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Courses in this Department

Step 1 - Planning

Step 2 - Financing

Step 3 - Selecting

Step 4 - Buying

Step 5 - Owning


The Buddy System�

Want to commune with some of your fellow soon-to-be homeowners about their experiences making purchase offers? It helps to swap real-life dramas with those who�ve been there and done it.


Questions to Ask Yourself

During the settlement process you�re going to spend a lot of money on points and down payments and the mortgage � plus fees for inspections. Review your budget and be prepared to make some tough financial decisions.

  • Do you hire an attorney and a home inspector, or can you just afford one or the other? Which one is more important to you? The best answer to that question is to look down the road and determine which is going to help the most in the long run.
  • Are you better off knowing the house you are getting is sound or are you better off getting a good deal that could save you money in the long run? The ideal situation is to be able to hire everyone you need to help ensure a successful deal. Unfortunately, a lot of first time buyers just don�t have the cash for that. Look around and compare prices. Then make up your mind if you need professional help on your side or if you are willing to trust the seller�s broker and attorney to help you too.

Think & Do Reminder

What�ll it Cost to Close?

Now that you�ve made an offer be certain to prepare realistically for the pile-up of small costs associated with closing. They can add up to a significant amount. Take the time now to investigate and estimate the total amount, over and above the loan you�ll need to set aside for settlement.

FEES-Fees-Fees-Fees-Fees!!! Estimated Cost

  • Termite and home inspection $_________
  • Title search $_________
  • Attorney�s fees �which are optional $_________
  • An owner�s title insurance policy $_________
  • Transfer taxes $_________
  • Recording fees $_________

TOTAL $__________

Wading Into the Contract

All the Gory Details

OK. So far so good! You�ve made the offer. Let�s say it�s been accepted without further ado. What happens NOW?! Now you get to create a binding purchase contract, which is four times as long as the Offer to Purchase and covers each and every contractual issue in great, grim & gory detail. Brace yourself to pore over every paragraph, clause and line item in the Contract to Purchase to be 100% certain that you understand and agree with everything the document stipulates. Otherwise, it can come back to haunt you.

Thrills & Spills

There�s a lot of detail involved in a real estate transaction. You need to be as pleased with the terms of your contract as you are with the price of the home. Don�t let legal jargon and lengthy text prevent you from reading each and every paragraph and clause. It may not be as exciting as the latest bestseller, but it will reliably have more action and impact on your immediate life.

It�s 100% Negotiable

Everything in a real estate deal is negotiable. That is the beauty of it. You can look at a property and offer less than the list price and often get the house�just try that at your local supermarket! You can even ask to take all the curtains and furniture if you want. You may not get it, but then again, you might.

The longer the home has been on the market, the more you are likely to be able to bargain with the seller. Talk to your buyer broker or attorney to work the best deal for you.

"Oh, by-the-way, we want the cat, too."

One actual real estate deal even included a cat that lived in the house. The buyer agreed to take the house on the contingency that the cat stayed. The seller said, "okay" and the deal closed. Buying a house may not be the best way to acquire a pet, but it makes the vivid point that you can negotiate for a lot more than you may have realized. The key is to start your negotiations with the contract, not after. If you don�t include it in the contract before both parties sign, forget it. You can ask later, but you aren�t likely to get anything extra you may want.

What Does a Contract Include?


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