Home Buyer Real Estate Guide

Home Buyer Real Estate Guide , Conway, AR and surrounding areas

HOMEBUYER INFORMATION

Tracy Tidwell
ERA Henley Real Estate
1600 Dave Ward Drive Ste A-7 Conway, AR 72034
501-472-4709 tracy@conwaycorp.net

Education, Training and Qualifications:

  • Executive Broker
  • Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR)
  • ERA Relocation Specialist (ERS)
  • Accredited Staging Professional-ASP
  • Certified Member IAHSP® REALTOR® GREEN

I’ve been in the real estate business since August, 2000 as a Buyer’s Agent, Seller’s Agent and Relocation Specialist. I have closed over $100 Million in volume Sales and closed over 700 transactions.

George Heintzen
ERA Henley Real Estate
1600 Dave Ward Drive Ste A-7 Conway, AR 72034
501-908-3658 gheintzen@conwaycorp.net

Education, Training and Qualifications:

  • Executive Broker
  • Relocation Director
  • Graduate, Realtor Institute (GRI)
  • ERA Relocation Specialist (ERS)
  • REALTOR® GREEN

I have been in the real estate business since 1994. I have an extensive background with corporate relocation as well as new construction.

Mark Tidwell
ERA Henley Real Estate
1600 Dave Ward Drive A-7 Conway, AR 72034
501-940-3349 mark.tidwell@conwaycorp.net

Education, Training and Qualifications:

  • Seller Security Program Qualified
  • REALTOR®
  • Green

I have been in the real estate business for three years. I also own a Wildlife Management Consulting Company. I worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service for 32 years. The last fifteen years of my career I restored over 90,000 acres of wetlands in eastern Arkansas. If you are looking for land to hunt or farm I am the person you need to call.

Our Mission

Our top priority is to listen to you, evaluate your needs and establish a relationship with you based on trust, honesty and integrity. Once we have established mutual goals, we will assist buyers utilizing sound planning techniques developed from years of training and professional experience, professional ethics, persuasive skills and a strong company support system. During the entire process we will assist you in negotiations and keep you informed and protected. We strive to deliver more value to you than you expect to receive and to provide uncompromising service based on truth, fairness, knowledge, professionalism and enthusiasm.

Our Personal Commitment to You

Integrity: Whether you are a home seller, home buyer or another sales associate, every decision reflects the strict code of ethics we adhere to and have committed to as a REALTOR®.

Honesty: We are legally bound by our fiduciary responsibility with both our sellers and buyers to provide “honesty, integrity and the utmost of care.”

Communication: We will exceed your expectations and make sure all of your questions are answered within a 24-hour period. We will strive to return your phone calls and emails within a 4-hour period and will provide you with communication and updates per your direction and discretion.

Partnership Together: we will attack challenges with creative solutions that protect your interests and support your highest priorities.

Knowledge: The real estate industry is constantly evolving. Being informed and up-to-date on contracts and disclosures are key factors in ensuring a closing on time. However, what is perhaps most important to you is our knowledge and guidance which protects you from potential default and future litigation.

Professionalism: We pride ourselves as professional REALTORS® with a responsive, communicative, proactive work ethic and practice. Because of this high standard, buyers, sellers and industry professionals have all come to respect and look forward to working with us.

YOUR NEW HOME WORKSHEET

My new home should have these features:

Style: _______________________________(2-Story,Ranch, Townhome, Condo)

Number of Bedrooms___________________________

Number of Bathrooms__________________________

Family Room__________________________________

Dining Room__________________________________

Kitchen Amenities______________________________

Bonus Room__________________________________

Fireplace_____________________________________

Basement____________________________________

Garage (no of cars)_____________________________

Lot Size______________________________________

View________________________________________

Other_______________________________________

Location:

Convenient to work ____________________________________________

Convenient to schools:

Elementary________________________________

Middle School______________________________

High School________________________________

Convenient to shopping:

Neighborhood: ____________________________________________

Other: ____________________________________________

What is Important to You?

Please share your thoughts with me:

Your 3 major Buyer needs

  • 1._______________________________________________
  • 2._______________________________________________
  • 3._______________________________________________

Your 3 major concerns about buying a home

  • 1._______________________________________________
  • 2._______________________________________________
  • 3._______________________________________________

Your 3 major criteria in selecting an agent to work with

  • 1._______________________________________________
  • 2._______________________________________________
  • 3._______________________________________________

5 Reasons for Buyer Representation

What is this form? Why should you sign it? A Buyer Agency Agreement is a legal document that formalizes your working relationship with a particular buyer’s representative, detailing what services you are entitled to and what your buyer’s rep expects from you in return. While the language used in the document is formal, homebuyers should view it as an important and helpful tool for clarifying expectations, developing mutual loyalty, and most importantly, elevation of the services you will receive.

  1. Receive a higher level of service. If you’ve formalized an agency relationship with a buyer’s rep, you can expect to be treated like a client instead of a customer. What’s the difference? Clients are entitled to superior services, relative to customers. While the details vary from state to state, and from one buyer’s agent to another, you can generally assume that being client means that you’ve formed a fiduciary, or agency relationship with your buyer’s rep.
  2. Get more without paying more. In almost every case, home sellers have already agreed to pay a buyer’s agent’s commission. While buyers rarely pay real estate commissions, this is an important detail you’ll want to discuss with your buyer’s rep and clarify in their representation agreement. Most for sale by owners are willing to pay your agent’s commission.
  3. Avoid misunderstandings. A Buyers Agent clarifies expectations, helping you understand what you should and shouldn’t expect from your buyer’s rep, and what they will expect from you, which usually centers on loyalty.
  4. Agency relationships are based on mutual consent. While most representation agreements specify a time period, they can be terminated early if both parties consent. Most buyer’s reps are willing to end the agreement early if the working relationship isn’t going well. Some buyer’s reps also offer representation agreements for a little as one day, for the purpose of giving both parties a brief period to explore working together.
  5. Strength as a team. When you and your buyer’s rep work together within a formalized agency relationship, you have created a team dedicated to helping you achieve the best possible home buying experience. 

Take the Stress Out of Home Buying Buying a Home…should be fun, not stressful. As you look for your dream home, keep in mind these tips for making the process as peaceful as possible.

  • Find a real estate agent who you connect with. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It is critical that the REALTOR you choose is both highly skilled and a good fit for your personality.
  • Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, just as there’s no perfect time to sell. If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer-you risk losing out on the home of your dream. The housing market usually doesn’t change fast enough to make that much difference in price and a good home won’t stay on the market long.
  • Don’t ask for too many opinions. It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big, decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of your immediate family-the people who will be living in the home.
  • Accept that no house is ever perfect. If it’s the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go.
  • Don’t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process. Keep in mind that the most effective negotiation creates a “win/win” result. Playing “hardball” or trying to “win” the negotiation at the others expense may cost you the home you love. Negotiation is give and take.
  • Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Don’t get caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself-room, size, kitchen, etc.-that you forget about important issues as noise level, location to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.
  • Plan ahead. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.
  • Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.
  • Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially if it’s the first time, is a big financial commitment. It also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased.
  • Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of

5.4% annually, over from 1998 to 2002, followed by significant rises then a substantial drop. Despite the volatility of today’s market, remember that a home’s most important role is to serve as a comfortable place to live.

Get Your Finances in Order

To Do List:

  • Develop a household budget. Instead of creating a budget of what you’d like to spend, use receipts to create a budget that reflects your actual spending habits over the last several months. This approach will factor in unexpected expenses, such as car repairs, as well as predictable costs such as rent, utility bills and groceries.
  • Reduce your debt. Lenders generally look for a total debt load of no more than 36 percent of income. This figure includes your mortgage, which typically ranges between 25 and 28 percent of your net household income. So you need to get monthly payment on the rest of your installment debt-car loans, student loans, and revolving balances on credit cards-down to between 8 and 10 percent of your net income.
  • Look for way to save. You probably know how much you spend on rent and utilities, but little expenses add up, too. Try writing down everything you spend for one month. You’ll probably spot some great ways to save, whether it’s cutting out that morning trip to Starbucks or eating dinner at home more often.
  • Increase your income. Now’s the time to ask for a raise! If that’s not an option, you may want to consider taking on a second job to get your income at a level high enough to qualify for the home you want.
  • Save for a down payment. Designate a certain amount of money each month to put away in your savings account. Although it’s possible to get a mortgage with only 5 percent down, or even less, you can usually get a better rate if you put down a larger percentage of the total purchase. Aim for a 20 percent down payment.
  • Keep your job. While you don’t need to be in the same job forever to qualify for a home loan, having a job for less than two years may mean you have to pay a higher percentage rate.
  • Establish a good credit history. Get a credit card and make payments by the due date. Do the same for all your other bills, too. Pay off the entire balance promptly but do not close the card.

Common Buyer Mistakes

  • They don’t ask enough questions of their lender and end up missing out on the best deal.
  • They don’t act quickly enough to make a decision and someone else buys the house.
  • They don’t find the right agent who is willing to help them through the home buying process.
  • They don’t do enough to make the offer look appealing to a seller.
  • They don’t think resale before they buy. The average first time buyer stays in a home for four years.

Making An Offer

As your Buyer’s Agent we will:

  • Prepare an offer that will meet your needs and provide a solid basis for negotiating with the seller.
  • Provide you with a Competitive Market Analysis that will determine a realistic offer.
  • Present your written offer to the seller’s agent and negotiate on your behalf.
  • The sellers will have the choice of:
    • a. Accepting your offer as presented
    • b. Rejecting it completely
    • c. Countering it
  • Communicate to you the seller’s response and, if necessary, suggest further negotiating options.

An accepted offer leads to a legally binding purchase contract.

Keep in mind many factors affect the price that sellers ask for their houses:

Physical characteristics of the house:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Size of house and lot
  • Physical condition
  • Floor plan and style

Competition:

  • Number of properties available
  • Prices and terms
  • Location and physical condition
  • How long they’ve been on the market

Market Conditions:

  • Interest rates
  • Availability of financing
  • Prices of recent sales
  • State of the economy
  • Seasonal demand

Asking price also may be affected by:

  • Seller’s motivation to sell
  • Seller’s original purchase price
  • Updates since purchase price
  • Seller’s need for cash
  • Opinions of others
  • No market expertise

Common Closing Costs

As buyers, you’ll likely be responsible for a variety of fees and expenses that you and the Seller will have to pay at the time of closing. Your lender must provide a good-faith estimate of all settlement costs.

The title company or other entity conducting the closing will tell you the required amount for:

  • Down Payment
  • Loan Origination-typically 1% of the purchase price
  • Points, or loan discount fees, which you pay to receive a lower interest rate
  • Home inspection
  • Appraisal
  • Credit report
  • Private mortgage insurance premium
  • Insurance escrow for homeowner’s insurance, if being paid as part of the mortgage
  • Property tax escrow, if being paid as part of the mortgage. Lenders keep funds for taxes and insurance in escrow accounts as they are paid with the mortgage, then pay the insurance or taxes for you
  • Deed recording
  • Title insurance policy premiums
  • Land survey
  • Notary fees
  • Proration for your share of costs, such as utility bills and property taxes

Caution: Closing Costs can vary greatly according to your contract, the title company and your lender. The above list is only an example of general items that may appear.

Lender Checklist

What You Need for a Mortgage

  1. W-2 forms- or business tax return forms if you are self-employed-for the last two or three years for every person signing the loan.
  2. Copies of at least one pay stub for each person signing the loan.
  3. Account numbers of all you credit cards and the amounts for any outstanding balances.
  4. Copies of two to four months of bank credit union statements for both checking and savings accounts.
  5. Lender, loan number, and amount owed on other installment loans, such as student loans and car loans.
  6. Addresses of where you’ve lived the last five to seven years, with names of landlords if appropriate.
  7. Copies of brokerage account statements for two to four months, as well as a list of any other major assets of value, such as boat, RV, or stocks or bonds not held in a brokerage account.
  8. Copies of your most recent 401K or other retirement account statement.
  9. Documentation to verify additional income, such as child support or a pension.
  10. Copies of person tax forms for the last two to three years.

Lenders requests vary, so be prepared to bring just about anything and be prepared for the requests for document to be ongoing.

Questions to Ask Your Lender:

Be sure you find a loan that fits your needs with these comprehensive questions:

  1. What are the most popular mortgage loans you make? Why?
  2. Which type of mortgage plan do you think would be best for us? Why?
  3. Are your rates, terms, fees, and closing costs negotiable?
  4. Will I have to buy private mortgage insurance? If so how much will it cost and how long will it be required? NOTE: Private mortgage insurance is usually required if you make less than a 20 percent down payment, but most lenders will let you discontinue the policy when you’ve acquired a certain amount of equity by paying down the loan.
  5. Who will service the loan? Your bank or another company?
  6. What escrow requirements do you have?
  7. How long is your loan lock-in period (the time that the quoted interest rate will be honored)? Will I be able to obtain a lower rate if they drop during this period?
  8. How long will the loan approval process take?
  9. How long will it take to close the loan?
  10. Are there any changes or penalties for prepaying the loan?

12 Questions to Ask an Inspector:

  1. What are your qualifications?
  2. Are you a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors or National Association of Home Inspectors?
  3. Do you have a current license? (Inspectors are not required to be licensed in every state.)
  4. How many inspections of properties such as this do you do each year?
  5. Do you have a list of past clients I can contact?
  6. Do you carry professional errors and omissions insurance? May I have a copy of the policy?
  7. Do you provide any guarantees of your work?
  8. What specifically will the inspection cover?
  9. What type of report will I receive after the inspection?
  10. How long will the inspection take?
  11. How long will it take to receive a report?
  12. How much will the inspection cost?

Our Focus

SERVICE: Getting the job done when it needs to be done with care and precision

AND

COMMUNICATION: Keeping you informed throughout your transaction. 

Questions? Just Ask!