5 Tips for Buying a Home

Editors note: We asked our friend and realtor Jill Collins to share some tips on home buying with our readers.

In today’s market homes are moving faster than ever! With the average home showing a pending status in 24-48 hours after listing, there is no time to waste. Here I’ll share 5 tips for buying a home.

Tip 1. Find an agent that you can mesh with and who makes you comfortable. You should never feel like you are inconveniencing them or asking dumb questions. We have all or will be first time home buyers.

Once you’ve found the right agent be sure to use only that agent. In our field, loyalty means a lot and we want to be your go-to for any future transactions. Most of us even get emotionally invested in our clients and therefore work even harder to get them to where they want to be.

Tip 2. If you want to search for home listings in Indiana go to MIBOR.com. While some apps and websites like Zillow and Trulia are easy to use, they aren’t always accurate. Listing agents update MIBOR.com and then the other sites are updated later. So to keep up on status changes or price changes stick with MIBOR.com and you won’t be at the mercy of a slow server. If you’re outside of Indiana, ask your realtor which site they recommend.

Tip 3. It may take you one showing, it may take you 50. But when you find “the one,” sit down and work out the details of your offer with your agent. Keep in mind, your agent is the professional and will guide you along the way with this big step in life. You may be nervous but they do it every day. Part of the offer process is deciding if you will be reserving the right to an independent inspection. This inspection is for the buyer’s information only and does not have anything to do with the loan process.

Tip 4. Once an agreement is reached between the buyer and seller the buyer will start to work with their lender to gather all the documents needed to finalize the loan on their new home.  Time is of the essence!  When a lender says they need a document, they mean they needed it yesterday.  Remember, the longer it takes you to get them the necessary paperwork, the longer it takes you to get to the closing table.

Tip 5. The day you close on your home is an exciting one! It can be overwhelming! Take a deep breath, enjoy the moment and remember everyone who helped you get there whether it be family, friends, or the professionals.

And, take a stress ball to the closing table for when your hand cramps while you sign your life away 🙂

Jill Collins
w/ Re/Max Realty Group

7 Tips to buying a home without a realtor

I’m just going to say it, buying a home without a realtor is risky business. But if you must, here’s some tips that I found helped with the process.

Top 7 tips to buying a FSBO property:

1. Get it in writing. I can’t stress this enough. Your lender should be able to provide you with a purchase agreement. Go over it closely, fill out every field, leave nothing blank and spell out everything (i.e. it must appraise, it must pass inspection, etc.). This is your opportunity to negotiate everything. If you have questions about an area on the agreement, ask your lender or consult a real estate attorney.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. The great thing about a realtor is they can do all the negotiating for you. They can offer a lower price, they can tell the buyer you don’t like their carpet or wallpaper and ask for replacement money, they can address that weird smell coming from the back bedroom. When you’re FSBO, you must do all of that yourself. Put on your big girl or boy pants and just address it. The worst that can happen is they’ll say no.

3. Keep excellent records. Save a folder of all the communication and paperwork between you and the seller, you and the lender, you and the title company, etc. You will likely need to refer to one or more of them again. I saved one on my desktop so when my lender said, “I need the insurance document.” I could send it again. Yes, I said again. Expect to send them documents more than once. There are so many, I’m not surprised they get lost. If you’re old school and are faxing the documents, get a pocket folder to keep them in.

4. Don’t skip the inspection. This is vital. You need to know what you’re getting into. You may find the most beautiful home, in your price range, but you may not want it if the foundation is crumbling, if it’s infested by termites or the electrical is bad. Don’t trust Uncle Ralph to give it “a good once-over,” hire a professional.

5. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Stay in touch with your lender and your seller. You may need to help coordinate the inspection, the appraisal and any contractor quotes you want done. Texting may be fine, others may prefer a phone call. This is not the time to be shy. See number 2.

6. Use a reputable title company. If you’re getting a mortgage your lender will be able to recommend someone one. If you’re paying cash call a local realtor and ask who they recommend. Title work is something you don’t want to mess around with, it can wreak havoc if not done right. Hire someone local if possible.

7. Make sure you have an “out” if the property doesn’t appraise. A lender won’t lend over the appraised value. To protect yourself, include an out in your purchase agreement if the property doesn’t appraise.

I’d love to hear from you. What tips do you have when buying a FSBO property?

It all started when he got bored… Part II


Editor’s note: To see Part I of this story click on “It all started when he got bored” in the archive.

Crazy right?? Buying a house from some stranger on Facebook didn’t seem like a good idea. I mean, we’ve all heard stories of people being lured into a dangerous situation by a stranger online, clears throat, Craigslist. It’s not like I could meet this person in the parking lot of the local Chick-fil-a to make the exchange.

But it looked like too good of a deal to pass up. Wait, could that be another red flag? Maybe. So, I did what any self-respecting cyber-sleuth would do. I Facebook stalked the seller. Afterall, we live in a small community, surely we had a friend or two in common. Low and behold, we had 10 mutual friends! And, wait for it, two of them are in our small group! If you’ve ever been in a small group you know how close you get to these people. I mean, when you meet weekly to study the Bible, you start to really do life together and a family is created. So, I reached out to one of them. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Hey, do you know So-and-So”?

Bible study friend: “Yes, why?”

Me: “Well, they listed this house on Facebook and I’m thinking about buying it. But don’t want to get kidnapped and killed when I go look at it.”

Bible study friend: “That’s one of my BFFs.”

Me: “U R kidding me!!!!”

Bible study friend: “I promise, you won’t get kidnapped and killed.”

We set a time to have a look at it and in the mean time my Bible study friend contacted her BFF and had her send us the inspection report! What? How does that even happen? The inspection report shared the good, the bad and the ugly.

During the walk through we saw, and smelled, some of the ugly. It would require a lot of elbow grease, some renovating and help from a contactor.

Now, to figure out how to do all the paperwork and negotiating without our beloved realtor friend Jill.