14 Easy Steps To Buying Your Flower Mound Home

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14 Easy Steps to Buying Your Flower Mound, TX Home

Consultation - At this first meeting we will discuss everything from the time frame of your purchase to the details of your wants, needs and desires for a new home. In addition, we will also discuss any ‘hidden costs’ that may arise (Inspections, surveys, appraisals, etc.). If you have not already secured a pre-approval, I can assist you in securing a mortgage lender. We will also discuss the importance of having a Buyer’s Representation Agreement to protect your interests as a buyer.

Home Search - I will take the information learned during our consultation and search for all of the available homes that meet your established criteria, including For Sale by Owners (FSBO), new construction, expired listings, withdrawn listings and pocket listings (homes not on the market yet).

Schedule showings - After we have determined which homes best meet your criteria, we will schedule showings at your convenience.

Investigate for any additional information - Prior to writing an offer, I will contact the listing agent to determine if there is anything else I should know about this property before sitting down with you to write an offer.

Prepare a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) - This information gives you as the buyer the assurance that you are offering the seller a competitive price for his/her home.

Discuss price and contract terms - The price is only one facet of an offer to a seller. We will discuss the other terms such as contingencies, closing dates, title search, and closing costs associated with your new home purchase.

Prepare offer- I will prepare your offer to be submitted to the listing agent with all, if any, of the necessary contingencies and disclosures in place to protect your best interest.

Negotiate the offer - While our ultimate goal is to prepare a strong offer the first time, it may become necessary to further negotiate on your behalf to get the sales price and terms/contingencies required.

Schedule home inspections - We will schedule and be present for any and all home inspections.

Review home inspection findings- We will discuss with you any adverse findings uncovered during the home inspection, or what is to be a concern; and what is not.

Negotiate repair requests - It may become necessary to request further compensation from the seller on your behalf as the buyer if repairs are uncovered as the result of a home inspection.

Coordinate correspondence – An ongoing process, this keeps the transaction moving forward by communicating with the lender, title company and listing agent to make sure all the stipulations in the contract are being satisfied.

Review final documents - Once the lender has prepared the loan package, a HUD-1 Statement will be sent to the Buyer’s Agent for review. I will review this document to make sure all financials have been recorded properly and then forward it to you for your review.

Attend closing with buyer - This gives my buyers the added comfort of knowing they will have an advocate present during the closing if something unexpected should arise.

If you are looking to buy a Flower Mound home, you are 14 easy steps away. Contact The North Texas Home Hunter today at (214) 609-7123 for professional real estate services, buying, selling, or investing.

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5 Mistakes That First Time Home Buyers Often Make.

Buying a home is exciting, especially when you’re buying for the first time. In the midst of all of the excitement, it’s easy to become blinded by beautiful back-splashes, granite and quartz counter tops, hardwood floors, and fenced-in backyards. While looking at homes that are completely perfect from top to bottom, you may begin to rationalize a larger purchase than you had originally planned for:

“This house is perfect for me; it’s worth $50,000 extra dollars for me to have a house with enough space in a perfect location,” or “We were planning on spending a little bit of money on painting; we can spend $50,000 extra on this house because it doesn’t need any work.”

Overspending

Before you even look at a single property, you need to know exactly how much you can afford. There are several online calculator tools you can use, but these tools are only estimates. How much is your current rent payment? Did you meet that payment each month with ease, or was it a bit of a struggle each month? The payment you can afford right now is a good indicator of what you’ll be able to afford in your new home.

Meet with a lender and get pre-approved for an amount you can afford. Also, keep in mind that it’s always better to lean towards a lower amount, rather than a higher amount. You do not have to use the entire amount you’re pre-approved for. Once you know how much you have to work with, then and only then should you start your house hunt.

Counting chickens before they hatch

When determining how much mortgage you can afford, base this amount on what you are earning today. That is, the income that you and your spouse earn from stable sources. If you’re in your last year of law school, for instance, don’t assume that you will be earning much more money in a year or two, so you can afford a larger payment. If your wife is expecting a big promotion, don’t base your mortgage payment off of her potential salary increase. No one can predict the future, and although you may very well be in a better financial situation a year down the road, there is no guarantee.

Failing to account for closing costs, property taxes, HOA, and homeowner’s insurance

When you rent a home, you generally only have one payment, rent, and then maybe renter’s insurance, which is optional. When you buy a place, your mortgage payment is only the beginning of an array of costs. Homeowner’s association fees can be as high as a few hundred dollars per month, depending on where you live and the amenities and services offered.

Homeowners insurance and property taxes vary based on your geographic location. Florida has notoriously high homeowner’s insurance rates, where they average $161.08 per month. In Idaho and Wisconsin, rates are a bit lower, averaging below $50 per month, according to Value Penguin. Property taxes average higher in New Jersey, New Hampshire, Texas and Wisconsin and they’re lower in Louisiana, Hawaii, and Alabama.

On top of all of those costs, if your down payment is less than 20 percent of the selling price, you may end up paying an additional cost, private mortgage insurance (PMI), which is basically insurance for the lender in case you default on your loan.

At the end of it all, your $800 mortgage payment can easily turn into a $1,200 house payment.

Failing to protect yourself with home inspections, contingency clauses, etc.

During your house hunt, you may find a house that looks great at first glance. Then, as you walk through a few of the rooms, you notice problems with the house. Maybe the floors squeak or the kitchen island is off-centered. After walking through the house, you come to realize that someone simply put lipstick on a pig, and this house is in questionable shape.

Home inspections provide you with some protection. The inspector will be able to find problems that you can’t and you want to know these problems before you sign on. “The seller isn’t likely to tell you there’s mold in the basement or the walls are poorly insulated,” reports MSN.

Contingency clauses also offer a form of protection. A mortgage financing contingency clause protects you if you lose your job and the loan falls through or the appraisal price comes in over the purchase price. Should one of these events occur, the buyer gets back the money he used to secure the property (Earnest Money). Without that clause, the buyer can lose that money and still be obligated to buy the house, legally.

Being too naive or too paranoid 

Some first-time home buyers are naive. Overly optimistic, they think nothing could possible go wrong. If a home has a few problems, they view them as easy fixes and are unrealistic when it comes to the cost and time it takes to fix up the home. Some naive buyers will move to a neighborhood on the wrong side of town, forgetting that you can fix up a house, but you can’t change your neighborhood or location without moving.

Paranoid buys are sometimes difficult to work with. They may not believe the price is an accurate assessment of the house’s market value. They’ll submit low-ball offers and then show frustration when they are consistently rejected. Paranoid buyers don’t trust real-estate agents, and may even try to buy their home without an agent, which is generally an unwise choice for anyone, let alone first time buyers.

To protect you during your purchase, and for professional real estate service, contact The North Texas Home Hunter at (214) 609-7123 or jtrump@kw.com

How Rising Interest Rates Impact Your Family’s Wealth

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With interest rates still in the low 4%’s, many buyers may be on the fence as to whether to act now and purchase a new home, or wait until next year. If you look at what the experts are predicting for 2015, it may make the decision for you.

Predictions for 2015 3Q:

Even an increase of half a percentage point can put a dent in your family’s net worth.

Let’s look at it this way…

The monthly payment (principal & interest only) on a $250,000 home today, with the current 4.1% interest rate would be $1,208. If we take that same home a year later, the Home Price Expectation Survey projects that prices will rise about 4% making that home cost $10,000 more at $260,000. If we take Freddie Mac’s rate projection of 4.8%, the monthly mortgage payment climbs to $1,364. Some buyers might not think that an extra $156 a month is that bad. But over the course of 30-year mortgage you have spent an additional $56,160 by waiting a year. unnamed (1)

For professional real estate service, contact The North Texas Home Hunter at (214) 609-7123 or jtrump@kw.com

Common Ways That Pets Can Damage Your Home’s Resale Value!

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Above all else, I want to get one thing straight- I love pets! But, it’s not really a secret that owning one can be expensive. Monthly bags of food, unexpected vet bills, new toys and boarding costs add up quickly; but that’s only part of the price of pet ownership. It turns out the estimated value of your home can drop by as much as $30,000 when a potential buyer finds out the home was shared with a pet.

Why? Sometimes, pets stink…and they scratch…and they pee on stuff. Here are three pet-related issues to watch out for if you want to retain your home’s pre-pet value:

Scratches, Scratches Everywhere:

Scratches from pets aren’t limited to hardwood floors, although they should definitely get some attention. Other commonly scratched spots include doors, windowsills, window screens, wall molding, cabinets, porches, and pretty much anything else your pet can get their claws on. Even a well-trained pet gets bored, and boredom leads to scratching, which leads to reduced home values. To fight the problem before it starts, make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise and has toys and treats to occupy their time while you’re away, or, if your pet really needs some extra supervision, look into a doggie daycare or a pet-sitter while you’re away. The upfront cost of daycare (about $25 a day) isn’t exactly cheap, but it can help you recoup serious cash when you’re ready to sell your home.

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Lingering Odors:

This is a biggy. You know how they say love is blind? Pet smells work like that, too, an accident here, a litter box there, and your home never smells the same. And one whiff of a bad odor is really difficult to recover from when trying to sell your home. First impressions are lasting! The issue here is that many homeowners get used to the smells associated with having a live-in pet, so it’s commonly overlooked.

Don’t do that! Instead, take the time to deep clean any mess that happens and use these stink-fighting tricks when an appraiser or potential buyer is visiting your home. Tip: Ask an honest friend to rate your home’s stink on a scale from zero to 10. If it’s anything over a 3, you may want to consider hiring a professional to handle the smell.

Ugly Yard = Bad First Impression:

Let’s be straightforward: Poop and pee kills grass. Dogs love to dig holes, and to some animals, plants look delicious. All of these issues can make a once well-manicured lawn look messy.

When you’re selling your home, curb appeal can make or break a deal, so pay attention to your lawn. Fix issues like dead grass from a favorite pee spot immediately. We’re not saying Lassie shouldn’t enjoy your lawn! Just clean up after her and keep the digging to a minimum.

What Does Your Realtor Do?

In this fast paced world of the internet, and with so many websites in which to view homes for sale, the question always comes up; “Why use a REALTOR when buying or selling a home?” Many buyers and sellers only look at what they perceive as the cost of hiring an agent and overlook the real benefits the agent brings to both sides of the sale. Typically, the seller pays the commission to the listing agent for listing, marketing, and selling the property and the listing agent then shares a portion of that commission with the Buyers’ agent. 

In most cases, the commission is the only fee that is charged and keep in mind; they are only paid upon the closing of the property. 

An experienced agent is trained in the complexities of the transaction and generally is knowledgeable in the market area where the home is located. The fiduciary allegiance owed by the agent to the client is first and foremost. The agent must represent their clients best interests at all times. The negotiating skills of that agent is critical and must include strong communication skills, strategies, problem solving, being creative and maintaining a rapport with the agent on the other side of the transaction. 

Unfortunately, locating a buyer and then putting the property under contract is only half of the equation. The early period of the contract (Option Period) is when the buyers hire inspectors to inspect the property and go over its ‘overall health’.  In many cases, the buyer will ask for repairs to be made by the seller, which reopens negotiations as to what the seller is willing to do and the buyer is willing to accept. The agent is more than likely also involved in assisting the buyer in the type of that will best suit them, and referring great lenders to them. With all of the choices now available from the internet and what we have heard about the issues with the large national (big box) banks, the process of selecting a lender has become a lot more complicated. As an agent, I believe that using a smaller, local community lender is the best. It doesn’t matter how great the terms are that the buyer is offered, if the lender cannot deliver as promised, then it is probably too good to be true. Lastly, the liability in selling real estate if NOT handled correctly can be great, and the agent potentially assumes that liability along with the client. The state of Texas is a consumer state and requires the seller and agent to disclose any known defects in the property. Part of the job of the agent is to advise the seller of the great importance of disclosure and make sure that the proper forms are provided to any potential buyer. After the sale, any issues that arise are usually concerning the condition of the property. 

A real estate transaction is very complex and requires expertise. An agent, an experienced agent, will help you through the pitfalls. 

Jim Trump is one of the rare licensed REALTORS that is a Certified Negotiation Expert. For professional real estate services, contact The North Texas Home Hunter, Jim Trump, at (214) 609-7123 or jtrump@kw.com

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You Do Need A Professional When Buying or Selling Your Home!

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Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream home or if they should first try to go it on their own. In today’s market: you need an experienced professional!

You Need an Expert Guide if you are Traveling a Dangerous Path

The field of real estate is loaded with land mines. You need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and ready for you to move in to can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift out the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your “dream home”.

A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in securing your dream home.

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

Realize that when an agent is negotiating their commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family’s head; the salary that puts food on their family’s table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family? If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with you, they will not turn into Superman when negotiating with the buyer or seller in your deal.

Bottom Line

Famous sayings become famous because they are true. You get what you pay for. Just like a good accountant or a good attorney, a good agent will save you money…not cost you money.

4 Reasons To Buy Before Winter

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It’s that time of year; the seasons are changing and with them bring thoughts of the upcoming holidays, family get togethers, and planning for a New Year. Those who are on the fence about whether now is the right time to buy don’t have to look much farther to find four great reasons to consider buying a home now, instead of waiting. 

Prices Will Continue to Rise 

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report released recently projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 11.2% (most pessimistic) and 27.8% (most optimistic).

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense. 

Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase 

Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have softened recently, most experts predict that they will begin to rise later this year. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by the end of next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home. 

Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage 

As a recent paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains: 

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.” 

It’s Time to Move On with Your Life 

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise. But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait? Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is time to buy. 

Bottom Line 

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings. 

For professional real estate services, contact me at (214) 609-7123 or jtrump@kw.com