Buying or selling a home? Your City Country Connection can help.

Buying a home is intimidating for a lot of people, but it's not that confusing with a bit of up-front planning. So they'll know exactly what to expect, I like to furnish buyers with an overview of the whole deal. These are my nine steps to buying a home. If you have questions about this information or if you're prepared to get started, just contact me here or e-mail me at .

Step 1 – Prepare to buy
Before you start your home search, there are plenty of things you should consider. You'll most likely want to create an index of features you want to have, get a feel for what neighborhoods and school districts you want to live in, and begin planning around your budget. A good guideline to follow is that your mortgage payment should be less than or around a third of your monthly income.

Step 2 – Speak with a real estate agent
That's where I can help. I'd be happy to plan a time to get together with you and speak with you about your real estate needs and get an idea of your upcoming plans. We'll talk about the mortgage and housing industries, other economic factors that could potentially affect your buying decision today or in the future, as well as neighborhoods and school districts in the Guerneville area.

I'll also help you get started on your loan. I partner with some of Guerneville's finest mortgage professionals, so you're in great hands. They can help you figure out which type of loan is best for you, as well as help you get approved.

Step 3 – Start house-hunting
Following our first meeting, I'll start searching for available homes on the market that are a great fit for you. I'll research most of the homes and throw out the bad ones, and then we'll schedule appointments to view the homes when it's most convenient for you.

When we tour the houses, I'll point out good features, as well as negative ones. I'll even ask you about things you like and don't like. Usually, buyers revise their wish list as we tour houses and some things become more necessary than others. If that's the case, I'll go back through all the listings once more and trim it down to the home of your dreams.

Step 4 – Get a grasp of the market
Your agent's understanding of the Guerneville housing market is a fundamental agent in your home search. And I assure you I'm mindful of all the neighborhoods and schools, and I can alert you to certain neighborhoods are "hot" and demand prompt action and some that are "cold" and allow for more consideration.

As we view houses, I'll make sure to communicate when the seller's asking price has room for negotiation and when I think the home is "priced to sell." When working with an agent, be careful and make sure you ask lots of questions, as every real estate agent in Guerneville will claim to truly know the housing market. If things don't add up, contact me at 707-303-6358 or e-mail me at , and I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. My market expertise will keep you a step above the rest throughout the entire deal.

Step 5 – Find your dream house
We'll find your dream house in Guerneville, and when we do, I'll meticulously create your real estate purchase offer. The offer will be made to fit your needs and the home. We'll include many contingencies, such as obtaining financing, finishing the home inspection, and a clear title.

When we send in your purchase offer, you'll likely need to present "earnest money." This is a cash deposit given to the seller to secure the offer to buy the property. The amount is typically applied to the closing costs. If your offer is accepted by the seller, we should close about 30 to 60 days afterward. This allows plenty of time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate
Most contracts don't close on the initial offer. It's widely common to receive a counter offer. But don't let it discourage you. We'll talk about whether or not to agree to the counter offer, submit our own counter offer, or decline the seller's offer and go on.

Market circumstances determine how aggressively we negotiate the deal. In addition, we'll work within your financing budget. And when it's all said and done, we'll create a deal that's best for you.

Step 7 – Secure your loan
After we sign the final deal, you'll start working with your mortgage lender to close the loan. It shouldn't take much time at all if you're already pre-qualified, but you should to keep in close contact with your lender. And I'll manage all the property information your mortgage lender will need to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
You'll get a Loan Estimate (LE) detailing closing costs from your lender within three days of accepting your application. This estimate rests on the loan amount, and RESPA requirements require that it has to involve all closing costs and be within a close range of accuracy. I'll examine the estimate and let you know if it all looks okay.

Then we'll close on your house. This will likely occur at a title company or escrow office and should be a smooth and calm affair.

Step 9 – Move in
Congratulations! It's time to move into your new home. Enjoy it. And if you need anything, be sure to contact me at 707-303-6358 or e-mail me at .

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