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Buying A Home

Finding The Right Home

The search for your dream home begins in your present home. By asking yourself key questions about what you like, you'll save time in the house-hunting process.

  • What style of home do you like - two story, ranch, split-level, something else?
  • What size of home do you need - number of bedrooms, baths?
  • What are your priorities in home features - garage, gourmet kitchen, fireplace, main level master, formal dining room or other features?
  • Is it important to you to have additional space that could be finished such as an attic or basement?
  • What natural features outside the home are most significant to you - woods, hills, streams, lakes, others?

C. Tim Keagy Team has a solid foundation of resources to assist you in finding your dream home. Coupled with the tremendous amount of knowledge about the home-buying process, we will save you valuable time, thereby making the home-buying experience as pleasant and worry-free as possible!

Working With A Real Estate Agent

Do I Really Need To Use A REALTOR® ?

You can do your home search by yourself, but why should you? With C. Tim Keagy Team at your side, finding the perfect home is easier and faster!

You'll save time, yet many buyers still spend endless hours pouring through classified ads, driving all over town, and viewing dozens of unsuitable properties - simply because they haven't connected with a REALTOR® .

Some people think that if they have several agents looking for homes on their behalf, they'll find a house more quickly. Like most relationships, the buyer-agent relationship thrives on communication, loyalty and trust. By working exclusively with one agent, you'll improve both the process and the results.

Some helpful hints on finding and working with a REALTOR® :

  • Ask friends, family members, neighbors or co-workers for referrals.
  • Trust your intuition.
  • Share with your sales associate as much as possible about your lifestyle, tastes, needs and dreams for your home.
  • Focus your search on a few geographic areas.

How Much Home Can I Afford?

The Search for your Dream Home

Before you go out looking for a home, it's good to get an idea of what you can afford.

Another thing to consider is your down payment amount. Think you can't buy a house without a 10% or 20% down payment? Thanks to more lenient government guidelines and new mortgage products, many people can now get into a house for as little as 3% down-or less. There are even some special programs for first-time buyers that help with closing costs.

The Benefits of Equity

Equity is the difference between what your home is worth and what you still owe on it. When you sell your home this equity can be used as a down payment on a new home. If you don't sell, this same equity can be used as collateral for a home equity loan. You can use a home equity loan to finance home improvements, a child's college tuition, or a new car.

Real estate is also a great way to keep a hedge against inflation. While some homes do appreciate in value more quickly than others, real estate usually keeps pace with inflation. (Your real estate agent can provide you with the housing appreciation rates in the areas in which you're interested in buying.)

That Wonderful Thing Called A Tax Break

As a homeowner, when filing your taxes you can deduct the interest portion of your monthly payment-and that can mean big savings. You can deduct your property taxes, too.

So look at what your monthly mortgage payment will actually be, taking your tax breaks into consideration. You may find out it's about the same as-or sometimes even less-than a rent payment!

With a 5% down payment, a $100,000 30-year mortgage loan at 8% interest (8.15% APR) requires a monthly principal and interest payment of $733.76. Assuming a 28% tax bracket and $150 for monthly property taxes, the after-tax monthly payment would be about $615! (This is only an example. Please consult a tax advisor regarding your own tax situation and current tax laws.)

Pre-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval

Pre-qualification is a rough estimate of how much you could afford. But with a pre-approval, it's just that: getting your mortgage approved prior to going out and looking for a new home. This critical step launches your home purchasing experience.

First Time Home Buyers

Financial independence, security, satisfaction...with all these homeownership advantages, who needs rent?

With every rent check you write, you're helping to build equity in your landlord's property. That money could be going toward building equity in a home of your own. Today's rates are low enough that your house payment could be lower than your rent payment!

There are many advantages to owning a home, including:

Security - A feeling of security that comes from owning a home and the knowledge that your home is a safeguard against inflation.

Investment - Payments on your mortgage loan mean you are acquiring a major possession; instead of rent, you own more and more. The garden you plant, the permanent improvements you make - all enhance your way of living as well as the value of your home.

Tax Advantage - Your real estate taxes and the interest on your mortgage are deductible from your income tax.

Financial Independence - Most people start on the road to financial independence through home ownership. Your principal and interest payments remain the same for the full term of your mortgage while your rent usually goes up as the cost of living increases.

Environment - Your children grow up in the neighborhood of your choice.

Cash Equity - Better than a savings account, your home can appreciate to keep pace with inflation.

Satisfaction - Home ownership offers special advantages that make life more enjoyable - backyard barbecues, large family gatherings during holidays, a home workshop, a chance to enjoy your family's companionship in the privacy of your own home.

Negotiating The Purchase

When you have selected the house you want to buy, your next step is to submit a signed real estate offer to purchase. We will take you through a step-by-step process in order to prepare your real estate offer:
  • You know the seller's asking price, but your buyer's agent will assist you in determining what the home is really worth by researching comparables and market statistics.

  • Decide how much earnest money to offer. Your earnest money is usually held by the listing company until the sale is closed or the contract is broker. When the sale is closed, it is applied to the down payment or closing costs. But, if you fail to buy the house after the seller has accepted your offer, the seller has the right to keep this earnest money.

  • Specify your desired closing date and possession date. Allow yourself enough time to obtain financing.

  • Determine which items you may want to negotiate in the price you are offering. Items the seller may not necessarily be leaving behind may include any of the following: appliances, light fixtures, chandeliers, gas logs, fireplace tools, window coverings and swing sets.

We will present the offer to the seller's agent. The seller will either accept, reject, or counter your offer with changes in the terms. If the seller submits a counteroffer, you may either sign it as acceptance of the agreement, make another counteroffer, or withdraw your offer.

When both the seller and buyer agree to the terms and sign the document, it becomes a valid contract.

Home Inspection and Insurance

"Beauty is only skin deep" is especially true for houses.

A fresh coat of paint or new carpeting may disguise serious flaws. That's why you want to make sure a professional inspects your new home. And to protect your most valuable investment, be sure to have homeowner's insurance.

Homeowner's Insurance

Your home typically is the single biggest investment you'll ever make and by protecting it with homeowner's insurance you'll have financial protection against the unexpected. Aside from protecting your home and your possessions, it provides you with liability coverage.

Home Inspection

A professional home inspector surveys the foundation and structure, roof, exterior, major systems (electrical, heating, cooling and plumbing), and appliances that will stay with the home.

Tour the house with the inspector, who will point out potential trouble areas, as well as what's "sound." If the inspection does turn up some flaws, a seller is often willing to make repairs, but it may depend on market conditions.

Take notes as you tour. Get the inspection report in writing. This document will support or deny the contingency addendum to your agreement.

You can add a home inspection contingency to your purchase agreement. This requires the seller to make legitimate repairs - or if the seller is unwilling to do so, it allows you to cancel your agreement. According to the GAR contract, a seller is only required to repair those items that are considered a "defect".

An inspection may take a few hours and cost a few hundred dollars, but it can save you time and headaches in the long run. Your real estate professional can recommend a professional inspector. We always recommend you get own inspection with your own inspector.