions, and no waiting period for a buyer to be able to close.
LUCKY NUMBER 7, 15, 21
Looking at houses can be fun or NOT. It really depends on your attitude. Most buyers like to narrow down their search with online pictures before they actually go inside. A typical showing will consist of the layout of the house, size of yard, and how the neighborhood looks. We will look at the basement and find out the age of the systems. Usually around 15-20 minutes is enough to get the “feel” of the house. If you go back a second time to look, you will see lots of features you missed the first time, that will help you decide if this is the home or not. It doesn’t matter how many homes you look at 7, 15 or 21. It all depends on you.
LET’S MAKE A DEAL
You should read the Offer to Purchase Contract before you find a home. Your questions can be answered clearer when the emotions aren’t running high. We will then strategize and present your Offer package to the Seller’s agent. They present the offer to the Seller. The Seller may accept, reject or make a Counter Offer to the Buyer. There are usually 2 or more back and forth Counter Offers to arrive at the terms agreeable to both Buyer and Seller. Once an agreement has been made and the last party signs the contract, that is the Effective Date and the clock starts ticking toward your closing date. This is a very exciting time!
THE $$ FLOWS
It will feel like every time you turn around, you are writing a check. It is important to be ready, because the timing moves fast and there are time-sensitive deadlines in the contract that must be met. Your earnest deposit, inspections, appraisal, and insurance are all paid before you close. Your down payment and all other closing costs will be paid at the closing at the end of the escrow period. A cashier’s check is usually required at the closing, so you will have to budget time to arrange that prior to the closing. It is very exciting but it moves fast.