buy your first home: Protect Your Asset: Get a Life Insurance - 11/09/16 07:26 PM
Life insurance is valuable because it will help to replace your income and your earning power, should you become permanently disabled or pass away unexpectedly.  It will allow your family to continue paying the mortgage and stay on track toward good financial stewardship.  In the event that you are no longer alive, or if you are not able to work due to a massive injury, the life insurance policy will pay a cash settlement to your heirs.
The most important thing you need to know is that there are 2 basic types of life insurance:  whole and term.  A great insurance agent … (2 comments)

buy your first home: Home Buying Tips: Additional Inspections, Reports, and Requests - 11/06/16 09:49 PM
Be aware that a rural property will not have standard public utilities, but instead it may have a septic tank, a water well, solar panels, wind turbines, a satellite dish, and a propane tank for fuel.  Be prepared to ask for (and pay for) an inspection of each item.
If it’s a brand new house, or a newer building, ask the seller for blueprints, floor plans, building specifications, architectural, structural, and mechanical plans.  Older houses probably won’t have that available, but when there have been add-ons, you should ask for remodeling plans and copies of permits.
Get appliances warranties and manuals from the … (0 comments)

buy your first home: Order A Home Inspection And Other Reports - 10/28/16 12:50 PM
This is a very important part of the home buying process.  You will need to order a home inspection and other reports.  Based on the results of the home inspection, the report may recommend that you conduct other inspections, such as a roof inspection, the foundation inspection, a plumbing inspection, or electrical inspection.  Here in California, we also request a pest control report to determine if there is termite damage in the home. 
You can select any licensed vendor of your choosing.  However, it is a good idea to ask your REALTOR® for names of home inspectors who have conducted good inspections … (3 comments)

buy your first home: How soon do you want to close escrow? - 10/08/16 11:24 AM
Most buyers prefer to close within a month or so, and a typical escrow closing period is 30 days.  However, for buyers who are getting a government loan such as FHA, VA, or USDA, they can expect a slightly longer escrow, which may be 60 days or more.  If you are buying a short sale, the escrow period is usually 3 to 6 months.  If you have a complex loan, are buying an REO, or there are other delays, always plan an extra few weeks just in case.
Sometimes the sellers do not want to move out until the school year is over, so their … (6 comments)

buy your first home: Writing Your Offer: What Price Do You Think Is Fair? - 09/05/16 02:10 PM
Discuss with your REALTOR®, what price you think is fair.  You want to make sure that you are going to get a good deal on the price, so you do not want to offer more than you have to.  On the other hand, there may be competing offers from other buyers, so you want your price to be high enough to beat out the other buyers. 
You want facts AND an honest opinion.  This is where your REALTOR® can shine as your trusted advisor and consultant.  Ask him  for an opinion.  How much would your real estate advisor offer for this house, … (6 comments)

buy your first home: Which Title or Escrow Company Do You Prefer? - 09/01/16 01:27 PM
Do you have a specific title or escrow/settlement company that you prefer to use?  If so, be sure to let your REALTOR® know.  Most buyers will defer to their agent’s recommendation of an escrow company with whom she has developed a good working relationship.  In some states, the escrow/settlement company is known as a settlement company.  In other states, an attorney’s office handles all the closing funds and paperwork, instead of an escrow/settlement company.
Your REALTOR® may recommend that you use the seller’s choice of escrow/settlement and title company.  The seller may have already started a file at an escrow company; for … (4 comments)

buy your first home: Want a FREE home warranty? - 08/18/16 11:52 AM
As we discussed earlier, everything is negotiable!  One thing you always want is a home warranty.  Why not get one FREE from the seller?  After all, the sellers do not want you to have any problems with the house after you buy it.  It is to their advantage to pay for your new home warranty!  Ask the seller to pay for a 1 year home warranty policy.  Your agent can request this warranty in your offer.
After it expires, you can pay the annual fee to renew it each year.  You will find a home warranty very handy and, most importantly, it … (5 comments)

buy your first home: Buy Your First Home: Tips on Writing an Offer - 08/10/16 11:41 AM
Return to the REALTOR®”s office or stop at a coffee shop to write your offer.
The office may be a long distance away, so may stop at a coffee shop or diner instead.  Besides, all this house hunting has made everyone hungry so maybe you’ll get a bite to eat while writing up your offer.
Or you can go back to your top property if it’s vacant
Instead of stopping at the office, you can just go back to your top #1 property if it is vacant, and write the offer there.  It’s a great feeling to be sitting inside your new home while … (4 comments)

buy your first home: Are you already receiving house listings from a REALTOR®? - 08/03/16 01:07 PM
If so, then she has already been providing you with a great service at no charge!  If you are lucky enough to already have a REALTOR® who has kept you updated with the current listings, then you should strongly consider working with this real estate agent.  After all, she has taken the time to help you get started in the hopes that you would become his client.  Give this agent the first opportunity to be your real estate agent of choice by working exclusively with him.
Please give that REALTOR® the first opportunity to serve you.
Interview the REALTOR® and consider him as … (2 comments)

buy your first home: Taking Care of Your Home - 07/30/16 12:41 AM
Neighborhoods with high rates of ownership are more stable, have less crime and better schools.  Why?  Because home owners CARE.  They have a vested interest in their community.
Important things you can do to take care of your new home include:
Regular preventive maintenance to avoid things from breaking Repair things immediately when they break Get electrical and plumbing done by a professional Keep it clean and organized This home is your children’s future.
You want to keep your home in great condition.  It is where you live now and where your family can live for many future generations.  It is your family’s … (3 comments)

buy your first home: Risks that can Jeopardize your Home Purchase - 07/27/16 12:45 AM
Do NOT purchase an automobile or make any other major purchases on credit.
When you apply for credit before your loan is funded, you risk your loan being denied and therefore jeopardize your home purchase.  Remember, the lender is going to pull your credit again shortly before closing, and examine it to verify if it is still the same as when you initially applied for your loan.
I once had a friend who was so excited to buy her first home.  I was helping her with the purchase and giving her guidance on the home-buying process.  The day before escrow was scheduled to … (6 comments)

buy your first home: Rural Home on Acreage - 07/13/16 12:50 PM
Living out in the country may seem like the ideal dream home.  But rural property may not be a good choice for your first starter home.  Land requires a lot of time and effort to maintain, and property upkeep can turn into a full-time job.  Living “off the grid” is quite a challenging lifestyle because you are completely independent from standard utilities.
Unless you’re familiar with country living, you may not be adequately prepared.  Rural life may not meet your expectations; and once you buy a home, you can’t “undo” it easily.  Before you move to a new area, or make a … (6 comments)

buy your first home: Do Not Buy New Furniture! - 06/29/16 08:31 PM
One of the biggest mistakes that new homebuyers sometimes make is purchasing new furniture, electronics, or appliances.  A homebuyer may get so excited about her new home, that he will purchase furniture or appliances for the new home.  Perhaps the homebuyer wants new electronics, such as a television, computer, or stereo system in his new home.  That’s the biggest mistake a homebuyer could make!
It is easy to get excited, but buying items on credit can ruin your mortgage loan approval.
How would you like to have new furniture, brand new appliances, a new flat-screen television, and yet have no house to put them in?  … (8 comments)

buy your first home: Negotiating Process - 06/22/16 11:23 PM
Why does your REALTOR® advise you to offer a fair price?  Why does he request a quick turnaround time for the offer approval?
Until the seller accepts your offer, he or she can continue to review and accept other offers. The quicker you get your offer approved, the less chance that another buyer will get the property. During this negotiating process, until all parties finalize the contract, the seller can and will continue to accept other offers.
Now you are in the negotiating process.  While the buyer and seller are negotiating, the contract is still open.  In other words, the contract is … (7 comments)

buy your first home: Protect Your Largest Investment: Meet with a Financial Adviser - 06/19/16 11:34 AM
A great financial advisor can help you look at your overall budget and recommend strategies to help you increase your income, protect your assets, and plan for the future. Some financial planners also advise you regarding life insurance, estate planning, and investing in securities. Look for a professional whom you can trust. Check out our web site for tips on how to interview and find a great financial advisor.
The main tip I would give you for hiring a financial planner would be to select a professional with a CFP designation (certified financial planner), or possibly even a chartered financial counselor (ChFC) … (4 comments)

buy your first home: Tips on Ordering Home Inspections - 06/08/16 10:40 AM
A physical structural inspection is a critical part of your home purchase. Here is what you need to know about ordering a home inspection:
Your REALTOR® will help you order a home inspection and schedule it There may be other reports you need also The reports must be completed within the inspection timeframe required by your offer Review the results of these inspections with your REALTOR® If you want the seller to repair anything, you must ask for it in writing before your contingency period expires Read more in our book, "Buy Your First Home", http://tinyurl.com/nrvmgc7.
(5 comments)

buy your first home: The Final Sale Price May Be Negotiated Even Further - 06/02/16 03:43 PM
Depending upon the results of the home inspection and other reports, you may want to modify the price and terms.  Maybe you had a home inspection, and discovered some items that need to be fixed.
So your REALTOR® sends the seller a Repair Request asking for those items to be fixed.  This is another point of negotiation.  Just when you thought you were done, the seller comes back with a revision to the repair request.  It means you need to negotiate further.
Until all parties agree on all terms of the purchase, there still is room for negotiation.  So, be prepared to go back to … (1 comments)

buy your first home: Your STARTER home can trade up to your DREAM home later! - 04/22/16 11:09 PM
You can do many things to make your new house unique and suited to your family.  You can paint, put in new flooring, and landscape the yard.  You can upgrade the light fixtures, faucets, and counters.  You can decorate your new home with your own style and flair.  Instead of looking at what you cannot buy, think about what you can buy, and what you can do with it.
You may not qualify for the large luxury house, but whatever you do buy, will be all yours!  Once you are in the house for a few years, hopefully you will have earned … (1 comments)

buy your first home: Appreciate Your Service Providers - 04/20/16 11:40 AM
Many business professionals worked hand-in-hand with you as a partner.  Why did they do it?  Many vendors in the real estate industry really enjoy helping buyers like you.  They get great delight when they can help a family like yours move into their new home.
Thank the professionals who made your new home possible
Many service providers made the purchase of your new home possible.  Yes, they were paid, but in the real estate industry, often times they perform a lot of work without being paid.  It is nice that they closed escrow successfully and were paid.
However, for your REALTOR®, the icing on … (5 comments)

buy your first home: The Problem With Post-Offer Home Inspections - 04/12/16 07:29 PM
The challenge is that most sellers do not perform home inspections when they first list their house for sale.  Therefore, the inspection is not completed until AFTER you and the seller have agreed on the final price and terms.  After that, you receive the results of the home inspection, and notice things that you want fixed.  Then you will request that the seller fix certain items at his expense.
That’s why it is so important to perform the home inspection as soon as possible, before your contingency period has elapsed, and before you sign off on the final contract by satisfying (or … (3 comments)

 
Regina P. Brown, M.B.A., Broker, Instructor (MBA Broker Consultants)

Regina P. Brown

M.B.A., Broker, Instructor

Carlsbad, CA

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Top California Broker and Realtor Regina P. Brown writes articles and blogs about local real estate trends, houses for sale, and tips for home buyers.


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