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Northern Ohio Real Estate

Information for Buyers

Northern Ohio Realty buyers come from near and far. They are your friends with growing families, that need a bigger home, or your older neighbors that need to down-size, so there is not so much to take care of.

Northern Ohio Realty agents are trained experts in their field. They know how to steer you in the right direction, with each and every move.

Let's begin the home buying process so that you can understand how easy and hassle-free Northern Ohio Realty agents make it for our valued customers.

Choose a link from the list below, or follow them step-by step to learn more:

#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 Northern Ohio Realty 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. If you are interviewing multiple agents be sure to ask them all the same questions so you can compare.

Examples of questions to ask are:

  • What is your company's 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 time frame 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.

Remember, it is your Realtor's responsibility to introduce you to alternatives based on what you say you want as opposed to selling you a home. When the right home comes along your Realtor will not have to sell to you, you'll just buy it. Isn't that the way you want to be treated?

#3 Starting the Loan Process

It is important as a buyer that you establish some kind of financing before you begin your house hunting process. The “pre–approval” process allows lenders to take a look at your finances and credit history in order to pre-approve you for a mortgage. Knowing that you qualify for a mortgage and the amount of that mortgage takes the guess work out of the process and reduces one of the major contributors of stress.

In order to get pre-approved for a loan, you need to contact a lender. Your Northern Ohio Realty agent will help you get pre-approved through our mortgage partner for a mortgage program best suited to your needs.

Our goal is to help you be the “Best Buyer” on the market so that you can fulfill your dream of homeownership.

#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). Today, approximately 75% of the buyers use the Internet to begin their search. Your challenge is to find the Internet website that provides the most information and is easiest to use. Be sure to avail yourself of the opportunities on the “My Homefinder” feature of the website. You will want to be registered so that you are notified of any new listings meeting your criteria.

#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:

  1. Price
  2. Location
  3. Size
  4. Style
  5. Design
  6. 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.

It is important that you isolate your priorities. As you go through the process you will realize that there is no such thing as a “perfect” home. If money were no object, homes would come closer to being perfect. You need to think compromise through out the process. Literally everybody who buys a home has to compromise to some degree. It is important to remember the “85% concept”. The “85% concept” says that in this market if you can get 85% of what you expect to get in a home, you should buy it.

#6 Making an Offer on a Home

In the process of buying a home, your objective is to find the best home for money and to deal with the best seller you can find. Conversely, if you are seller, you'd want to deal with the best buyer that you think you could find, the buyer who would pay top price. That means every buyer out there for a given home is competing to do business with the seller. So one of the things you should consider is that making a low offer on a really desirable property is not always in your best interest despite what your natural inclination may be.

Many times people write a low offer that a seller finds offensive and the seller doesn't counter to them because the seller just doesn't choose to do business with people who have insulted them.

And then sometimes people write an offer and while the seller is considering that offer and a possible counter, some other buyer comes along who is will to pay more for the property.

When you go out looking at homes you're going to know a home is really very competitive when you see it. You'll know that if you decide the home for you, you'll have to be serious about it. And if you don't know when you walk into the property, it will literally say to you, “This is a home that you can't play around with. This isn't something you can play games on. This home is very competitive to begin with and in order for you to buy this home, you're going to have to be very competitive.”

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. Your Northern Ohio Realty agent will guide you through this complex process.

#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 title and deed to the property, while the seller receives payment for the property.

It is this step where the buyers and sellers do very little. It is important as the buyer to take a final walk through the property to make sure the property's condition has 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 during this period there may be an uneasy feeling and 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