Are you buying a home in Gloucester?

Purchasing a home is a stressful event for many people, but it's not all that complicated with a bit of up-front planning. I like to supply buyers with a road map of the whole deal so they'll know exactly what to expect. Here are my nine steps to buying a home. When you're ready to get started, just contact me here or e-mail me at . I'm happy to answer questions you have regarding this information.

Step 1 – Prepare to purchase
Before you start your home search, there are several things you need to consider. When you start your search, you'll want to put together a list of features you want to have, get a feeling for what school districts and neighborhoods you'd like to live in, and begin planning around your budget. Ensuring your mortgage payment is no more than 30 percent of your monthly income is a good principle to adhere to.

Step 2 – Get in touch with a real estate agent
This is where I come in. We can plan a time to meet so we can talk about why you want to buy a home and get an idea of your plans for the future. We'll discuss everything from neighborhoods, school districts in the Gloucester area, the mortgage and housing industries, to any other economic factors that could potentially affect your purchase today or in the future.

I'll also assist you in getting started on your loan. Southern Trade Realty, Inc. partners with some of Gloucester's best mortgage professionals, so you'll be in great hands. They will help you determine which type of loan is best for you, as well as help you get qualified.

Step 3 – Begin your search
Following our first meeting, I'll start finding available houses on the market that meet your needs. I'll research most of the houses and ignore the duds, and then we'll set up appointments to view the houses at a time that's convenient for you.

As we view the houses, I'll point out positive features and negative ones. I'll even ask you to tell us about things you like and don't like. As a rule, buyers change their list of must-haves as we tour homes and some features become more substantial than others. If that's the case, I'll search the listings again and narrow it down to the house you've been dreaming about.

Step 4 – Know the housing market
An agent's understanding of the Gloucester housing market is a leading element in your home search. And I can assure you I'm conscious of all the neighborhoods and school districts, and I will alert you to which areas are "hot" and demand prompt action and others that are "cool" and allow for thoughtful examination.

When we tour houses, I'll make sure to communicate if the asking price has room for negotiation or if I believe the house is "priced to sell." When working with an agent, be on guard and make sure you ask plenty of questions. Every real estate agent in Gloucester will claim to comprehend the market. If things don't add up, contact me at (804) 694-3113 or e-mail me at , and I'd be glad to answer any questions you may have. My knowledge of the market will keep you a step above the rest through the entire deal.

Step 5 – Find the house of your dreams
We'll find your dream home in Gloucester, and when we do, I'll thoroughly develop your real estate purchase offer. The offer will be made to fit your needs and the home. We'll include some contingencies, such as getting financing, carrying out the home inspection, and a clean title.

Upon presenting your purchase offer, you'll probably need to submit "earnest money." This is a cash deposit made to the seller to secure an offer to purchase the property, and it's usually applied to the closing costs. If the seller accepts your offer, we should close on the home within 30 to 60 days after. This allows necessary time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate the deal
Most deals aren't closed on the first offer. It's really common to receive a counter offer. Don't let it discourage you. We'll figure out whether or not to consent to the counter offer, propose our own counter offer, or decline the seller's offer and move on.

Market conditions will play a large role in how aggressively we negotiate the deal. In addition, we'll work within your budget. And when it's all said and done, we'll formulate a contract that works well for you.

Step 7 – Get financing
Once the deal is finalized, you'll start working with your mortgage lender to close the loan. This shouldn't take long at all if you've been pre-qualified, but you should to keep in close contact with your lender. And I'll manage all the property information your lender will need to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
You'll get a Loan Estimate (LE) of closing costs from your mortgage lender within three days of receiving your application. This estimate is based on the loan amount. RESPA requirements require that it has to include all closing costs and fall within a strict range of accuracy, and I'll review the estimate and let you know if everything looks all right.

Then we'll close on your house. This will most likely occur at a title company or escrow office and is often a smooth and stress-free occasion.

Step 9 – Move in
Congratulations! It's time to move into your new house. Enjoy it. And if you have any questions, be sure to call me at (804) 694-3113 or e-mail me at .

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