Everything You Need To Know About Buying a Home
Before We Even Begin Looking
Thank you for taking the time to contact us and deciding to let us help with the purchase of your home. Our team has helped hundreds of people in your shoes, and we look forward to helping you through your home purchase to ensure it is as good of an experience as possible.
Before we get to the closing of your new home there are several things that will need to be done first. Over the next several sections will go through the basics so that you are prepared. If you want, you can actually go through the entire guide to see what you can expect next.
We hope that this guide can serve as a reference throughout the process. We explain and will go over so many items it's easy to forget or get confused especially since most people don't buy more than a few houses in their lifetime. Hopefully this guide will help supplement our conversations so that what is to come, is always clear.
Outline Of Steps Toward Having Your Offer On A Home Accepted
• In most cases the seller pays the buyer's agent's commissions
• Schedule an initial in person meeting to discuss your goals and see a few homes
• Sign an agency agreement Buyer-Broker Agreement with us
• We will supply you with a list of preferred lenders who can get you pre-approved
• You will determine what you are comfortable spending on your monthly payments, which would qualify the price range we will be searching for you
• We will set up email notifications to be sent to you for homes matching your search
• We continuously call neighborhoods looking for off market homes
• We will schedule private showing appointments as needed, fitting in your schedule
• We will suggest an offer price using recent sales, days on market and property condition
• You will determine your offer price and include contingencies
• You will sign your offer
• We will assist you in compiling the appropriate documents to include with your offer (i.e. Proof of funds, letter of the heart, preapproval letter from the lender)
• Once your offer is accepted, we will assist you in navigating the closing process
DISCLOSURES & INSPECTIONS
• We will provide copies of any available seller reports and disclosures for a given home
• We will help you determine inspection types and make you aware of deadlines
• Signing, keys & more!
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT PRICE RANGE SHOULD I BE SEARCHING IN?
In the Pittsburgh and surrounding areas, we recommend searching at or below your maximum budget. In order to be competitive in multiple offer situations, you need to be comfortably below your maximum budget in order to have the ability to bid over the list price if needed.
HOW QUICKLY SHOULD I SEE A HOME I AM INTERESTED IN?
We recommend reaching out to us immediately to learn a specific home showing's instructions. Together we can decide on the most convenient time for all parties.
CAN I SEND YOU HOMES I FIND ONLINE?
Yes. Finding a home is a collaborative process. As one of our services to you, we set up alerts directly from the MLS. You can respond to those or send us links from your favorite home search sites.
WHO PAYS YOUR COMMISSION?
The sellers typically pay an agent's commission.
HOW LONG IS A TYPICAL CLOSING?
A closing timeframe is typically 30 to 45 days from the date that the offer is accepted, depending upon if you were obtaining financing or paying cash. Around 30 days is the most common in our market.
WHAT ARE MY CLOSING COSTS GOING TO BE?
Closing costs vary according to your loan and particular home. For the most accurate estimate contact your lender. As a general rule of thumb 4% to 6% of the purchase price if your financing and less if you're paying cash.
DO YOU HAVE A LIST OF RECOMENDED INSPECTORS AND VENDORS?
Yes! We have a list that pass clients have used and were happy with.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I BUDGET FOR INSPECTION?
We recommend budgeting $500 for your inspection. Also you will want to budget about $500 for an appraisal. As a buyer these, along with your hand money, are going to be your typical out-of-pocket expenses prior to closing.
HOW WILL YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE NEWEST HOMES AVAILABLE?
The Multiple Listing Service website provides up-to-date information for every home on the market. We constantly check the "New On Market" list so that we can be on the lookout for our clients. We will get you this information right away, in the way that it is most convenient for you: by phone, email or text.
WILL YOU INFORM ME OF HOMES FROM ALL REAL ESTATE COMPANIES?
We will keep you informed of all homes. We want to help you find your dream home, which means we need to stay on top of every home that's available on the market.
CAN YOU HELP ME FIND NEW CONSTRUCTION HOMES?
Yes, we can work with most builders and get you the information you need to make a decision. On your visits with the builder, we will accompany you. By using our services with a new construction home purchase, you'll receive the services we offer, as well as those provided by the builder, at no additional cost. It is important that we accompany you on your initial visit to the developers office in order for us to assist you.
HOW DOES FOR SALE BY OWNER (FSBO) WORK?
Homeowners trying to sell their home without agent representation are usually doing so in the hopes of saving the list agent commission, but most understand they will pay for buyer agent commission. If you see a FSBO and want the advantages of our services, let us contact the owner for you and make an appointment. Most of the time the homeowner will work with an agent even though their home is not listed, since the agent is introducing a potential buyer to their property. This is no cost to you and insurance that you are fairly represented and receive all of the disclosures and documentation throughout the sale.
ONCE MY OFFER IS ACCEPTED, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Getting the lender the needed documentation and signing authorization should be at the top of your priority list. The quicker you are, the smoother the process will be for all parties. Your lender will get you a loan estimate and go over it with you in detail so there are no surprises at closing. Celebrate and focus on moving into your new home! Plan for inspections, complete all documents in a timely manner and ask any questions that you have. You will want to schedule your move, pack items, and notify businesses of your address change. We will provide you with the move-in checklist to help you remember all the details.
The experience of buying a home is exciting and exhausting. The first step is to choose and stay with the right agent. Buying a home is more than a business transaction, it's personal. We are committed to our one-on-one relationship, reducing time and energy, and bringing back the fun in buying a home.
We do more than help people buy homes. We solve problems. We create solutions. We connect the dots. We are the space between where you are and where you were going. Many agents think the most important job is satisfying the customer. We believe that's satisfying the customer is simply the MINIMUM requirement for staying in business. We work constantly to improve our systems, processes, and services to go well beyond the standard level of service provided by most agents.
We want to make sure you are so satisfied with your real estate experience that you gladly refer us to friends and family. We are truly looking forward to working with you!
SERVICES WE PROVIDE
•Help you find the perfect home for you, at the right price
•Keep you updated on the most current listings via email
•Find off market properties (once a neighborhood has been chosen, we will canvas that neighborhood to find you your next home)
•Preview listings on your behalf
•Provide resources to you-preferred lenders, inspectors, home repair referrals, school information, neighborhood infromation
•Provide weekly communication
•Navigate the offer process
•Assist with needed inspections
•Communicate aspects of transactions between parties during the transaction
•Be available anytime to answer questions before, during and beyond transaction
•Cancellable agreement any time by email
Just like any other service we believe that the combined resources of a well trained team can always out perform someone struggling to do everything on their own. Client satisfaction is always our top priority and we believe in "people over transactions". We believe that it is because of this Adam and our team are currently ranked in the top 3 agents by production and volume halfway through 2020.
Our team lead Adam Slivka is a licensed associate broker and has trained under many top real estate coaches throughout the country. With a background in education he has always believed that an educated client is a smarter client, and in turn a smarter client/buyer is a buyer with more money in their pocket at the end of the day.
Dave Nedley has the longest track record on our team and has serviced hundreds of clients for nearly 20 years. Dave's Integrity and service has helped him throughout a successful career running his own team, until he and Adam merged teams in 2018 to better serve their clients.
Greg Reilley has been an amazing agent on Adam's team and now the Adam Slivka & Dave Nedley team. Greg goes above and beyond for his clients and has vast transaction experience.
Shelly Myers has been helping clients buy and sell for years. Shelly worked extensively with Dave helping to better serve his clients along with her own. Shelly brings knowledge and hardwork to every transaction.
Ashley Checque is a full-time licensed agent who primarily serves as Adam's assistant and transaction manager for the team. She allows everyone else to focus more on the client while ensuring paperwork is appropriately taken care of behind the scenes. She shares the common passion of service that we all do and takes pleasure in making things easier for our clients.
Jonna Nedley is the newest member to our team. She has previous experience as an agent prior to finishing college and pursuing a corporate career. Jonna has a strong ambition and brings first hand knowledge of real estate investment to the table.
Consider Costs Not Just Price
As a seller, you will be most concerned with "short term price" -where home values are headed over the next six months. As a buyer, however, you must not be concerned with price, but instead the 'long-term cost' of your home.
The Mortgage Brokers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and Freddie Mac all project that mortgage interest rates will increase by nearly a full percentage point by this time next year. According to CoreLogic's most recemt Home Price Index Report, home prices will appreciate by 5.3% over the next 12 months.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN AS A BUYER? Here is a simple demonstration of what an interest reate increase would have on the morgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today if home prices appreciate by the 5.3% credited by CoreLogic over the next 12 months.
The Search Is On
DETERMINING YOUR WANTS VS. NEEDS
There are many ways to find out what you want vs. what you need in your next home. What we found is that by sitting down with everyone involved in filling out a "wish list" helps analyze everyone's expectations.
THE SEARCH BEGINS
Our team will preview homes on your behalf that meet your style, location, price and size. Sometimes we will discover new listings together. If you are like most buyers, you will be searching online and visiting open houses whenever you can. Just make sure you send those homes over so we can find out the behind-the-scenes information on them for you.
Many buyers look at online sites to get pricing for homes. Well we love and you sites like Zillow and Homes.com, their analytics cannot take every factor into to consideration when pricing a home. They can't adjust for noisy, or messy neighbors, or the care of the home. Also, if the neighborhood's market took a downturn or had an upswing three months ago, the six month old sales won't be nearly as productive of the value of the houses. It's important for you to be aware of this difference. Also, the Zestimate means nothing. Fun fact: the CEO of Zillow sold his home for $400,000 less than his home's zestimate.
OUR HOME SEARCH SITE www.WesternPAHomes.com
Making An Offer On A Home
Once we have found the home you wish to purchase, you need to determine what offer you're willing to make for the home. It is important to remember that the more competition there is for the home, the higher the offer should be - sometimes even exceeding the asking for asking price. Remember, be realistic. Our team will help you make offers that will get accepted.
EARNEST MONEY DEPOSIT
When writing your offer you will offer an earnest money deposit. Generally this is 1-3% of the purchase price of the home. The amount you offer is based on several factors that our team will guide you through. This money is held in escrow during the transaction. As a sign of good faith that you'll be moving forward in the purchase of the home. This money is due within 3 days after acceptance.
THE CONTRACT - REJECTED, ACCEPTED, OR COUNTERED
After we present your offer to the seller, the offer will either be accepted, rejected, or the seller will make a counter-offer. This is when we will negotiate the terms of the contract if necessary to create a win-win for both buyer and seller. The step-by-step contract procedure for most single-family home purchases is standard. The purchase agreement used is a standard document approved by our local real estate board. The purchase agreement or contract constitutes your offer to buy and, once accepted by the seller, becomes a valid, legal contract. For this reason, it is important to understand what is written on the contract offer. We have included a copy for your refernce.
Market value is determined by what a buyer is willing to pay. Market value is not a fixed, rigid price, but instead a range of value. This is because no two buyers are like. While one must have a huge kitchen, another may not even cook. You, the buyer, are the market. All buyers are looking to get a home at a good "value" today. There is value and there is "crazy talk". If a home is offered for X and you were willing to pay 10% less than X, do not offer an unreasonable offer that will not be taking seriously. You can still purchase a home at a good value, but the insanely great "deals" are still needles in a haystack, because the market value will always be determined by what a buyer is willing to pay. Our team will work with you to make sure your offer is strong and we have discussed every option to get a great house at a great price!
Offer Accepted, Now What?
INSPECTION PERIODS- Once our offer is excepted, our timeline for inspections begin. Per the contract we have 15 days for a physical inspection this is a general inspection of the home your inspector will go over the entire home and point out things we need to be aware that are not up to current health and safety codes. Remember, we agree to purchase homes "as-is". The inspection is to notify you of issues you need to be aware of. You'll have an opportunity to request the seller repair some items in a seperate negotiation.
HOME INSPECTION- We highly recommend that you have a professional home inspector conduct a thorough inspection.
THE INSPECTION WILL INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
•Appliances •Plumbing •Electrical •A/C & Heating •Ventilation •Roof & Attic •Foundation •General Struction
The inspection is not designed to criticize every minor problem or defect in the home. It is intended to report on major damage or serious problems that require repair. Should serious problems be indicated, the inspector will recommend that a structural engineer or other professional inspect it as well. Your home cannot "pass or fail" inspection, and your inspector will not tell you whether he/she thinks the home is worth the money you're offering. The inspectors job is to make you aware of repairs that are recommended or necessary. The seller may be willing to negotiate completion of repairs or credit for completion of repairs, or you may decide that the home will take too much work and money. A professional inspection will help you make a clear-headed decision. In addition to the overall inspection, you may wish to have separate tests conducted for termites. In choosing a home inspector, consider one that has been certified as a qualified and experienced member by a trade association. We recommend being present at the inspection. This is to your advantage. You will be able to clearly understand the inspection report, and know exactly which areas need attention. Plus, you can get answers to many questions, tips for maintenance, and a lot of general information that will help you once you movie in. Most important, you will see the home through the eyes of an objective third-party.
FINANCING YOUR DREAMS
GETTING PRE-APPROVED...HOW CAN PRE-APPROVAL HELP YOU?
Generally, interest rates are locked in for a set period of time.
You will know in advance exactly what your payments will be on offers you choose to make.
You won't waste time considering homes you cannot afford.
A seller may choose to make concessions if they know that your financing is secured.
You can select the best loan package without being under pressure.
QUALIFYING FOR THE MORTGAGE
Most lenders require that your monthly payment range between 25-28% of your gross monthy income.
Your mortgage payment to the lender includes the following items:
• The principal on the loan (P)
• The interest on the loan (I)
• Property taxes (T)
• The homeowner's insurance (I)
Your total monthly PITI and all debts (from installments to revolving charge accounts) should range between 33-38% of your gross monthly income. There key factors determine your ability to secure a home loan: Credt Report, Assets, Income and Property Value.
Around the same time as the home inspection, the lender will require an appraisal to be completed at the buyers expense. Depending on loan type, the appraiser will look that the home not only made certain value requirements, but also condition, health, and safety standards set by the lender. An appraisal is not a home inspection, although home condition issues may result from it. In the case that there are issues either with price or value, negotiations are once again reopened.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
PURCHASE AMOUNT- This is the amount you have agreed, with this seller, to pay for the home. It is inclusive of the earnest money and down payment you have offered. It is not inclusive of your closing costs.
HAND MONEY/EARNEST MONEY- When you make an offer in writing you also pay a deposit call earnest money deposit, usually 1-3% of the purchase price. Paid by the buyer, earnest money is a portion of the purchase amount that is held by the escrow company as a good faith from the buyer to the seller. When the transaction closes, the earnest money is transferred to the seller as a portion of the original purchase amount. It is not an additional fee.
APPRAISAL FEES- These are typically around $500 and paid up front to the lender.
DOWN PAYMENT- the down payment is a portion of the purchase price that the buyer is paying in cash. Most loans today require a down payment of between 3.5% up to 20% or higher, depending on the type and terms of the loan. If you're able to come up with a 20 -25% down payment, you may be eligible to take advantage of lower interest rates and possibly illiminate mortgage insurance.
CLOSING COSTS- Closing costs are not part of the purchase amount, but rather charges associated with the buyer's loan, the transaction itself and any pre-payment required by the lender such as taxes, insurance and HOA dues. Closing costs or an assortment of fees based on the transaction between the seller and the buyer of the home. These fees are collected by the escrow company at the end of a transaction.
WHO PAYS CLOSING COSTS- Some closing costs, such as the fee the escrow company charges, are split between the buyer and the seller. Many of the closing costs are related to the mortgage and are therefor the buyer's responsibility. One of the largest cost associated with the closing cost is the loan origination fee. This is the fee your lender is charging you to provide the loan. The fee varies from lender to lender and should be considered when shopping for a good loan. You can expect to pay 1-3% of the purchase price and closing costs.
Getting Ready to Close on Your Home
The Final Walkthrough... Traditionally done the day of closing (though perhaps done days ahread of time too) the final walkthrough is an assurance that things were left in the condition agreed upon by the seller.
The Closing Table... On the day of closing you will be required to sign more than several documents as the buyer. One will be the mortgage note, which is your promise to repay the lender. When attending closing you were typically need to bring a valid photo ID, such as a passport or drivers license. More importantly you'll bring a certified check for the down payment and closing costs. Lastly, but most importantly after closing you will take ownership of the home and may take immediate occupancy.