SIMPLIFYING YOUR FIRST HOME PURCHASE
Published by Authorify Publishing Copyright © 2019 Authorify Publishing
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. DISCLAIMER AND/OR LEGAL NOTICES: While all attempts have been made to verify information provided in this publication, neither the Author nor the Publisher assumes any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, or omissions. Any slights of people or organizations are unintentional. This publication is not intended for use as a source of legal or accounting advice. The Publisher wants to stress that the information contained herein may be subject to varying state and/ or local laws or regulations. The reader of this publication assumes responsibility for the use of these materials and information. Adherence to all applicable laws and regulations, including advertising and all other aspects of doing business in the United States or any other jurisdiction is the sole responsibility of the reader. The Author and publisher assume no responsibility or liability whatsoever on behalf of any reader of these materials. If your property is currently listed with a Realtor, please disregard this notice. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other brokers. Printed in the United States of America
Table Of Contents
1. Owning Vs. Renting
2. Needs And Desires
3. Getting That First Home Loan
4. First-Time Homebuyer Programs
5. Common First-Time Mistakes
6. Searching For The Right Home
7. 12 Steps To Buying A Home
8. Hire An Agent Or Buy Alone?
9. Dos And Don'ts Of Negotiations
10. What To Know About Home Inspections
11. The Closing Process
12. Moving Tips For The First-Timer
13. Real Estate Horror Stories
When I first ventured into the real estate industry years ago, I did so with the hopes of helping sellers like you avoid the headaches often associated with the home-selling process. In my years of experience, not only have I helped alleviate the stress of selling for numerous clients, but I’ve also accumulated years of knowledge to help them get more money for their homes in the least amount of time. I decided to share all of my expertise in one place with potential clients. And that’s why you’re receiving this book. I want to help you have the best possible home-selling experience. And by that, I mean I want you to 1. Get the most money possible for your home, 2. Sell in the least amount of time, and 3. Avoid the headaches most commonly associated with the home-selling process. Think of this book as my gift to you. It contains insider advice on the home-selling process to help you achieve your ultimate real estate goals, including: • Secret strategies to sell your home for more money • Marketing techniques employed by top agents • Advice on how to appeal to today’s buyers • And much, much more If, after reading through it, you want to hire me to help you sell your home, I’d be more than happy to meet with you to discuss a specific plan to sell your home. Happy reading!
AGENT was raised in CITY with X siblings. As a child, AGENT had aspirations of being a OCCUPATION. Never in a million years did he think he’d stumble into the real estate industry, but you can’t always predict where or when you’ll discover what you’re meant to do in life. AGENT was taught at a young age that if you want something in life, you have to work for it. So that’s what he did. And he worked hard. As the years went by, AGENT worked his way from FIRST JOB to LATER JOB, never wavering in his resolve to become the best version of himself with each career move. AGENT got into the real estate industry X years ago when STORY ABOUT HOW YOU GOT INTO REAL ESTATE/WHY. He set out to LIST ASPIRATIONS FROM WHEN YOU STARTED OUT IN REAL ESTATE. As his career advanced, AGENT found his stride working with NICHE MARKET/SPECIFIC MARKET AREA/TYPE. He’s an expert in LIST AREAS OF EXPERTISE/SKILLS THAT SET YOU APART FROM OTHER AGENTS.
Throughout his career, AGENT has earned numerous accolades, including:
• LIST ACCOMPLISHMENTS • LIST SALES STATS ix
• ANY OTHER IMPRESSIVE INFO YOU’D LIKE TO INCLUDE
AGENT aims to provide the highest level of service to his clients and takes deep pride in helping them achieve their real estate goals. AGENT aims to provide the highest level of service to his clients and takes deep pride in helping them achieve their real estate goals.
Testimonials & Reviews for Agent Name
Here’s a list of people whom I have helped buy or sell a home, and what they said about working with me:
Agent-Name had a tough job, but she did it!
We were tough clients! We were moving to City and didn’t have a lot of time to look at houses, having to deal with our employer’s relocation, and all of the other challenges that came along. But, Agent-Name went above and beyond to help us. Even now, one year after the sale closed, I can still call her for business and service recommendations in the area — she knows just about everyone, and is very happy to help.
Agent-Name is the best agent in City!
I’ve used Agent-Name twice so far, and I was impressed both times. I bought my dream home with AGENT a year ago. She worked long and hard to find me the perfect home. And she just recently sold another property of mine. Everything went quickly and smoothly. Both of my real estate deals were done very quickly and professionally. Agent is honestly the BEST in her business. I would highly recommend her.
Agent-Name perseverance got me the house
My experience with Agent-Name during the entire home- buying process, from start to finish, has been nothing short of exceptional. I have a unique work structure, and because of this, it was very difficult to find mortgage lenders that would approve me for a home. I was very frustrated and on the verge of giving up, but Agent-Name insisted that we continue searching. Not only did we find a mortgage lender but also a mortgage that I felt great about. His perseverance is the reason I am now a homeowner. He is professional, punctual, knowledgeable, and very easy to work with. With the highest regard, I will recommend Agent-Name to all my friends and family.
Very attentive to concerns, details, and negotiations
Agent-Name helped me find a house by literally picking it out for me. Every house I wanted to go to, I got there and didn’t love it. Agent-Name was busy taking note of the likes and dislikes I was stating and said “I have a house that you’re going to love”.... AND I DID! I went back 4 or 5 times to show other members of my family, and she accommodated me without complaint. I was a first-time homebuyer, and she walked me through the steps of everything, gave me advice, and constantly followed up to make sure I was doing OK. With her help, I was able to close on the house early, right before I started my new job. I would recommend Agent-Name to EVERYONE, buying or selling. Agent-Name made it so so easy. She guided us through the entire process. She recommended great people to work with
every step of the way. She was available 24/7 to answer any questions we may have had. With her high standards, expertise in the industry, and patience, we would recommend her as a Realtor to anyone looking! She was amazing!
Agent-Name even advised me on how to prepare my house
Agent-Name was a gem. In addition to being highly knowledgeable about the real estate market, with many years of experience, he is a consummate professional. He was extremely easy to work with, gave me very good advice about preparing my house for sale and was very responsive during the entire process of receiving offers, selling and closing. I would work with him again in a heartbeat. He’s that good.
Agent-Name is the first agent I would call
Agent-Name and his team were able to rapidly list, show and sell my property. Being an expert in real estate, he was spot on in his pricing of my property and getting this deal completed. Overall, I highly recommend him and his team. If I want to buy real estate, AGENT would be the first person I’d call.
Agent-Name got us an offer in three days!
Agent-Name was the consummate professional during our stressful and difficult process. In the midst of juggling a ‘failed’ marketing effort with another agent, she presented a
well thought out plan and strategy to sell our home in short order. We needed to move quickly due to a growing family and another baby on the way. She helped alleviate that pressure by securing an acceptable offer with 3 days of listing. We put pressure on her, and she delivered. We couldn’t thank her enough.
Agent-Name kept us calm throughout the process!
Agent-Name always made herself available to answer questions. She worked hard to sell our home and find the best fit for our new home. She and her team worked with us through the entire process and kept us calm when we got anxious.
I am 100 percent satisfied!!
Agent-Name is professional and knowledgeable about everything. She is also always available. I would definitely recommend her to anyone. Very smooth transaction from start to finish. I felt confident with her experience.
Agent-Name found us our dream home
Agent-Name was very efficient and helped us find our dream home within a few short months. She was able to negotiate the price that we wanted for the house. Overall, I would look for her again to help us look for a house if need be in the future. Thank you so much!
Efficient communication and service
Agent-Name and his staff were very helpful in selling our condo. They kept me informed frequently with email, sending reports on showings, offers, and feedback from potential buyers. We are very satisfied.
Agent-Name will get your house sold fast!
Agent-Name is great and has the expertise to get your house sold. The communications throughout our sale (from beginning to end) has been outstanding. Agent-Name understands the stress involved in selling your house, and she updated our family consistently! This made us feel we were in good hands. I have worked with numerous agents, and I highly recommend her to represent you when it comes time to sell your home.
Excellent experience topped with a personal touch
Excellent experience all around, not only knowledgeable but Agent-Name and team have a very personal touch I felt like family throughout the entire process. He always took his time; we never felt rushed or like “just a number.” I sold my home and bought with him. We had lots of questions he gladly answered them with no problem and guided us through the entire process, eliminating lots of stress. I truly appreciate that and would recommend him and his team to family and friends.
CHAPTER 1 Owning vs. Renting
Owning your own home may be one of the defining qualities of the American Dream, the set of ideals that includes opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work. Homeownership has long been considered one of the strongest representations of that vision — 66% of Americans own their own home, and many more hope they will or wish they did. Something about homeownership plucks a strong chord with Americans. Financial security, permanency, status, or pride; whatever the reason for wanting to own your own home, there has never been a time in recent memory when the health of our credit reports has meant so much as when we decide to buy a home of our own. Lifestyle plays a big role in the decision to own versus rent. Home-buying is most often driven by household formation, such as marriage and childbirth, but not always: for the millennial generation, the primary reported reason for buying a home is owning a dog. Age is also a major factor in general: less than 40% of people under 35 years old own homes, while 60% of people over 35 years old own homes, and more than 80% of people 65 years old or older own homes.
The U.S. homeownership rate has fluctuated between 62% and 70% since the 1950s. Most young people begin their independent lives renting an apartment, maximizing lifestyle flexibility and minimizing the hefty upfront costs associated with purchasing a home. As they build careers, save money, and start families, many choose to buy a home, recognizing that homeownership as opposed to rental living better accommodates their growing family needs. Their needs may be better filled by a single-family house, condominium, townhouse, or duplex of their own. At the other end of the age spectrum are homeowners nearing retirement who may now desire to sell their homes, downsizing and avoiding the maintenance and other obligations of homeownership by renting.
WHICH IS BEST?
Is it better to rent or buy a home? Virtually all adults ask themselves this at some point as they form their goals and plan for the years ahead. Owning and renting each have their advantages, but what is best for you depends on your circumstances. Before you decide, here are some things to ask yourself. • How long will you stay in the home? Each market is different, but whether the time you plan to spend in the house warrants its purchase can be predicted. In general terms, it takes four to seven years to break even on a home (i.e., where there has been enough appreciation to pay back the cost of the transaction
and cost of ownership). If you are thinking about buying a home and selling it in two years, it is very unlikely that buying will be cheaper than renting. • Do you think of or need your house as an investment in your retirement plan? Americans are used to their homes being a store for wealth they can liquidate in retirement as part of downsizing their lifestyle. In 2015, Gallop reported for the second straight year that more Americans named real estate as the best long-term investment, over stocks, gold, savings accounts/CDs, and bonds. Real estate leads with 31% of Americans choosing it, followed by stocks/mutual funds, at 25%. A cautionary note though — although home prices have recovered from their pre-2007 market slump and continue to rise, the price of your home can still fall. • Are you financially ready? Owning a home is a financial commitment that requires planning how homeownership will fit into where your life is headed. Ask yourself what your budget is and if either buying or renting would require you to stretch your finances. Crunch all the numbers. A frequent mistake of first- time homebuyers is comparing a month’s rent to a month’s mortgage payment. There are many additional fees necessary to include to make a fair comparison: principal interest, property taxes, property insurance, homeowners’ association fees, and maintenance. • Are you prepared for the down payment? This is the lump sum payment that funds your equity in the property (how much of the property you actually
own). Down payments vary; 20% is preferred and gets the best rates. There are some loans that allow down payments as low as 3%. Sometimes, relatives contribute to the down payment. If you have an opportunity, take a gift rather than a loan because lenders will add that debt to other monthly obligations and potential mortgage payments to determine your debt-to-income ratio, which generally can’t top 43% to qualify for a home loan. • Can you afford the monthly mortgage and its components? Generally, a mortgage includes loan principal and interest (both amortized over the life of the loan) plus homeowner’s insurance and property taxes (which are pro-rated). These items can affect the monthly loan-only payment by several hundred dollars. • Are you emotionally ready? Can you handle the stress? A big factor to consider when buying a home is stress. The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, a landmark stress study, ranks many events that go along with buying a home in the top 43 most stressful circumstances in life. Four events are specifically home-related: change in financial state (No. 16), large mortgage or loan (No. 20), change in living conditions (No. 28) and change in residence (No. 32). If someone has recently made other life changes such as marriage (No. 7), switching careers (No. 18) or having a child (No. 14), it might be wise to postpone buying a home. Stress overload can lead to missed payments, which can destroy your credit or even make you lose your home. It’s better to rent if your
life is in flux, and then buy when your stress levels are lower. • Are you ready for commitment? Are you ready to make lots of decisions, from picking a real estate agent to picking paint colors? Are you confident enough to choose a neighborhood where you believe home values will continue to appreciate in value and that will serve your needs (e.g., proximity to schools, shopping, recreation, etc.)? Are you ready to devote the time and attention to maintain a home (e.g., leaf- raking, grass-cutting, appliance maintenance and repair, etc.)? Taking care of your investment can be gratifying, but only if you are prepared.
ADVANTAGES OF BUYING YOUR HOME
• Control over housing expenses. By selecting a fixed- rate 15-, 20-, or 30-year mortgage, the homeowner has assurance that housing costs will not increase over the period, and, in fact, will be eliminated at the end of the term (subject to refinancing). • You build equity. Some of each monthly mortgage payment goes toward the loan’s interest. Other portions may go to homeowner’s insurance and county taxes. The remainder pays down the loan principal. Every dollar put toward your loan’s principal represents a dollar of equity — actual ownership of the property. Further, the property should appreciate in value each year, adding to equity (the difference between the current fair market value of a property and the amount of debt owed against it).
With certain blip periods such as the 2007 housing bubble burst, home prices in the US appreciate nationally at an average annual rate between three and five percent (home value appreciation in different metro areas can appreciate at markedly different rates than the national average). • Improvements increase your home’s value. A homeowner can also increase a home’s value through home improvements, thus both making your home more comfortable and enjoyable while growing its loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. For instance, adding a bathroom or finishing a basement substantially increases the property’s functionality and curb appeal, while potentially boosting its value. • Tax advantages of homeownership. You qualify for major tax benefits when you buy a house, both at the time of purchase and for the remainder of period you own the home. >Homestead exemption. Many states exempt any and all owner-occupied homes (homesteads) from a portion of the property tax amount that would normally accrue. For instance, Louisiana exempts the first $75,000 of a home’s value from property tax assessments, such that a $200,000 home in New Orleans is taxed as if it were only worth $125,000. >Federal tax deductions. Property taxes and interest paid on your mortgage can be deducted if you itemize your federal income taxes, reducing your income tax burden. Additionally, discount points can be claimed on the loan. Mortgage points are generally of two types: discount points and origination points. Each of these points is equivalent
to 1% of your mortgage. Discount points involve prepaid interest, are tax deductible, and can reduce your total mortgage payment. The interest rate on your mortgage typically lowers by 0.25% per point you buy. • Current mortgage rates are relatively low. Interest rates rise and fall through the years. Several years ago, interest rates were higher, and it was more expensive to obtain a mortgage. Since these costs have been reduced, it is now easier and less expensive to own a house. • Ownership rights and creative freedom. Your decorating and home improvement choices are just that — yours, provided they don’t break building codes or violate homeowners’ association rules. You can paint walls any which way, add fixtures, update or finish your basement, or build a patio or deck. Changing your environment to suit your whims is a freeing aspect of homeownership. • A sense of belonging to the community. Homeowners tend to stay in homes for longer than renters and are more likely to grow roots. They might join a neighborhood association, sponsor block parties or National Nights Out, volunteer at a nearby community center, join a school group, or align with a business improvement district. Renters might not do any of those things, particularly if they know their lease is up in a year and they might move. There is an intangible pleasure attached to owning your own house, a sense of freedom and independence. The home you
live in belongs to you and only you (and, perhaps, your spouse), and you can do what you want with it. You are not daunted by increases in rent or the risk of losing your lease. You are free to make improvements and changes. Also, owning your home gives your children the guarantee of attending the schools in the area on a more permanent basis; you never have to worry about a notice from the landlord to vacate your rented house or apartment for any of a variety of reasons over which you have no control.
ADVANTAGES OF RENTING
It seems a shorter list, but one man’s pro is another man’s con, and there are definitely advantages to renting you should factor into your buy-rent decision. • No responsibility for maintenance. Admittedly, this is a big one. As a renter, you’re not responsible for home maintenance or repair costs. If a toilet backs up, a pipe bursts, or an appliance stops working, you don’t have to call an expensive repair person — you just call your landlord or superintendent. Renters in condos, townhomes, or apartments do not have lawn and grounds care obligations. • Relocating is easier. When renting, relocating for work is easier. Though a sudden move may require you to break your lease, you can partially offset the cost by subletting your apartment or talking with your landlord. On the other hand, selling a home takes time and effort. If you have a short timeline to sell your home, you may be forced to accept a lower
price and lose some of your investment. • No real estate market exposure. Home values
fluctuate and can decline over time. If you’re a renter, that’s not your problem. If you’re an owner trying to sell — it is.
DISADVANTAGES OF OWNING
• Maintenance. The renter’s largest advantage may be the homeowner’s largest disadvantage. While insurance is available to protect against expenses from major catastrophes, everyday maintenance items are on the homeowner’s dime. Maintenance and repair can be as simple as repainting the baseboards or as extensive and expensive as replacing an H/VAC system or sewer pipe. The expense will vary from year-to-year; however, you can expect to pay about one percent of the value of your home annually toward these expenses. If you live in a $300,000 home for 10 years, that’s $30,000 over the period, and possibly more if you must replace a costly, long-lived mechanical item, such as a furnace. Keep in mind the usual homeowner’s chores of lawn care, snow removal, gutter cleaning, and other regular home maintenance needs. • Upfront & closing costs. Buying a home entails numerous upfront costs. Some are paid out-of-pocket after the seller accepts your purchase offer, while others are paid at closing. These include earnest money, down payment (typically ranges from 3.5% — chiefly for Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
loans — to over 20% of the purchase price), home appraisal, home inspection, property taxes, and first year’s homeowner’s insurance. • Loss of relocation flexibility. It is much easier to break a lease and move out of town than to arrange for the sale of a residence. Selling the home from out of town involves its own special logistical and financial problems, such as dealing with the mortgage while the home is on the market. • Financial loss potential. Homeownership builds equity over time; however, equity doesn’t equal profit. If home values in your area go down or remain stagnant during your time as a homeowner, the appraised value of your home could decrease, putting you at risk of a financial loss when you sell.
DISADVANTAGES OF RENTING
• No equity. The monthly rent you pay goes to the landlord. It represents the fee you pay for using the property. You gain no ownership in the property, no matter how long you live there. • No tax benefits. While homeowners can deduct property taxes and mortgage interest on their tax returns, renters aren’t eligible for housing-related federal tax credits or deductions. • Home improvements go to the landlord. Any structural or decorative home improvements renters make belong to the building owner and will have to stay behind when you move to a different place. Additionally, approval will be necessary for any major
After all is said, the decision to buy or rent depends on the prospective homebuyer’s circumstances. There is no denying, though, that a home of your own is a good financial and emotional investment. An investment in a home can also mean an investment in the future of your children. There can be nothing better than leaving a home behind as a legacy for your children to enjoy. There is much to consider when you want to buy a home. Switching from renting to homeownership is highly challenging, but an exciting and amazing decision to make. Owning your first house is the first real step toward the perfect home you’ve been dreaming of. Because, at the end of the day, as we all know, there really is no place like home.
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