A simplified guide for painless purchasing of your Mobile Eastern Shore home:
Okay, you’ve made your lists of: must have” and “would be nice” features, and you’ve identified desirable neighborhoods with the schools and amenities that meet your needs. Now it’s time to seriously shop for your first-time Mobile Eastern Shore home.
Before you even step outside to begin the search, your agent will email to you listings which meet your criteria, and you can “visit” many of them online via a virtual tour. Once you have narrowed down your choices, your agent will arrange for you to look at–in person– your selected properties. A few bits of advice here:
1) Take notes on each home you tour. Too often individual details blur after you’ve seen four (or more) houses in a day.
2) Look past the owner’s furnishings and décor. Concentrate on the features you have identified as important and try to picture yourself actually living in the space.
3) If you have decided that you don’t need a “move-in ready” residence, look at the potential of the property. Would simple cosmetic changes make a considerable difference?
4) Listen to both your head and your heart. Sometimes a property really does “speak” to you, and you know you have found your new home.
Now it’s time to make an offer! Your agent will provide you with comparable prices (comps) of similar homes which have recently sold in the neighborhood to help you decide how much you are willing to offer. He/she will prepare a contract which will include price; amount of down payment and deposit (earnest money); your financing arrangements; inspection rights; conveyance of any appliances, window treatments, furnishings, etc.; the settlement date; and any contingencies you might want to add.
Once your agent presents you offer to the seller, negotiations may begin. The seller may counter your offered price or any other part of the contract, and you may, in turn, counter such requests. You may have to offer more money in price, but you can also ask the seller to cover all or some of your closing costs or to make repairs that ordinarily would not be covered. The best solution, of course, is to reach an agreement that makes both the buyer and the seller happy. A word of caution here: it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying your first [city] home and in the negotiation process itself. Stop often for a reality check. Don’t get so personally involved that you lose sight of what you really want–or can afford! Occasionally you may have to walk away from a potential deal, but keep in mind that there are hundreds more homes from which to choose.
More often than not, however, the deal is finalized, and you will quickly proceed to having a home inspection, a HVAC inspection, and an environmental test (asbestos, mold, radon). Your agent can arrange for these important inspections to ensure that the property meets expected standards. He/she will also deal with the seller to take care of any exposed discrepancies and/or unexpected problems
What‘s next? Preparation for your closing, a walk-through of the property, and then the actual settlement! Watch this space for the final installment of this series.