First Steps for Buyers
There are some questions you need to answer even before you start your search. If you’re a first-time home buyer or someone who hasn’t bought a home recently, we recommend that you begin with an in-person Buyer Consultation. That will enable your Weichert Sales Associate to help you identify and clarify your requirements for your new home and then give you a good idea what to expect when you proceed with your home search.
Here are some questions to ponder as you begin to define the kind of home you really want:
• What style or type of home interests you – contemporary or historic, ranch or colonial?
• How large a home do you want, with how many bedrooms and baths?
• What do you think are the key features? (For example: eat-in kitchen, deck, fireplace, family room or central air conditioning)
• How will you determine whether a location is right for you – schools? Commuting needs? Availability of shopping?
• Would you consider buying a home that is in need of some renovation or expansion?
• Will it be necessary to sell your home to buy your next one?
During your Buyer Consultation, your Sales Associate will also introduce you to one of our Gold Services financial experts who can assist you with getting a mortgage credit approval and calculating just how much you can afford to spend.
Once you begin your search, your Weichert Sales Associate can show you any home at all, even if it’s listed with another real estate agency. Whether your interest is piqued by a For Sale sign, an ad in the paper or a listing on the internet, your Weichert Sales Associate will be your best resource for learning more of the details. He or she can help you decide if any particular house is worth seeing in person.
Your Sales Associate will begin to work with you by diligently searching the current inventory of available homes to find ones that meet your expectations. He or she will also network in any specific neighborhood you’re interested in, keeping a close watch in order to let you know the moment a new house that fits your criteria comes on the market or when a home you might like drops its price.
Buying or Selling, there's an agent on your side.
When you decide to purchase or sell a home, it is important that you understand the laws that define the relationships between sales associates (agent) and buyers and sellers. These are referred to as laws of Agency.
The relationship between a sales associate and a client is a fiduciary relationship that is based on trust. The sales executive owes a client:
The following is a description of the different types of Agency laws in Connecticut:
A buyer’s agent is a real estate broker or sales associate who acts in a fiduciary capacity for the prospective buyer. The buyer’s agent owes fiduciary responsibility to the buyer. The agent must disclose to the buyer client any and all facts or information the agent learns about the property, the seller's motivation or the transaction. The agent must place the buyer’s interest above the interests of all others. This includes the duty not to disclose any confidential information about the buyer’s affairs.
A seller’s agent is a real estate broker or sales associate who acts in a fiduciary capacity for the owner. The agent must place the owner’s interest above the interests of all others and negotiate for the best terms and conditions for the owner. The agent must disclose to the client any and all facts or information the agent learns about prospective buyers or the transaction. This includes the duty not to disclose any confidential information about the client's affairs.
Designated Agency occurs when the real estate broker or real estate brokerage firm appoints one of the broker’s or firm’s salespersons to solely represent the buyer and another salesperson or salespersons to solely represent the seller. The Designated Agents may provide the entire array of fiduciary duties to the clients for whom they have been appointed. This includes advocacy on the client’s behalf and advice and opinion to the client including the Designated Agent’s opinion as to the value of the property, what price to offer, or what offer to accept.
Real estate agents (and the brokers with whom they are licensed) are typically paid a commission. The commission is calculated as a percentage of a home's sale price. It is derived from the proceeds of the home sale, and is really generally paid by the seller. The listing broker divides this fee, and shares it with the real estate listing agent and cooperating buyer’s broker/agent (if any) in the transaction.
Where to Find Your New Home
Here's the best way to learn about homes you might choose to buy. First of all, the Internet has replaced newspapers as the number one source of new homes, so you’ve already started off on the right foot! Now 18 times more people find the home they purchase online than in newspapers.
Even better, you're on WeichertRP.com. Not only does this site provide access to listings by Weichert and virtually all other Realtors®, but we make the experience as enjoyable as we can by constantly enhancing and streamlining the search process, as well as by adding helpful tools and maps and relevant information.
Unlike typical real estate websites where, in surprisingly many cases, no one gets back to you at all – Weichert has developed a unique process that gets you a personal response in minutes, not hours.
Here's how it works: When you are looking through all the properties that are avaiable on WeichertRP.com, there is a handy "contact me" form on each page to complete and submit to have one of the real estate specialists contact almost immediately. Or you call our toll free number, 1-866-865-7356 to speak to one of the real estate specialists who staff our call center, 7 days a week. You will be immediately connected to a local Weichert Sales Associate who is available to show you the property you are interested in. That makes us, as we like to say "the fastest way from mouse to house." Only Weichert is committed to maintaining an Internet strategy that brings you face-to-face with homes you like as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Preparing to Shop with Confidence
Here’s why you should begin with a mortgage credit approval. Since a pre-approval, unlike a pre-qualification, is based on your specific financial situation, it takes the mystery out of what you can afford. Not only will it help you understand which homes to consider, it will give any prospective seller more confidence in your ability to obtain a mortgage. (If you end up bidding on the same house as another buyer, your mortgage credit approval might even be the deciding factor in getting your offer accepted.)
Your Weichert Associate will connect you with one of our mortgage specialists who will handle your pre-qualification. He or she will help you determine the monthly payment you’re comfortable with and provide you with a mortgage credit decision before you shop for your home. In fact, by using basic information such as your income, debt, assets, and employment history, our mortgage broker is generally able to get you a credit decision within minutes. The approval is subject to an acceptable appraisal of the home you eventually purchase.
You'll have many financing options to choose from. As part of the process, our mortgage specialists will help you determine which type of loan best fits your situation. Believe it or not, there are over 300 to choose from. While you probably won't need to consider more than a few, you should at least compare the advantages of a fixed rate mortgage with an adjustable one.
Making an Offer
Here's what you need to understand about making an offer. When you have found the house that meets your needs and maybe even realizes your dreams, you'll probably find yourself getting emotionally involved. Maybe you'll imagine moving your furniture in, planting flowers, or hosting your first big holiday party. The trick is not to get too attached prematurely. There are a number of steps you must take before you're holding the keys in your hand, and you need to think clearly and objectively at this point so that the offer you make is a realistic one.
Determining what you should offer. There are a number of factors that will affect the offer you make. You can rely on your Weichert Sales Associate to help you determine a home's value relative to others in the area. Together, you'll also consider the condition of the home, the demand for homes like it, how long it's been on the market and, of course, how much you really want it.
Think twice before you make a "low ball," offer. It will elicit a counteroffer from some sellers, but others may dismiss your bid outright. Your Sales Associate will advise you on ways to make your offer more attractive: for instance, a mortgage credit approval and flexibility on the closing\settlement can ultimately close the sale.
Rest assured that your Weichert Sales Associate is a neighborhood specialist, well trained in the techniques of negotiation. After helping you think through the issues to determine the best offer for you to make at the time, your Sales Associate is well qualified to negotiate on your behalf with your best interests in mind.
Written offer with deposit. Your Sales Associate will strengthen your written offer by presenting it personally and describing your case to the seller in person. To show that your intentions are serious, it is customary to submit the offer with a deposit. If your offer is accepted, your deposit is placed in a trust account. If not, your deposit will be returned to you.
If the seller counteroffers, you may agree to that price and terms, or make your own counteroffer. Once you and the seller agree, both sides initial the final price and terms shown on the agreement of sale.
The final contract will specify the items in the home included or excluded in the sale, as well as any additional provisions either side wants to have as part of the contract. End dates for contingencies, such as for obtaining financing, are also filled in before the contract is signed.
Additional deposit. Depending upon the price of the home and the size of your down payment, the contract may specify a date when additional monies would be placed into the trust account. At this time, the mortgage company or your attorney will order a title search and insurance.
Mortgage contingency. Unless you are an all-cash buyer, as part of your sales contract, you generally will agree to obtain financing within a specified period. This period may be extended with the seller's agreement. If you are unable to secure financing, the contract becomes null and void.
A Smooth Transaction
Here's why you should be glad that Weichert offers one-stop shopping. Even with a signed contract in hand, there's still a lot to deal with before the house you found can become the home you live in. Through WEICHERT® REALTORS - Regional Properties Gold Services Division, we can take most of the details out of your hands and into ours, smoothly streamlining the delivery of mortgage financing, home insurance, closing attorney, moving services and even vital home connections services to save you time and make the transition easier.
While only certain inspections are required by mortgage lenders or government mandate, a comprehensive home inspection is needed to tell you exactly what needs repair or replacement before you actually purchase a home. However, it is not legally required, so you, as the buyer, must pay for it. It is also recommended that at the time of the inspection you accompany the home inspector so that you can learn firsthand as much as possible about the home you are about to purchase - including such basics as where the main water shut-off and electrical distribution boxes are located.
What if the inspections turn up problems? You should expect problems to be uncovered. While some may be a matter of simple cosmetics, others may be more serious and may call for costly repairs. The good news, however, is that in most cases you and the seller will be able to come to terms. You may decide to compromise and share the costs of repairs or the seller may take the responsibility. In some cases, you may just decide that an issue is not important enough to risk losing the home.
Unless you have a mortgage credit approval, obtaining financing in time to meet the date specified in your sales contract is a top priority. WEICHERT® REALTORS - Regional Properties mortgage broker relationships offers approximately 300 different types of mortgages, so you're sure to find the one that's best for you. When meeting with a mortgage specialist, ask all the questions you like so that you clearly understand what your financing options are.
Home Warranty Plan
If the home you're purchasing doesn't come with a Home Protection Plan, you may want to consider one. After all, breakdowns happen even with the best-name appliances. And they're not normally covered under homeowners insurance. Instead of worrying that a dishwasher, for instance, will go on the blink, a Weichert Home Protection Plan offers repair or replacement protection for covered major appliances and systems, with qualified contractors only a phone call away. Often times, a seller provides a Home Warranty plan to their buyer for coverage during the first year after their closing day.
We work with a well respected insurance brokerage firm with over three decades of experience in providing personal, commercial, and life insurance for Connecticut residents and clients of Weichert Realtors Regional Properties. They work along with regional and national insurance carriers to provide the best quality coverage and outstanding customer service. With our variety of services, we can help build an insurance plan that fits you, your family, or your business.
Weichert Home Connections
In addition to the essential purchase-related services, Weichert Gold Services can simplify the moving-in process, relieving you of many phone calls you'd otherwise have to make to arrange services. With some variation depending on area, the growing array of Weichert Home Connections services can cover everything from moving services to the set-up of cable TV and phone service. Best of all, there's no extra cost to you for arranging these services for you.