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BUYING A HOME |
SELLING A HOME |
Buying a Home
FINDING THE RIGHT HOME
The search for your dream home begins in your present
home. By asking yourself key questions about what you
like, you'll save time in the house-hunting process.
style of home do you like - two story, ranch,
split-level, something else?
size of home do you need - number of bedrooms,
are your priorities in home features - garage,
gourmet kitchen, fireplace, main level master,
formal dining room or other features?
it important to you to have additional space that
could be finished such as an attic or basement?
natural features outside the home are most
significant to you - woods, hills, streams, lakes,
Banker Carolina Mountains has a solid foundation of
resources to assist you in finding your dream home.
Coupled with the tremendous amount of knowledge about
the home-buying process, we will save you valuable time,
thereby making the home-buying experience as pleasant
and worry-free as possible!
WORKING WITH A REAL
When buying or selling
real estate, you may find it helpful to have a real estate agent
assist you. Real estate agents can provide many useful services and
work with you in different ways. In some real estate transactions,
the agents work for the seller. In others, the seller and buyer may
each have agents. And sometimes the same agents work for both the
buyer and the seller. It is important for you to know whether an
agent is working for you as your agent or simply working with you
while acting as an agent of the other party. This brochure addresses
the various types of working relationships that may be available to
you. It should help you decide which relationship you want to have
with a real estate agent. It will also give you useful information
about the various services real estate agents can provide buyers and
sellers, and it will help explain how real estate agent are paid.
When buying real estate, you may have several choices as to how you
want a real estate firm and its agents to work with you. For
example, you may want them to represent only you (as a buyer's
agent). You may be willing for them to represent both you and the
seller at the same time (as a dual agent). Or you may agree to let
them represent only the seller (seller's agent or subagent). Some
agents will offer you a choice of these services. Others may not.
DUTIES TO BUYER:
If the real estate firm and its agents represent you, they must:
- promote your
- be loyal to you
- follow your
- provide you with
all material facts that could influence your decisions
- use reasonable
skill, care and diligence, and
- account for all
monies they handle for you.
Once you have agreed
(either orally or in writing) for the firm and its agents to be your
buyer's agent, they may not give any confidential information about
you to sellers or their agents without your permission. But until
you make this agreement with your buyer's agent, you should avoid
telling the agent anything you would not want a seller to know.
To make sure that you and the real estate firm have a clear
understanding of what your relationship will be and what the firm
will do for you, you may want to have a written agreement. However,
some firms may be willing to represent and assist you for a time as
a buyer's agent without a written agreement. But if you decide to
make an offer to purchase a particular property, the agent must
obtain a written agency agreement. If you do not sign it, the agent
can no longer represent and assist you and is no longer required to
keep information about you confidential. Furthermore, if you later
purchase the property through an agent with another firm, the agent
who first showed you the property may seek compensation from the
other firm. Be sure to read and understand any agency agreement
before you sign it.
SERVICES AND COMPENSATION:
Whether you have a written or unwritten agreement, a buyer's agent
will perform a number of services for you. These may include helping
- find a suitable
- learn more about
the property and
promote your best interests.
If you have a written
agency agreement, the agent can also help you prepare and submit a
written offer to the seller.
A buyer's agent can be compensated in different ways. For example,
you can pay the agent out of your own pocket. Or the agency may seek
compensation from the seller or listing agent first, but require you
to pay if the listing agent refuses. Whatever the case, be sure your
compensation arrangement with your buyer's agent is spelled out in a
buyer agency agreement before you make an offer to purchase property
and that you carefully read and understand the compensation
You may permit an agent or firm to represent you and the seller at
the same time. This dual agency relationship is most likely to
happen if you become interested in a property listed with your
buyer's agent or the agent's firm. If this occurs and you have not
already agreed to a dual agency relationship in your (written or
oral) buyer agency agreement, your buyer's agent will ask you to
sign a separate agreement or document permitting him or her to act
as agent for both you and the seller. It may be difficult for a dual
agent to advance the interests of both buyer and seller.
Nevertheless, a dual agent must treat buyers and sellers fairly and
equally. Although the dual agent owes them the same duties, buyers
and sellers can prohibit dual agents from divulging certain
confidential information about them to the other party. Some firms
also offer a form of dual agency called designated agency where one
agent in the firm represents the seller and another agent represents
the buyer. This option (when available) may allow each designated
agent to more fully represent each party. If you choose the dual
agency option, remember that since a dual agent's loyalty is divided
between parties with competing interests, it is especially important
that you have a clear understanding of:
- what your
relationship is with the dual agent and
- what the agent
will be doing for you in the transaction.
This can best be
accomplished by putting the agreement in writing at the earliest
Seller's Agent Working With a Buyer
If the real estate agent or firm that you contact does not offer
buyer agency or you do not want them to act as your buyer agent, you
can still work with the firm and its agents. However, they will be
acting as the seller's agent (or "subagent"). The agent can still
help you find and purchase property and provide many of the same
services as a buyer's agent. The agent must be fair with you and
provide you with any "material facts" (such as a leaky roof) about
But remember, the agent represents the seller--not you--and
therefore must try to obtain for the seller the best possible price
and terms for the seller's property. Furthermore, a seller's agent
is required to give the seller any information about you (even
personal, financial or confidential information) that would help the
seller in the sale of his or her property. Agents must tell you in
writing if they are sellers' agents before you say anything that can
help the seller. But until you are sure that an agent is not a
seller's agent, you should avoid saying anything you do not want a
seller to know.
Seller's agents are compensated by the sellers.
This is not a
contract. By signing, I acknowledge that the agent named below
furnished a copy of this brochure and reviewed it with me.
Buyer or Sellers Name (Print or
Buyer or Seller Signature
Buyer or Sellers Name (Print or
Buyer or Seller Signature
Landmark Realty Group Carolina Mountains
Disclosure of Seller Subagency. When showing you
property and assisting you in the purchase of property, the
above agent and firm will represent the SELLER. For more
information, see "Seller's Agent Working with a Buyer"
HOW MUCH HOME CAN I AFFORD?
The Search for your Dream Home
Before you go out looking for a home, it's good to get an idea of
what you can afford.
Another thing to consider is your down payment amount. Think you
can't buy a house without a 10% or 20% down payment? Thanks to more
lenient government guidelines and new mortgage products, many people
can now get into a house for as little as 3% down-or less. There are
even some special programs for first-time buyers that help with
The Benefits of Equity
Equity is the difference between what your home is worth and what
you still owe on it. When you sell your home this equity can be used
as a down payment on a new home. If you don't sell, this same equity
can be used as collateral for a home equity loan. You can use a home
equity loan to finance home improvements, a child's college tuition,
or a new car.
Real estate is also a great way to keep a hedge against inflation.
While some homes do appreciate in value more quickly than others,
real estate usually keeps pace with inflation. (Your real estate
agent can provide you with the housing appreciation rates in the
areas in which you're interested in buying.)
That Wonderful Thing Called A Tax Break
As a homeowner, when filing your taxes you can deduct the interest
portion of your monthly payment-and that can mean big savings. You
can deduct your property taxes, too.
So look at what your monthly mortgage payment will actually be,
taking your tax breaks into consideration. You may find out it's
about the same as-or sometimes even less-than a rent payment!
With a 5% down payment, a $100,000 30-year mortgage loan at 8%
interest (8.15% APR) requires a monthly principal and interest
payment of $733.76. Assuming a 28% tax bracket and $150 for monthly
property taxes, the after-tax monthly payment would be about $615!
(This is only an example. Please consult a tax advisor regarding
your own tax situation and current tax laws.)
Pre-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval
Pre-qualification is a rough estimate of how much you could afford.
But with a pre-approval, it's just that: getting your mortgage
approved prior to going out and looking for a new home. This
critical step launches your home purchasing experience.
FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS
Financial independence, security, satisfaction...with all these
homeownership advantages, who needs rent?
With every rent check you write, you're helping to build equity in
your landlord's property. That money could be going toward building
equity in a home of your own. Today's rates are low enough that your
house payment could be lower than your rent payment!
There are many advantages to owning a home, including:
Security - A feeling of security that comes from owning a
home and the knowledge that your home is a safeguard against
Investment - Payments on your mortgage loan mean you are
acquiring a major possession; instead of rent, you own more and
more. The garden you plant, the permanent improvements you make -
all enhance your way of living as well as the value of your home.
Tax Advantage - Your real estate taxes and the interest on
your mortgage are deductible from your income tax.
Financial Independence - Most people start on the road to
financial independence through home ownership. Your principal and
interest payments remain the same for the full term of your mortgage
while your rent usually goes up as the cost of living increases.
Environment - Your children grow up in the neighborhood of
Cash Equity - Better than a savings account, your home can
appreciate to keep pace with inflation.
Satisfaction - Home ownership offers special advantages that
make life more enjoyable - backyard barbecues, large family
gatherings during holidays, a home workshop, a chance to enjoy your
family's companionship in the privacy of your own home.
NEGOTIATING THE PURCHASE
When you have selected the house you want to buy, your next step is
to submit a signed real estate offer to purchase. We will take you
through a step-by-step process in order to prepare your real estate
You know the seller's asking price, but your buyer's agent will
assist you in determining what the home is really worth by
researching comparables and market statistics.
Decide how much earnest money to offer. Your earnest money is
usually held by the listing company until the sale is closed or the
contract is broker. When the sale is closed, it is applied to the
down payment or closing costs. But, if you fail to buy the house
after the seller has accepted your offer, the seller has the right
to keep this earnest money.
Specify your desired closing date and possession date. Allow
yourself enough time to obtain financing.
Determine which items you may want to negotiate in the price you are
offering. Items the seller may not necessarily be leaving behind may
include any of the following: appliances, light fixtures,
chandeliers, gas logs, fireplace tools, window coverings and swing
We will present the offer to the seller's agent. The seller will
either accept, reject, or counter your offer with changes in the
terms. If the seller submits a counteroffer, you may either sign it
as acceptance of the agreement, make another counteroffer, or
withdraw your offer.
When both the seller and buyer agree to the terms and sign the
document, it becomes a valid contract.
HOME INSPECTION AND
"Beauty is only skin deep" is especially true for houses.
A fresh coat of paint or new carpeting may disguise serious flaws.
That's why you want to make sure a professional inspects your new
home. And to protect your most valuable investment, be sure to have
Your home typically is the single biggest investment you'll ever
make and by protecting it with homeowner's insurance you'll have
financial protection against the unexpected. Aside from protecting
your home and your possessions, it provides you with liability
A professional home inspector surveys the foundation and structure,
roof, exterior, major systems (electrical, heating, cooling and
plumbing), and appliances that will stay with the home.
Tour the house with the inspector, who will point out potential
trouble areas, as well as what's "sound." If the inspection does
turn up some flaws, a seller is often willing to make repairs, but
it may depend on market conditions.
Take notes as you tour. Get the inspection report in writing. This
document will support or deny the contingency addendum to your
You can add a home inspection contingency to your purchase
agreement. This requires the seller to make legitimate repairs - or
if the seller is unwilling to do so, it allows you to cancel your
agreement. According to the GAR contract, a seller is only required
to repair those items that are considered a "defect".
An inspection may take a few hours and cost a few hundred dollars,
but it can save you time and headaches in the long run. Your real
estate professional can recommend a professional inspector. We
always recommend you get own inspection with your own inspector.
ONLINE BUYING INFORMATION
If you have any
questions or would like more information, please contact us
us, or use our online request form.