Preparing For The House-Hunting Trip
During our first conversation, we will ask you pertinent questions prior to your house hunting trip, and we ask that you please provide us with as much information as possible. This will assist us tremendously in the preliminary home search for your specific needs. Don’t forget to share with us the things that you may consider trivial, such as a favorite piece of furniture you need to fit in, Aunt Sally who is a frequent guest, or the fact that golf is your life! We are experts in our field and can make the moving experience a pleasant one for the entire family. We can also provide information relative to your other needs, such as child care, trailing spouse employment, church preferences, special medical needs, and assistance for the elderly. If you have a need and can’t find a resource or an answer, we will find the answer for you. Please do not hesitate to ask, service is our business. Our website offers valuable information including schools, tax schedules, subdivisions, maps, and much more.
To allow you to direct your search in a comfortable price range, we will have you pre-qualified. Or, if you would feel more at ease, we will recommend several mortgage brokers who can provide counsel to you prior to your home search. You begin the home search by defining one or more areas where you will zero in on a specific home or homes. As your search narrows, we will provide any additional information you may need to assist you in your final decision. Once again, please feel free to ask questions.
Negotiating The Contract…
We will draft the initial contract and present it to the listing agent. At the same time, we will provide you with an estimate of closing costs. You will be asked to provide funds to be used as earnest money. This amount will vary; however, you should be prepared to write a personal check for between 1-10% of the sale price depending on whether it is a new home or resale. This check will be made to the title company or, in some cases, a builder and will not be cashed until the contract has been agreed to and completely executed.
Please feel free to have an attorney look over your contract or come to closing to represent you. Although the contracts and most closing papers are standard forms, it is your right to have an attorney represent you.
Our current resale contracts contain an option period for repair issues that may arise. One choice is to use a repair allowance form and have a specified actual amount noted for repairs. This, of course, may be subject to renegotiation if the amount exceeds the allowance. Another commonly used option is to terminate within a specified time for any reason. While this gives the buyer an unrestricted right to terminate the contract, it is generally used to cover repair issues. The buyer must, however, deliver to the seller a non-refundable fee for this right. When we draft the contract, we will discuss the amount and the details of this option.
Congratulations, You Have Purchased A Home…
Now the work really begins for your professional, qualified agent. Coordinating all aspects of a real estate transaction is of the utmost importance in order to end with a successful and relatively painless closing. We will assist you every step of the way, including providing you with a list of qualified loan officers and home inspectors. The option period allows you a certain number of days to get your inspections and send your request with an amendment to the seller.
Loan application must be made within the time frame allowed in the contract. Please do not be offended by what the mortgage company will ask you to provide. Because of the mortgage crisis across the country, the investors are requiring more information and the guidelines are more stringent. Please review the following list of information to bring to your loan application. Having this information readily available will make the loan process much easier for you and your loan officer.
The Mortgage Loan Application
I. Personal Data
• Name, address, phone number, birth date, driver’s license number and picture identification and Social Security card information
II. Housing Information
• Present Address
• Present landlord or mortgage company (Name, address, payment amount and loan number)
III. Employment Information
• Present employer or employer for the past two years (Name, address, phone number, length of employment, position and salary)
• Self-employed (Federal Income Tax returns for the past two years and current profit and loss statement and balance sheets)
• Written verification of other income (Retirement or rental income, stock dividends, etc.)
• Pay stub not more than thirty days old
V. Asset Information
• Cash, bank accounts, investments (Name, addresses, account numbers and balances) The two most recent statements on each deposit account will also be required.
• Auto, household, personal property, and real estate values
V. Debt Information
• Open accounts, present and past mortgage (Names, addresses, account numbers, balances and loan amounts, etc.)
• Source of down payments and closing costs
• A check to pay for the credit report and appraisal
• VA Certificate of eligibility or VA DD 214 copy for VA loans only.
Important Items to Take Care of Prior to Closing…
Inspections must be completed within the time frame allowed in the contract or option period. It is also very important to deliver the priority list and amendment to the seller within this time frame. If you do not know any inspectors that you would like to use, we will provide you with a complete list of inspectors from which to choose.
Within a couple of weeks after the contract has been received by the title company, you will receive a preliminary title report from them stating any liens, encroachments, etc. Please look it over carefully.
You will need to bring certified funds to closing. These funds can be in the form of a cashier’s check made out to the title company, or you may arrange to wire funds into the title company’s account. We will get wiring instructions for you if this is the method you choose.
You will need to contact an insurance agent and arrange for the insurance on your home. Have them call us for any information they may need.
We can help you arrange to have your home sprayed for insects once the home is vacant and before you move into the home. The extermination of a vacant home can be much more effective than waiting until your furniture arrives.
Important Items to Take Care of After the Closing…
Be sure you get two or three certified copies of the closing statement since you may need them for your employer or tax purposes.
After closing, be sure you receive the recorded deed along with the title policy. Keep these in a safe place as they are very important documents.
Ask us for a Homestead Exemption form. This can save you money on certain taxes. You have to live in the home as of January 1st to claim your exemption. You may also want to call the taxing authority to find the appraised value of your home. If it is higher than what you paid for the property, you may want to protest the taxes by taking your closing statement to them. For more information you can call the taxing authority in your area.
Montgomery Co. # (936) 788-8378 http://www.mctx.org/tax/index.html
Harris Co. # (713) 957-7800 http://www.hcad.org/default.asp