Monday, April 10, 2017

The Home Buying Process- Step by Step

If you are a first time home buyer, OR if it's been a long time since you've been through the process, this step by step guide is definitely something you need!  I include this list in my buyers packets as a guide and refer to it often.

  1. Hire a Realtor-You can sit up all night searching site after site on the internet, drive through the neighborhoods you would like to live in looking for signs, check the classifieds in your local paper.  OR- you can hire someone to do the searching for you.  Make sure it's someone you like and interview them for the job.  You want a good fit for you, they'll be in our lives for at least a month.  They'll also know the process, the forms, negotiating, and all about protecting your investment.
  2. Find a good lender.  Every Realtor has someone they work with regularly- and it's not just because they like them personally.  A good Realtor will use a lender that is consistent and closes on time.  Time is always of the essence, and a reliable lender is key in every real estate transaction.
  3. Find your home and make an offer.  Your realtor will do the research to make sure it's priced right, and together you can prepare an offer.  Depending on the market- they will give you their best advice on writing an offer that fits your needs and is desirable for the seller.  A few things you should consider in your offer:
    • Down Payment- Your down payment always depends on your lender and the loan program you decide to use.  It can be $0, or it can be up to 20% of the loan.
    • Earnest money- this is usually 1% of the amount of your offer. So if the home is $300,000.00, earnest money is $3,000.00.  This is essentially a deposit on your home.  It gives the sellers consideration and is deposited into an escrow account to be settled when you go to closing.  
    • Option- The option period is a given amount of time you can purchase to terminate the contract for any reason.  That means if you find something out about the property during inspections- you have the ability to negotiate or walk away.  Or if you decide that you just no longer want to buy, you have the unrestricted right to leave the contract for any reason.  The option period is usually $10.00 per day for up to 10 days.
    • Survey- if they have one great!  If they don't, this is another point in the contract to negotiate.
    • Home warranty- a 1 year home warranty averages between $475.00 and $550.00 and this may be negotiated into the contract.
    • Closing Costs- closing costs are paid for at closing and are separate from the down payment.  For some loans and different programs there are ways to roll them into the loan or they can be negotiated to be paid for by the sellers.
    • Closing date- normal close time is from 30-35 days, but this can be negotiated to fit your needs or the sellers needs.
  4. Offer acceptance- YES! You have an executed contract! Now it is time for you to get those earnest and option money checks to title.
  5. Inspections- now is the time to hire an inspector to look over your home.  The cost will always depend on the inspector you choose, and usually starts around $250.00 for a smaller home.  Some loans might also require a termite inspection, and if the home you are purchasing has a septic tank or well you will want to talk to your Realtor about getting those inspected as well.  These inspections are crucial.  You can use the inspection reports to negotiate repairs or price reductions and it will keep you from having to deal with unexpected (and expensive) surprises.
  6. Appraisal- now that negotiations are finalized and everything is set to go- it's time to order the appraisal.  This is another expense that takes place before closing, but also a very important step!  This cost is also completely dependent on the type of loan.  The average price is around $500.00 but can be more or less depending on the size of the property.
  7. CLOSING!!  This is it- you've made it.  you're Realtor has walked you through the process and even made sure title, survey, and every other integral part has made it to this point!  Your Realtor is going to want to take pictures, so dress up!  And bring some tissues!
So that's it.  Simple right? This is why you hire a Realtor.  They can walk you through the process and smooth out the bumps along the way!

Got a question?  I'm here to help!

RE/MAX Patriot
Realtor #0650939

Friday, March 31, 2017

7 Moons and Many Days Ago- Real Estate in the Busy Season

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Seven Months! I know I've been out for a bit, but I'm coming back!  Just getting everything settled in, and I know I have truly found a home with RE/MAX.  The team I work with has been inspiring, encouraging, and unbelievably amazing.  I can't stress enough the importance of having a good team, and a great brand, behind you.

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I can't wait to tell you all about the benefits of being a RE/MAX agent, or the benefits of working with one!  But for now that will have to wait!

I'm about to show some homes =)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Pictures in the Woods- Listing Lots to Sell!

This week has been a busy one!  I have a new client with 11 (yes 11!) lots to sell in Dancing Bear Ranch out by Medina Lake.   Beautiful homesites, and each one is 2 or more acres.  This works out well because I was just about ready to list another lot in the same subdivision.  So, I got to take a walk out in the woods and scored a few pictures, and a few bug bites!

I am definitely loving my new camera.  The day was a little overcast, and I even took some video.  Now my new dilemma is trying to find a way to merge and edit the photos and videos.  I'm learning.  One day at a time.

Dancing Bear Ranch is a beautiful gated community with 472 lots that vary in size from 1-5 acres.  The community also has 78 acres of unplatted land near the lakeside.  They also have a boat launch, docks, and a lakeside park!

I've been crazy busy lately, and I can't wait to get these listings up and out there!

Questions?  Want me to list your lot?  I'd love another walk in the woods taking photos.
I'll even call it "work" and drag this guy along with me.

-Jean K

RE/MAX Patriot
Realtor #0650939

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Tips-Hiring a Female Real Estate Agent- my rainy day post

So in my down time, or when it rains, or basically any time I'm not working or spending time with my kids, I'm researching.  Looking at market trends, homes that have sold recently in the neighborhoods I am working, reading blogs about success in Real Estate, tips on how to stage, sell, negotiate, you get my drift.  Learn and grow.

I was just reading an article from the New York Post with tips on how to sell real estate. It's an article geared towards sellers not agents, but I'm in the researching-reading mood.  I'm also one of those people who don't believe everything I read, so I'll research my research as well.  It can be a tedious, but often rewarding task.

One of the tips; Hire a female agent.

I've never been a girl who thinks that men and women should be equal in EVERYTHING.  Men are naturally physically stronger, and women live longer.  I'm good with that.  Now pay, job positions, cooking, cleaning; equal, equal, equal.

But as a Real Estate Agent?  What makes a woman more qualified than a man?

Most of my research returned the same results.  Women are more meticulous, they pay a higher attention to detail, better at multitasking, understanding budgets, better with design, better at communication, and so on.

But none of that is necessarily true for every woman, and there's absolutely no reason why any of that can't be true for a man.  Especially for someone who works hard to learn those traits.

After digging a little deeper I found this.  It is an article from the Huffington Post about how real estate prices are affected by gender, attractiveness and race.  It focuses on a controlled study that compared physical characteristics of real estate agents.

Their findings; attractive female agents sold houses for more money and profit. Not faster than other less attractive agents, but for more money.

There are more articles that support their claim here, here, and here.

Now with that said, the human brain is a tricky thing.  Did you know that people tend to say 'yes' more to attractive people?  That in art, if someone who loved you were to draw you their depiction would be more attractive than a drawing from a stranger?  That people (men and women) tend to trust men more than women, but that studies have found that men are more often less truthful and straightforward than women.

I'm not going to pretend to be a scientist or a psychologist, but I am a female Real Estate Agent.  I thought this was definitely an interesting read on a rainy day,

-Jean K

RE/MAX Patriot
Realtor #0650939

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mortgage Loans- and Questions From a 12 Year Old.

On my way to my daughter's Open House tonight, I received a call from my lender letting me know that my client had been prequalified for a loan.  Naturally, I celebrated.  Right there in the front seat of my car.  There was a little dancing (not very good dancing), a little bit of singing (not very well either), and a couple of fist pumps (I totally rocked those).  My daughter, who may or may not have been a little embarrassed, started asking questions.

She wanted to know why I was so excited.  Of course I explained that prospecting clients was a process.  A never ending process in this business.  That as a Realtor I work hard to get out in the world and find people who need my services.  That finding someone who needed me, and then finding out that they had their credit and finances in a position to purchase, was something definitely worth celebrating.

Then came the big questions.

"How do you get your credit and finances in order to buy a home?"

That's a tough question to answer to a 12 year old, but I think I handled it like a pro.  I told her you can't owe too much money compared to the money that you make.  You have to make sure you have paid all of your bills on time, have a steady job, and save up some money for a down payment.  Simple right?  Right.

The truth is that the whole process starts with those four things.

1.Credit score
2.Debt to income
4.Down payment

Now, with every person and every situation there are different options.  With the right loan professional, you can find the loan to fit your needs.  There are several different types of loans, and they all have different requirements.

For some your credit score can be as low as a 580, others will require a 680. Same with Debt to income.  This number varies from loan to loan as well.

There are maximum income levels on some loans, and loan levels will depend on your income (make sure you can prove what you make).  Some loans require minimum down payments of 3.5%, 5%, or as high as 20%, while others require none. That's right, ZERO. Some allow for gift funds, some require that money to be yours for a certain amount of time.

There are VA loans, USDA, FHA, renovation mortgages, jumbo loans, investor loans, construction loans, conventional loans, the list goes on.

But they all start the same way.  Good credit, don't owe too much money, have a steady job, and save for a down payment.  Or, save for your new refrigerator, that dining table that you loved, or for your favorite pair of shoes.  Just have some money on hand at closing because its a good thing to have.  Plus you'll need it for other things, like appraisals or inspections.

These are all things a good Realtor will go over with you, and things a loan officer will help you with. You only need to make the first call.  Or ask questions about an awkward celebration in a car.  I'll leave it up to you.

-Jean K

RE/MAX Patriot
Realtor #0650939

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Selling San Antonio- and me. A little bit about me.

Selling San Antonio- and me.  A little bit about me.

In San Antonio the homes are selling, and they are going quick.  More people are selling their homes faster and for more money.  So why are home buyers snatching them up so quickly?  Well, I mean besides landing a sweet home in a beautiful neighborhood.  And tacos.  Don't forget the tacos.

There is really one simple reason; Supply and Demand.  The housing market inventory has been at an all time low since 2015, creating a seller's market.  This simply means, there are less homes for sale, and more buyers.

Interest rates are dropping, the population is growing, and it seems San Antonio is the place to be right now.  You get to live in this big city, but you don't have that big city feel.  You have the friendly neighbors, people who wave when you drive by, and the clerk at the corner store is always going to call you 'sir' or 'ma'am'.  Trust me, as a girl who moved here 5 years ago from California, that's kind of a big deal.

I actually live in Alamo Ranch, just at the edge of the city.  I can see the hills, visit the lake, but my kids still get to attend some of the best schools NISD has to offer.  I love living in a city where I can take my children to see a movie, a play, or visit Sea World.  I could even get real adventurous and try them all in one day... Just kidding, I'm not that brave!

This city stole my heart the moment I moved here, and I am both blessed and proud to call it home.  Which I'm sure is another reason for the low housing inventory.  People who come here can't help but love it, and the people who live here can't find a good reason to leave.

I may have gone a little off topic here, but the point is simple.

We are in a sellers market.

There is no better time to sell than when you are in a sellers market.

I can help you do this.

-Jean K

RE/MAX Patriot
Realtor #0650939