Landmark Realty Group Carolina Mountains - Resources
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BUYING A HOME  |  SELLING A HOME  |  RELOCATING  |  CAREER OPPORTUNITIES 

 
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.
  • What style of home do you like - two story, ranch, split-level, something else?
  • What size of home do you need - number of bedrooms, baths?
  • What are your priorities in home features - garage, gourmet kitchen, fireplace, main level master, formal dining room or other features?
  • Is it important to you to have additional space that could be finished such as an attic or basement?
  • What natural features outside the home are most significant to you - woods, hills, streams, lakes, others?

Coldwell 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!

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WORKING WITH A REAL ESTATE AGENT

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.

Buyers

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.

Buyer's Agent

DUTIES TO BUYER: If the real estate firm and its agents represent you, they must:
  • promote your best interests
  • be loyal to you
  • follow your lawful instructions
  • 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.

UNWRITTEN AGREEMENTS: 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 you:

  • find a suitable property
  • arrange financing
  • learn more about the property and
  • otherwise 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 provision.

Dual Agent
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 possible time.

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 properties.

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 Type)

Buyer or Seller Signature

Date

Buyer or Sellers Name (Print or Type)

Buyer or Seller Signature

Date

Agent Name
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" above.

Buyer's Initials Acknowledging Disclosure
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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 closing costs.

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.

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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 inflation.

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 your choice.

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.

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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 offer:

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 sets.

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.

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HOME INSPECTION AND INSURANCE

"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 homeowner's insurance.

Homeowner's Insurance
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 coverage.

Home Inspection
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 agreement.

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.

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ONLINE BUYING INFORMATION FORM
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If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us 828-743-9440, 800-526-9767, email us, or use our online request form.
 


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