GRAND RAPIDS HOME BUYER TIPS
Buying a home can be one of your most significant investments in life. Not only are you choosing your dwelling place, and the place in which you will bring up your family, you are most likely investing a large portion of your assets into this venture. The more prepared you are at the outset, the less overwhelming and chaotic the buying process will be. The goal of this page is to provide you with detailed information to assist you in making an intelligent and informed decision. Remember, if you have any questions about the process, I’m only a phone call or email away!
Tip #11: Selecting Service Providers
You and the Seller Must Agree
Buying a home does not occur in a vacuum, involving only you and the seller. There are all kinds of people and services involved behind the scenes to make it happen. Since some of these services affect both you and the seller, there will have to be an agreement on which companies you will use for them. When you make your offer, you should request your favorites for these services. If you are unfamiliar with these service providers, you can get recommendations from your agent.
Escrow and Settlement
For example, you are going to need an escrow or settlement company to act as an “independent third party” between you and the seller. Without having a third party involved, how do you know that when you fork over the money, you are going to get the deed? This is the type of service provided by escrow and settlement. They will hold your deposit and coordinate much of the activity that goes on during the escrow period.
Since this third party is very important to both you and the seller and both of you will pay fees to this company, it is important to agree on which service to use. Therefore, your choice should be part of the offer. Since you do not buy a home every other week or so, you are probably unfamiliar with companies that provide this service. Your agent will make a recommendation. You have the authority to accept this recommendation and include it in your offer, or make your own choice.
Keep in mind that the seller will also have a preference and this may be a point of negotiation in a counter-offer. It has become customary that one side will choose the escrow/settlement agent and one side chooses the title insurance company. Even so, everything in real estate is negotiable.
Title insurance is important because, by providing you with an Owners Policy, they insure that you have clear title to the property. If there are any problems later, you can always go back to the title insurance company and have them clear it up. Since it is customary for the seller to pay for the owner’s policy, they have an interest in which company is used.
However, you are going to pay a fee to the title insurance company, too. This is for the Lender’s Policy. The lender’s policy insures your mortgage lender that there are no liens or judgments against the property and that the mortgage will be in first position. In other words, should you sell the property or refinance it, their mortgage gets paid first, before any other claims against the property.
The lender’s policy is less expensive than the owner’s policy.
Termite and Pest Inspection
As part of your offer, you may require a termite and pest inspection. This company not only inspects for termite damage and pest infestations, but also inspects for dry rot and water damage, among other things. The company that performs the inspection is important to you as a buyer, because you want to be sure they do a good job. It is important to the seller because it is customary that they pay for the inspection and some types of repairs that may be required.
You should determine which company you want to perform this inspection and make it a part of your offer. Otherwise the seller will choose. If you do not know which company to hire, your agent will make a recommendation.
More Home Buyer Tips
Tip #1: Benefits of Owning Your Own Home
- The Best Investment
- Income Tax Savings
- Stable Monthly Housing Costs
- Forced Savings
- Freedom and Individuality
- More Space
Tip #2: Important Things To Avoid Before Buying a Home
- Don’t Move Money Around
- The Effect of Changing Jobs
- No Major Purchases of Any Kind
Tip #3: Don’t Buy a Car – or Did You Already Buy One?
- When Income Grows and You Want to Buy “Stuff”
- Debt-to-Income Ratios and Car Payments
- How Buying a Car Reduces Your Purchase Price
Tip #4: The Business Cycle and Buying a Home
- Recession and Expansion
- Supply and Demand
- Should You Try to “Time the Market”?
Tip #5: Comparable Sales and Your Offer Price
- Determining Your Offer Price
- Comparable Sales in the Public Record
- Comparable Sales in the Multiple Listing Service
- Comparable Sales – Pending Transactions
- Other Factors Influencing Your Offer Price
Tip #6: Major Factors Influencing your Offer Price
- How Property Condition Affects Your Offer
- How Home Improvements Affect Your Offer
- How Market Conditions Affect Your Offer
- How Seller Motivation Affects Your Offer
- The Final Decision on Your Offer Price
Tip #7: Offering to Purchase Real Estate- the Basics
- Introduction and Overview
- Contingencies in a Purchase Offer
- Earnest Money Deposit
- The Closing Date
- Transfer of Possession
Tip #8: Writing an Offer – Safeguards Regarding the Property
- Disclosures From the Seller
- Condition of the Property Upon Transfer
- Inspections You Should Require
- Final Walk-Through Inspection
Tip #9: How Financing Details Affect Your Offer
- Down Payment
- Interest Rates
- Closing Costs and Financing Incentives
- Seller Financing
- Cash Offers
- Other Financing Details in Your Offer
Tip #10: How FHA and VA Financing Affects Your Offer
- Extra Costs for the Seller
- VA and FHA Appraisals
Tip #11: Selecting Service Providers
- You and the Seller Must Agree
- Escrow and Settlement
- Title Insurance
- Termite and Pest Inspection