Category Archives: buying real estate checklist

Buying real estate can be a complicated process. Contact RE Platinum to work with professional realtors who know all the right steps you need to follow for a successful home purchase.

Home Buying Tips

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home buyingBuying a home is a major decision, and probably one of the most expensive purchases you’ll ever make in your life. That’s why it’s a good idea to use a “look before you leap” strategy BEFORE you sign the paperwork. In this case, the “look” part not only means doing a home tour, but following these home buying tips—for the sake of your heart and your pocketbook:

  1. Buy a house you (or someone else) is going to stay in. Home prices rise and fall, so look at a home purchase as a long-term purchase. If you think you’re going to be getting a job transfer, or moving to a new city in a few years, don’t purchase a home unless you’ve accepted the risk. With closing costs and other transactional fees associated with buying and selling a home, there’s a good chance you’ll lose money from a quick buy-and-sell.
  2. Talk to a mortgage lender before you start looking. One of the most common home buyer mistakes is looking for a home without knowing how much you can afford. Don’t assume that you are going to be approved for a certain amount without talking to a mortgage lender. There are many factors that mortgage lenders use to determine the amount you are approved for, and a simple online calculator is not going to be 100% accurate.
  3. Be comfortable with your budget. Don’t automatically assume that the amount you are approved for is the maximum budget you set for your search. Just because you are approved for a $200,000 budget doesn’t mean that is the amount of money you can afford to part with on a monthly basis. Write down all your present expenses on a piece of paper—car payments, medical costs, etc.—and be comfortable with your budget, and that you can still live while making your monthly home payments.
  4. Budget for the expected expenses of home ownership—and the unexpected. We’re going to be honest with you: homes cost money even after you’ve signed the paperwork. At some point, you’re going to need to replace the furnace, buy a new roof, repave the driveway, install new windows—in addition to the annual maintenance your home needs to stay in good shape. Set aside money for annual home maintenance costs, and for those unexpected breakdowns that come with home ownership.
  5. Know what you’re looking for. Make a list, or use a checklist. Where do you want to live? How many bedrooms do you want or need? How much maintenance do you want to take on? Do you want a lot of land? Prioritize this list, and expect that you’ll make changes to the list as you look at homes.
  6. Know what red flags to look for during your home tour. Don’t fall in love with a money pit. Be cautious and look for issues that could cause issues later, such as electrical issues, water damage, and a decomposing roof.
  7. Get a home inspection. Unless you have a huge budget that can handle a huge unexpected expense, get a home inspection. We’ve written about the benefits of hiring a home inspector in the past, and what to do if you get a bad home inspection report from your dream home. A home inspection can save you thousands of dollars of trouble, and can also point to safety hazards (such as a gas leak) that you might not have noticed during your home tour.
  8. Hire a real estate agent. Hiring a real estate agent is a good first step to learning what to do and what not to do when navigating through the home buying process. They’ve been there, and they can give you advice about what to do and not to do. Contact a good, experienced realtor who has bought and sold houses in your area, and take their advice to heart. Their advice can be the difference between a wise or poor home buying decision in the largest purchase of your life.

How to Know When That Property is Your Valentine…the ‘One’

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brown houseCan a real estate property be a match made in heaven? We think so, especially after seeing the eyes light up of numerous Wisconsin home buyers throughout Dodge and Jefferson counties. And while everyone’s process is different, with some buyers banking their decision on feeling and others on logic, there are several common factors that their ideal real estate property met. So how do you know when that house, condo or town home is the one?

  1. It matches your top priorities on your ‘must have’ list. Know what you want. Three bedrooms? Two bedrooms? A big yard? A condo with no maintenance? The perfect property has the ‘must haves’ that top your list. Creating that list should be one of the first things you do to kick off your home search, along with these other two important steps.
  2. The price is right. Contact a lender to find out what your financial parameters are for your home search. Know how much you can afford, and how much “wiggle room” you have—or if you don’t have any. The perfect property is one you can afford now, and can continue to make payments on in the future.
  3. Location, location, location. Sounds cliché, doesn’t it? Your dream home is in an ideal commuting location, near your family, in the heart of all the action in town or in the country where you want to be.
  4. The home inspection backs it up. You don’t have to walk away from a property because of issues that come up during the home inspection (find out more about your options after a bad home inspection here). We would highly recommend that you get a home inspection, so you know what you’re getting. Even if the property looks perfect, a home inspector can discover structural or foundation issues that are not obviously visible.

Your ideal property may meet other must haves on your personalized ‘must have’ list: income potential, a fixer upper, move-in ready, handicap accessible. Contact a realtor with your list, and get educated. Finding the ‘one’—that dream home—is a process, and one that we can guide you through until you find your dream home.

How to Take Advantage of Low Mortgage Rates

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brown houseReady to jump into the Wisconsin real estate market and purchase a property that can be all yours? With mortgage rates sitting extremely low, now is the time to start searching for homes. Where do you start? Here’s a few simple steps that can help you find your dream home:

  1. The lender. To set realistic parameters for your house search, you need to know how much you can afford and the amount a lender will give you—and if they will borrow you money. You don’t want to waste time looking at homes that you can’t afford.  Pick up the phone and contact a mortgage broker or your bank or credit union. Ask them what documents they need during the approval process, and the length of the approval process. Once they have documents like your W-2’s and tax returns, your mortgage lender will factor your income and credit rating into deciding if, and how much, they will give you. If the lender approves your loan, they will give you the maximum amount you are approved for, and the amount of your monthly payment.  Once you have the numbers, choose the monthly payment that will realistically work for you—you don’t have to borrow the maximum amount. Remember to add in property taxes, homeowner’s association fees and mortgage insurance, if applicable.
  2. A property search checklist. Where do you want to live?  How many bedrooms do you want or need in your property? Do you want a large back yard? A condo with zero maintenance? Now is the time to write down your wants and needs. Once you’ve written everything down, pick out the must haves and wants—and be prepared to make changes. It’s not unusual for a buyer’s list of must haves to change as they look at properties.
  3. The realtor. Once you have the budget for your property search, contact a local, top realtor. Your realtor will want to know your budget, ideal location and areas you will look in and what you are looking for (your must haves).  Be realistic.  You may not get every must have in your property. As you search, prioritize what must haves you need or want the most. Give your realtor feedback that they can use to zero in on the property that will work for you.

Now is not the time for procrastination. Lower mortgage rates can save you thousands over the life of your mortgage, so the earlier you get the process rolling the sooner you have the keys—and the savings. Contact a lender, and educate yourself on important real estate terms you need during your home search: earnest money, foreclosures, short sales, home inspections. Have any questions? Contact one of the top realtors in Dodge and Jefferson County for more information.

Where do you start your home search?

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3591You’ve watched the realty shows on television, right?  You know where to start with your home search.  Unfortunately, home searching is not that easy…but it’s not that hard, either.  Here’s a step-by-step guide that will guide you down the road to home ownership:

  • The lender. Don’t know where to find one? Contact a real estate agent for a referral. To set realistic parameters for your house search, you need to know how much you can afford and the amount a lender will give you—and if they will borrow you money. You don’t want to waste time looking at homes that you can’t afford.  Pick up the phone and contact a mortgage broker or your bank or credit union. Ask them what documents they need during the approval process, and the length of the approval process. Once they have documents like your W-2’s and tax returns, your mortgage lender will factor your income and credit rating into deciding if, and how much, they will give you. If the lender approves your loan, they will give you the maximum amount you are approved for, and the amount of your monthly payment.  Once you have the numbers, choose the monthly payment that will realistically work for you—you don’t have to borrow the maximum amount. Remember to add in property taxes, homeowner’s association fees and mortgage insurance, if applicable.
  • A property search checklist. Where do you want to live?  How many bedrooms do you want or need in your property? Do you want a large back yard? A condo with zero maintenance? Now is the time to write down your wants. Once you’ve written everything down, pick out the must haves and wants—and be prepared to make changes. It’s not unusual for a buyer’s list of must haves to change as they look at properties.
  • The realtor. Once you have the budget for your property search, now you can ask your friends for recommendations for a realtor. Your realtor will want to know your budget, ideal location and areas you will look in and what you are looking for (your must haves).  Be realistic.  You may not get every must have in your property. As you search, prioritize what must haves you need or want the most. Give your realtor feedback that they can use to zero in on the property that will work for you.

From there, your realtor will guide you to your final goal: HOME OWNERSHIP! Enjoy your new home, and your community. You own it!