#1 Getting Ready To Buy

So, you are ready to build the “American Dream?” Preparing to buy a home can be exciting and terrifying at the same time. Luckily, a RE/MAX of the Islands agent can lead you in the right direction toward the home for your dreams. You first may want to ask yourself:

  • What are you looking for in a new home?
  • Do you have enough money to purchase a new home?
  • How does your credit look?

You may want to make a list or brainstorm about the features and amenities that you find most appealing in a new home.

#2 Finding a Realtor

Before you choose a real estate agent, it is important to do your homework on the real estate companies in your area.

  • Search the Internet for your local real estate companies.
  • Review local publications for agent advertisements.
  • Call each company to compare commission fees, marketing campaigns and yearly sales volume.
  • Talk to people. 9 times out of 10, someone you know has sold their home and can point you in the right direction and provide a credible recommendation.

When choosing a real estate agent, do not be afraid to meet with many different agents. After all, they are competing for your business and this is what makes the real estate industry successful.

Feel free to ask them the following questions:

  • How many years of experience do you have in this industry?
  • What is your selling experience in my community?
  • What professional certifications do you hold (ex. Certified Residential Specialist–CRS)?
  • What services will you provide for me as my agent?
  • How will you represent me as a buyer?
  • Can you provide as much information as I need about homes in the area that fit into my price range?
  • What is the fee for your services?
  • Can you provide all of the different scenarios with the sale of property I may purchase? (as far as commissions and fees)
  • Explain the paperwork that I need to sign
  • What is my contracted timeframe for using you as my agent?

Once you have chosen an agent, it is important to establish specific goals that you would like to meet. It is very important to communicate with your real estate agent and that, in turn, your real estate agent communicates with you.

#3 Starting the Loan Process

It is important as a buyer that you establish some kind of financing before you make any kind of serious offer. The “pre–approval” process allows lenders to take a look at your finances and credit history in order to make a general assumption about your loan amount.

The pre–approval process is when a lender looks at all of your finances and determines the amount of money you could afford for a mortgage.

In order to get pre-approved for a loan, you need to contact a lender. Your RE/MAX of the Islands agent can help you help you find a lender that you feel comfortable with and that offers programs best suited to your needs.

#4 Starting Your Search

Now, it is time to start the exciting search for homes! You may want to narrow down your search by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Where do I want to live?
  • What is the neighborhood like?
  • What is the crime rate?
  • Would I be moving into a good school district?
  • Are there any zoning restrictions?
  • How far is this home from my job?
  • What is my price range?
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms do I want?
  • What style of house are you attracted to?
  • What amenities do you desire (ex. pool, fenced-in yard, etc.)?
  • Does this home have potential to increase in value?
  • Is there room to expand if we would like to build an addition?

Searching for a home is becoming easier than years ago. We now have the Internet as a powerful “home finding tool”, as well as the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and print advertising.

#5 Finding Your New Home

Beginning the search for your new home can be a great feeling. It is important that you directly communicate what you desire in a home to your real estate agent.

You may want to first begin by making a list of the features and benefits that are most important in your pursuit of finding a home. These could be:

  • Location
  • Affordability
  • Size
  • Style
  • Design
  • Amenities

Looking for a home in an area where you feel comfortable is key. Instruct your real estate agent to look in specific areas that you have designated.

#6 Making an Offer on a Home

Selecting a home should be relatively easy once a home falls somewhere in your criteria and the property is desirable for purchase.

You will want to inform your real estate agent what you like about the house and make a list of your likes and dislikes with the property.

There are three steps in selecting a home: accept the seller’s asking price and have your agent write up the contract, reject the seller’s asking price and have your agent make a different offer, or agree to different terms and have your agent write an offer. This is all a part of the negotiation process.

Communicating about the house and how it makes you feel is important when making this decision. It is also important to be realistic when it comes to how much you can afford when selecting “your” home.

#7 Financing

Doing you homework about loans will save you time and money. There are thousands of loans out there to choose from, but it is important to keep in mind several key factors that will help you along the way:

  • How much money should I put down?
  • How is your credit?
  • Is this your first home?

Receiving a loan requires completion of a loan application and specific financial documents, including pay stubs, rental checks and/or tax returns. You can receive a loan from a number of different financial institutions, namely: commercial banks, credit unions, mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers, savings and loan associations, mutual savings banks and insurance companies.

#8 Insurance

Insuring your home is like making an investment in your future. You work hard to have a home and homeowners insurance protects you and your family from someone or something from taking it all away.

There are many different forms of insurance:

  • Title Insurance – which protects you in the event that the title on your property has a lien, unpaid taxes, or other legalities that would make it invalid.
  • Homeowners’ Insurance – which protects your home from fire, theft and other liable coverage.
  • Flood Insurance – which protects your home from flood damage.
  • Home Warranty – which offers buyers and sellers the piece of mind that should anything unexpected happen (due to normal, every day wear and tear) of the home’s appliances, heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical systems, it will be repaired (or replaced in some cases) for you without costly fees.

#9 Closing Procedures

The closing process is always changing. It is even referred to “settlement” or “escrow” in different parts of the county. With increased technology, most closings are completely automated and both parties do not have to be present at the same time to sign.

Closings usually take about 30 days to complete. This mainly depends on the buyer’s financing availability, successful home inspection completion, and various lender conditions (ex. title search, title insurance, termite inspections, surveys and appraisals).

The closing process is the transfer of the title of the property from the buyer to the seller. The buyer will receive the keys to the home or the deed to the land, while the seller receives payment for the property. The amount the seller receives is based upon the amount that is still owed on the mortgage, any outstanding fees or taxes and any additional closing costs. All legal papers are filed with the local record office.

It is this step where the buyers and sellers do very little. It is important as the seller to take a final walk through the property to make sure the property’s condition as not changed. It is equally important for both the buyer and seller to make sure the paperwork they are signing reflects the agreement of the original sale.

#10 Settling In

You have unpacked boxes, arranged your furniture and feel complete with your moving task. What’s next? There is always an adjustment period when you move. It is important to understand that what you, your spouse and/or children may be feeling is completely normal.

Here is a list of a few things that may help:

  • Urge everyone to talk about how they are feeling.
  • It is important to get outside and tour the neighborhood or take a drive and visit some new places around the community.
  • E-mail old friends and neighbors to let them know about your new home and community.
  • Start a list about what they like about:
    • Home
    • School
    • Neighborhood
    • Community
    • Church
    • Friends
    • Teachers

Seller Tips

#1 Preparing to Sell your Home

The first question you might want to ask yourself is, “why do I want to sell my home?” Do you need more space? Are you an empty nester looking for a smaller space? Have you accepted a job in a different part of the country? All of these questions affect the potential sale of your home and the negotiating process of that sale.

You may also want to begin making a list of all of the interior and exterior projects that you want to complete before placing your home on the market.

Contacting a RE/MAX of the Islands Real Estate Agent will point you in the right direction, too. Our agents have the knowledge and understanding of the industry. They can provide reliable information and get you moving in the right direction towards the sale of your home.

#2 So You're Ready to Sell your Home

Assessing your home is key in beginning the home selling process. You may want to ask yourself, “What would I like to see or not see if I were touring this home as a potential home buyer?”

Problems like chipped paint, dirty walls, windows and doors, unfinished remodeling projects and cluttered garages are all areas for home selling improvement. Treat the sale of your home as you would with any day living in your residence. Neat, tidy and organized works!

#3 You're Ready to List

Before you list your home, it is important to do your homework on the real estate companies in your area.

  • Search the Internet for your local real estate companies.
  • Review local publications for agent advertisements.
  • Call each company to compare commission fees, marketing campaigns and yearly sales volume.
  • Talk to people. 9 times out of 10, someone you know has sold their home and can point you in the right direction and provide a credible recommendation.

When choosing a real estate agent, do not be afraid to meet with many different agents. After all, they are competing for your business and this is what makes the real estate industry successful.

Feel free to ask them the following questions:

  • How many years of experience do you have in this industry?
  • What is your selling experience in my community?
  • What professional certifications do you hold (ex. Certified Residential Specialist–CRS)?
  • What services will you provide for me as my agent?
  • How will you represent my property?
  • Can you provide a market analysis for my property?
  • How will you determine the price of my home?
  • What is the fee for your services?
  • Can you provide all of the different scenarios with the sale of my property? (as far as commissions and fees)
  • Explain the paperwork that I need to sign.
  • What is the timeframe for listing my property with you?

#4 Determining Property Value

There are a number of factors that go into determining the value of a home.

  • It is realistic to compare the homes in your area and the asking prices of those homes.
  • The law of supply and demand always comes into play. Do you live in an area with increasing job opportunities or an increasing supply of homes?
  • Owners needs greatly impact the selling price of a home. Does the owner need a quick sell or do they have time to sit on their sale?
  • The selling price is not cut and dry. On many occasions, the seller will negotiate the price, split closing costs or offer different allowances to the buyer, to make the sale of the home complete.

Only a qualified RE/MAX of the Islands agent can provide a fair market analysis of the homes for sale in your area. A Market Analysis is usually free and without obligation. For more information on how to receive a FREE Market Analysis that will help you properly determine the value of your home, contact RE/MAX of the Islands at, or contact us here.

#5 Getting Your Home Out There

There are a number of different ways that an agent can drive traffic to view your home:

  • Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
  • Open Houses
  • Websites/Internet
  • Print Advertising
  • HOMES™ Magazines
  • RE/MAX of the Islands Marketing Strategies

#6 Selling Your Home

The Offer

An acceptable offer depends on many different things:

  • Is the proposed offer near the asking price?
  • The timeframe of the seller – Does the seller have another house payment? Insurance?
  • Does the owner have enough time to wait for the agent to bring them more potential buyers?
  • What if the home is listed and never receives a single offer?
  • What if several offers are received at the same time?

The Counter-Offer

When potential buyers are searching for a home, they can respond in three different ways to the seller(s):

  • This home is not what we were looking for. We are not interested in the property.
  • We are interested in the home and we will purchase the property on the buyer's terms per the real estate agreement.
  • We are interested in the home, but here is our counter–offer for the property.

Negotiating

This negotiating process can at times seem very complicated. However, if you are equip with the right RE/MAX of the Islands agent, all of this can be made hassle-free.

During the negotiating process of the sale of a home, the seller can react in one of three different ways:

  • Accept the buyer's proposed offer
  • Decline the buyer's offer
  • Make a new counter–offer

#7 Saying Goodbye To Your Home

The closing process is always changing. It is even referred to “settlement“ or “escrow” in different parts of the county. With increased technology, most closings are completely automated and both parties do not have to be present at the same time to sign.

Closings usually take about 30 days to complete. This mainly depends on the buyer's financing availability, successful home inspection completion, and various lender conditions (ex. title search, title insurance, termite inspections, surveys and appraisals).

The closing process is the transfer of the title of the property from the buyer to the seller. The buyer will receive the keys to the home or the deed to the land, while the seller receives payment for the property. The amount the seller receives is based upon the amount that is still owed on the mortgage, any outstanding fees or taxes and any additional closing costs. All legal papers are filed with the local record office.

It is this step where the buyers and sellers do very little. It is important as the seller to take a final walk through the property to make sure the property's condition as not changed. It is equally important for both the buyer and seller to make sure the paperwork they are signing reflects the agreement of the original sale.

#8 Surviving the Move

Moving can be one of the most emotional times in your life. The thrill of something new … new career, a new neighborhood, a new home. While this may sound great to some people, for others, these changes can be an emotional rollercoaster.

The key to surviving your move is to first analysis the situation. You may want to ask yourself this question, “What does my move entail?” “Will I be moving across the country or just down the block?” “Could I handle the move myself, provided I have the right packing materials and friends to help?” Or “Do I need to explore the option of hiring a professional moving company?”

There are many resources out there. You may want to consult your RE/MAX of the Islands agent for guidance or refer to our Moving Checklist for more information.

#9 Hiring A Moving Company

If you plan on hiring a moving company, you might want to do some research first. Check out this Moving Guide for great information for those researching the possibility of hiring a mover.

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