Your REALTOR® has first-hand experience and knowledge of the market. You must feel comfortable with him or her and trust they are giving you sound advice. Make sure you “click” with your REALTOR®.
A good lender will have your best interest in mind in choosing the financing solution. Your lender should help you answer the following questions:
- How much can I afford?
- How much will I need for a down payment?
- What kinds of costs are associated with making a home purchase?
- Do I need to sell my current home first before I can buy a new home?
- What other costs are associated in my monthly payment other than principal and interest? (Taxes, insurance, etc.)
Start with location. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I want to live close to work or school?
- Do I mind a commute? If so, how long?
- Is the school district important, now or in the future?
- How close do I want to live to parks, shopping, night life, etc.?
Pre-existing or new construction. How soon would you like to move? Pre-existing homes for sale are move-in ready; you can typically close in 45-60 days and a portion of your closing costs may be paid by the seller (if negotiated). The average new construction project may take 6-9 months to complete, and there will be additional costs such as blinds, fences, appliances, etc. Also, when purchasing a new construction home, most builders will not contribute towards your closing costs.
Create a features wish list. What do you want in a home? Keep in mind, despite what’s shown on HGTV, most buyers don’t get everything they want. Create a Checklist (see the “New Home Checklist” page in this packet) but keep an open mind, and be sure to share it with your Jacobsen Group agent.
Lean on your agent and MLS (Multiple Listing Service). While most buyers begin searching for homes on Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia, you should rely mostly on your agent. Agents have a more accurate awareness of existing and new inventory based on their market knowledge and saved MLS searches. The MLS is the city-wide database where all real estate companies display their listings, and is the most reliable, up-to-date information available.
Limit social sharing. DO NOT share anything about your home search to social media as it could be used against you in negotiations. And change your privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to the highest security settings possible, while still allowing people to “friend” you; sellers have been known to research you online for personal information that will give them an edge during negotiations.
To schedule showings, contact your Jacobsen Group agent and let him or her know when you’re available. Keep the following in mind:
- Most, but not all, sellers will require at least a 24-hour notice to show.
- Wear comfortable slip-on shoes as you’ll be removing your shoes when viewing homes.
- Dress for the weather.
- Using a home-owner’s restroom is tacky, so plan accordingly.
- It’s best to view homes during the daylight hours.
- On average, you can view around 3 to 4 homes an hour depending on drive time.
- Let your agent know if kids, family, or friends will be joining you.
- Arrive on time. Showings are scheduled within specific time frames.
- Some sellers will have nanny cams or security cameras in the home that record sound, so vocalize your opinions carefully; spoken insights may be used against you during negotiations.
Your Jacobsen Group agent will help you structure the most competitive offers. Considerations include:
- Asking the seller to pay for a portion of your closing costs
- Home inspections. It is always recommended to have the property inspected. Inspection costs depend on the total square feet of the home, and are due to the inspector at the time of the inspection.
Approximate costs for a typical inspection include:
- $350-$400 – Whole home inspection
- $125 – Radon test
- $200-$400 – Mold test
The home may need additional inspections, based on the results of the initial inspection.
- Schedule the inspection(s). In your purchase agreement, you are given 7 business days to have the home inspected by a licensed, qualified inspector of your choice. Your Jacobsen Group agent will provide a handful of recommendations, but it is your responsibility to get the inspections scheduled. Provide the inspection company your name, your agent’s name, and the property address. Inspections are scheduled at times that work best for you and the seller. Plan on attending the final walk-through with the home inspector.
- Make an earnest deposit. Drop off your earnest deposit check to The Jacobsen Group’s office within 24-hours of acceptance. The check will need be the exact amount, made out to the title company stated in your purchase agreement.
- Notify your lender. Please notify your lender that you have an accepted purchase agreement on the property, and let him or her know what date you are closing. Your agent will email your lender a copy of the fully executed agreement. Please have your lender email your agent an updated lending approval letter with the actual purchase price on it.
Your home inspector will inspect the home and then you will meet him or her at the home to physically observe and go over the findings.
Throughout the loan process, keep your lender informed and provide requested documentation ASAP. Here are some things you should NOT do between offer acceptance and the closing:
- Open new lines of credit or credit cards.
- Make any large purchases (furniture, appliances, car, etc.)
- Move money between accounts, unless you speak with your lender first.
- Change jobs, unless you speak with your lender first.
You will need to purchase homeowner’s insurance on your new property. Once you’ve decided on a carrier, have them (or the insurance agent) contact your lender to provide a copy of the insurance rider.
Make sure you satisfy all contingencies within the given time frame.
Roughly 2 weeks before closing, the following will need to be completed:
- Notify your agent of a preferred closing time (Monday-Friday, 8am-4 pm).
- Notify your agent of when you would like to schedule your final walkthrough; typically within 3 days of closing.
- Call all the utility companies (gas, electric, water, sewer, and phone) to have the utilities transferred into your name at the date of possession or closing, whichever occurs first.
- If you’re moving into an SID (Sanitary Improvement District), you will need to make arrangements for trash service.
- Call the cable/satellite company to schedule your new service and hook up.
- Don’t forget to update your mailing address with the Post Office as of the closing date.
- Prepare for the move! If you’re hiring movers, call them at least a couple weeks in advance to book your time. A good organizational tip is to pack the items not needed for everyday life first, and be sure to label, in detail, every box.
- Get your new furniture and appliances ready. If you purchased new appliances or furniture, make arrangements for the store to deliver them on (or just after) closing day.
If you are required to bring funds to closing, bring a Cashier’s Check (or Wire funds) to closing made out to the title company. You will also want to make sure your funds for closing are available within 7 days prior to closing and that there is a branch located in Omaha. If your funds are located out of state, make sure you give yourself enough time to have the funds available in time for closing.
Per your inspection contingencies, you may have negotiated with the seller to have licensed contractors to make repairs/replacements to the home prior to your final walk-thru. As your Jacobsen Group agent receives the paid invoices from the listing agent, he or she will pass them along to you for your review. You will want to make sure the receipts are legible, and if you have any questions or need clarifications, please let them know.
The walk thru is a very important piece to you buying your new home. This is will the last time you will be in the home prior to closing, and you want to make sure it’s in the condition in which you had seen it last. This is also the time you will be able to check all the repairs or replacements the seller has done to the home in order to satisfy your inspection contingencies. You will be able to cross reference those repairs with the paid receipts that your agent has provided you with from the seller.
Congratulations! Today is the day! You will sign all the paperwork officially making you the new owner of your dream home. For closing, you will need to bring the following:
- Cashier’s Check
- Driver’s license
With your new home, here are eight final items you might want to consider.
- Save your closing packet (all documents associated with closing), and keep it in a safe place.
- About 6 weeks after closing, you will receive a copy of the recorded warranty deed from the court house. Please place the warranty deed in your closing packet for safe keeping.
- Hire a locksmith to change all the locks on the home, so you will know exactly who has a key to your new home.
- You will receive a lot of “junk mail” after you move into your new home. Please watch out for any new credit card offers, offers for equity lines of credit, or “mortgage protection (life) insurance” offers, which are often sent in official looking envelopes. If you have any questions, you can always call your Jacobsen Group agent or your loan officer.
- You will receive a property tax statement from the County Assessor sometime each December. Please disregard the tax statement, ONLY IF you have an escrow account where your lender pays for your property taxes on your behalf.
- Prepare a budget for your new home. In the next few months, there will be both planned and unplanned expenses with your new home. You will also want to set aside money each month in an emergency fund to cover any essential repairs or loss of income.
- Watch for any changes in your monthly home payment. Even if you have a fixed rate loan, your payment can fluctuate if your taxes, mortgage insurance, or homeowner’s insurance go up or down.
- Pay attention to if you have a new service provider for your mortgage loan. The “servicer” is the company to whom you send your mortgage payment, and it is possible your servicer might change. If there is a change, you should receive a letter notifying you in advance of the change.