Steps to Buying or Selling a Home

1. Put your finances in order and check your credit report


2. Get familiar with mortgage industry


3. Determine your wants and needs for a home


4. Select a real estate agent


5. Discuss financial aspects


6. Start searching for a home


7. Verify information regarding legal dimensions and condition of property


8. Make an offer
9. Purchase agreement submitted accepted


10. Coordinate with real estate agent, mortgage lender and title company


11. Application for mortgage


12. Inspections: Structural, Mechnincal, Electrical, Plumbing, Environmental, Pest


13. Movers (if needed)


14. Change Utilities


15. Closing


16. Enjoy your new home

Pricing your home

If you’re selling your house, one of the first steps you’ll take is setting an asking price, a maneuver that requires the ability to find the perfect balance between attracting sold offers and ultimately receiving top dollar.

Sale price is a product of supply and demand.

Recognize that housing markets are local.
Home prices are like the weather — very different in different areas.

Analyze who is buying and selling in your market.
What’s your competition? Who are the buyers, and why are they shopping?

Ask the professionals.
When interviewing potential real estate agents, ask about the market conditions for your area and price range.

Know what your house is worth.
Consider getting an appraisal from a certified professional appraiser. Look at the comparables your realtor gives you. Taken together, that information will give you a pretty good idea of what your home is currently worth.

Sale prices are not based on what an owner “needs,” (I need to sell for $300,000 because I need $100,000 profit to by my next house).

Remember, your home is easiest to sell when it is first listed.  The excitement of a new home on the market occurs during the first couple of weeks, when agents are eager to preview it for their clients.  If you price your home too high they can’t sell it and your homes lingers on the market and then becomes old news.  Statistics show that the longer a house is on the market the bigger the price concession the seller has to make to get it sold.

Ask for help to see your home from a buyer’s point of view. Ask someone who can be objective and honest, or give honest advice on their impressions of your new home. A real estate agent is a good choice.

Seller’s Disclosure

Documents completed by the seller of a home listing any known issues with the property, as well as any remodel projects completed during the time they owned the home. Sellers disclosure forms usually include information about the title A legal document listing the history of ownership of the home. A title report lists all parties with a legal claim to the property, what items need to be cleared from title before the new buyer can take possession, and if there are any easements or encroachments on the property. of the home, the water/sewage system, the roof, and the electrical system. This information is useful, but don’t use it as a substitute for an inspection A thorough investigation of a home by a licensed inspector to discover any issues or repairs that need to be made before buying the home. by a licensed inspector.

Home Inspection

An inspection of a prospective home done by a professional, soon after an offer is made, to establish the structural and mechanical integrity of the house.Will show problems and potential problems with the property not always visible to an average purchaser (i.e. a deteriorating roof, an ancient furnace, termites, wood rot, basement seepage). Many purchasers make their offer to purchase conditional upon obtaining a satisfactory Home Inspection report.

Before the inspector arrives:

Repairs made prior to the inspection will save time and aggravation. Depending on the type of loan or the terms of the contract, some or all of the following list may apply.

  1. Slope ground away from the foundation ( out four feet where possible)
  2. Allow for four inches of foundation to show, including above flowerbeds.
  3. Cut tree limbs away from house.
  4. Wash stained siding and brick to remove discoloration or mildew.
  5. Install  splash blocks at downspouts.
  6. Clean gutters and repair where necessary.
  7. Repair all rotted wood and paint to match.
  8. Remove any items stacked (firewood, etc.) against the house or garage.
  9. Repair or replace damaged screens
  10. Cover exposed wiring with flexible conduit
  11. Install blanks in circuit breaker box where any are missing.
  12. Check all electrical outlets for proper wiring.
  13. Check firbrick in the fireplace. Seal with fireplace mortar where necessary.
  14. Clean chimney
  15. Clean and inspect heater an check for holes or cracks in the heat exchanger.
  16. Check A/C –it should cool to twenty degrees below outside temperature.
  17. Check condensing unit and clean away any debris, leaves, grass, etc.
  18. Test all smoke detectors. Add new batteries where necessary
  19. Toilets should be secured and should not rock
  20. Make sure tubs and/or showers do no leak into wall when water is sprayed from fixtures
  21. Have all cracks in masonry repaired by a professional mason.
  22. Re-grout any cracks in ceramic tile
  23. Repair dripping faucets.

Seller’s Check List

To help the selling process move forward more easily, it is a good idea to have the following items ready before your house goes on the market:

  1. Prior year’s utility bills
  2. Prior year’s water and sewer bills—source of water if not city
  3. Any declarations, covenants, or deed restrictions on the property
  4. Information on assessments and special assessments
  5. Survey and plot
  6. Age of all major appliances and major building components, with 
documentation if possible
  7. Items that will be excluded from the sale
  8. Copies of any recent inspections for pests, environmental hazards
  9. Completion schedule for repairs you have suggested
  10. Three sets of keys to the home

Glossary of Terms

Amortization Schedule-A schedule showing the principal and interest payments throughout the life of the loan.

Appraised Value– An opinion of the value of a property at a given time, based on facts regarding the location, improvements, etc., of the property and surroundings.

Assumption Transfer Fee-A fee assessed by the lender to the buyer to assume the present loan.

Credit Report– A report on the past ability of a loan applicant to pay installment payments.

Document Preparation-A fee charged by an attorney for preparation of legal documents for the transaction.

Escrow Fee– A fee charged by the title company to service the transaction, to escrow monies, and to cover documents. The amount varies with company; usually split between buyer and seller.

Escrow/Impound Account-Funds held by the lender for payment of taxes and insurance when due. Usually does not include maintenance fees.
Homeowner’s Insurance-Protects the property and contents in case of loss; must be for at least the loan amount or for 80% of the value of the improvements, whichever is greater.

Inspections-An examination of property for various reasons such as termite inspections, inspection determine if repairs are required.

Interest-Rate charged for the use of loan funds. Always paid in arrears, and is included in the monthly mortgage payment.

Loan Application Fee-Paid to the lender at time of application; contact lender for amount.

Loan Discount-The points a lender charges; may be paid by either buyer or seller on conventional loans; number of points fluctuates with mortgage money market.

Maintenance Fee/Homeowner dues-Charged by the homeowner’s association as set out in subdivision restrictions.

Mortgagee’s Title Policy– Required by the lender to insure that the lender has a valid lien; does not protect the buyer.

Origination Fee-A fee the buyer pays the lender to originate a new loan.

Owner’s Title Policy-Insures that the buyer has title to the property.
Point-1% of loan amount

Prepayment Penalty– Charged by the lender on some loans for premature payment of a loan balance.

Private Mortgage Insurance– Insurance against a loss by a lender (mortgagee) in the event of default by a borrower (mortgagor). Required on FHA loans or conventional loans with less than 20% down payment.

Realtor Fees– An amount paid to the realtor as compensation for his or her services.

Recording Fees-Charged by the County Clerk to record documents in the public records.

Restrictions-Certified copy of deed restrictions required by lender.

Survey-Confirms lot’s size and any encroachments or restriction violations.

Tax Proration-Taxes are charged to the Seller and credited to the Buyer from January 1 to date of Closing.

Tax Certificates-Certificates issued by taxing authorities showing the current years taxes, the last year the taxes were paid, and any delinquencies to be collected from seller at closing.