The A-Z Guide On Buying Your Home In Bucks County
Buying your Home in Bucks County is often a stressful experience as it is usually the largest investment any of us make. In fact, buying a home is ranked right up there with death of a loved one, getting married, or divorced and having a baby. However, with the right guide, who is a strong negotiator, and who knows the local area & market it doesn't have to be. Make sure you find the right Realtor to work with who can make your home purchase as stress free and enjoyable as possible. At the end of the day, you are purchasing your new home in Bucks County where you will spend many nights with family and friends creating great memories. Let your Realtor help remove the stress so you can focus on this great new beginning.
What To Expect While Searching For Your New Bucks County Home
1. The home search should always start with getting a pre-approval. This is important because often times buyers begin their search online after using a mortgage calculator, but these calculators are created by mortgage companies and don't factor in all of your expenses such as taxes, insurance, homeowner association fees etc. There are also costs you will incur at different times throughout the transaction that you need to be aware of. By speaking with a mortgage professional you will get a pre-approval which can save you a ton of heartache in the future. Often times, when I first meet with clients they've been looking at homes that are really outside of their comfort zone because they didn't factor in all of the costs and monthly expenses. Once you find out what a mortgage co. will be willing to lend you it is a good idea to sit down with a Realtor in Bucks County to review all of the costs associated with buying your new home so you know what you will need to have at each step of the way. For a no obligation - no pressure meeting to review your situation give me a call, or shoot me an e-mail using this Contact Tab.
2. After getting a pre-approval and reviewing the true costs to purchase a home with a Realtor it's time to review what it is you are looking for in your new Bucks County Home. Your Realtor will need to know the following:
How many bedrooms you need, or want
How many bathrooms you need, or want
What style of home you are interested in condo, townhome, or single-family
If there is a certain size home you require
What areas and school districts you are interested in
If you want to be in a neighborhood with an association what amenities it must offer
This way your Realtor can enter your requirements into the MLS and send you daily updates when homes come on the market matching your requirements. All of the national websites such as Realtor.com pull from our MLS, but they are usually a few days behind so now you will be a head of the competition when searching for those great deals that sell almost instantly.
3. Once you've found one, or more homes you would like to take a look at it is time to schedule appointments. Just let your Realtor know a few dates and times you are available and they will handle scheduling the appointments for each place.
4. When touring a home it is important to bring along a notebook and pen so you can take notes along the way. After seeing 5 - 10 homes it can be difficult to remember what intrigued you, or put you off about each one. While touring the home you should also take the time to picture how your furniture will fit. If you've measured your furniture beforehand it will be much easier to get a good idea how everything will go.
5. Once you've found a home in Bucks County you would like to make an offer on it will be time for you to sit down with your Realtor and review all of the recent comparable sales in the neighborhood. A good Realtor will show you how each home compares to yours and how they are breaking down the price difference to arrive at a fair market value for your new home.
6. Now it is time to write up and submit your offer. It is customary to give $1,000 with the offer which will be held in escrow by the listing agents company if your offer is accepted. There are many choices to make when writing up your offer so make sure your agent takes the time to explain each section and how you can protect yourself in the agreement while still making it appealing to the sellers so they accept your offer over someone else's. Often times there will be some negotiations back and forth between you and the seller regarding price, or the terms such as the settlement date. Hopefully, you can find a common ground that both parties are happy with because if you don't have a meeting of the minds you don't have a new house. However, it is important to know your limits before the negotiations start, because often times buyers start to get emotionally tied to the property. By reviewing the comparable sales before making the offer you should have a good idea of how far you are willing to go and what a fair price is for your new home so you do not make overly emotional decisions and spend too much on your new Bucks County Home.
7. Congratulations! Your Offer has Been Accepted! But don't get too excited yet, as there is still a bunch of stuff to do before settlement.
8. Once your offer is accepted the clock starts ticking on your timeframe. Here is a customary example of a timeframe, but remember each offer is different so there is no one set of rules, but this is typically what you can expect.
Within 10 - 15 days you must complete a home inspection. Your Realtor should be able to recommend a trustworthy inspector to you. A home inspection generally costs between $350 - $750 dollars, but can be more depending on which inspections you choose to have done and the size of the home. The inspections you can choose from are:
Home Inspection: This includes looking at the mechanicals, the roof, the insulation, the pipes, windows etc. Generally, it covers every inch of the house that can be seen without having to take down walls. It is a visual inspection.
Wood Destroying Insect Inspection: The inspector checks for termites and other wood destroying insects to ensure you know if there has been previous damage, or if there is a current infestation.
Radon: Radon is a gas that is emitted from the ground due to uranium deposits and it can cause cancer. It's actually not uncommon in Bucks County The home inspector will install a radon detection device and leave it there for a few days. When you receive the inspection report it will let you know if the Radon levels were elevated above EPA standards. If they are there is a system that can be installed for around $1,000 that alleviates the problem. This then becomes part of the inspection negotiations and the seller would be asked to either install the system prior to settlement, or credit the buyer for the cost.
Lead Based Paint Inspection: On homes built prior to 1978 there is the possibility that lead based paint was used in the home and you have the option of paying for an inspection to find out if you should be concerned, or not.
Well & Septic Inspection: If you are purchasing a single family home that has a well and septic it is very important to get them inspected s the cost to replace them is in the tens of thousands. In our area a new well will run you approximately $10,000, but can be more if they don't hit water until really deep down, and a septic is usually $20,000 + depending on what type of system needs to be installed and where it can be located.
Pool Inspection: If you are purchasing a home with a pool it is a good idea to get the pool inspected, as the cost to fix a pool can be in the tens of thousands as well.
Mold Inspection: If your home inspector finds signs of mold they may suggest you get an in depth mold test done to ensure the home is healthy to live in.
You must complete the inspections you've opted to do within the timeframe agreed upon in your contract which is typically 10 - 15 days and if there are any issues you then negotiate with the sellers to either fix them, or give you a credit towards fixing them at the settlement table. If you cannot come to an agreement regarding the inspection issues you have the right to break the contract and walk away. If done in the timeframe agreed to in your contract your escrow money will be returned to you.
Mortgage Application: Your mortgage application is usually due within 10 days of executing your agreement. You must have made a full application with the mortgage company you choose within this time so it is important to shop around before you make an offer. The application is due within 10 days because the mortgage co. needs enough time to order the formal appraisal and process all of your documents so they can have the loan ready on the day of settlement. I have made some great contacts in the mortgage industry over the years and can help you shop around for the best loan.
2nd Deposit: Your 2nd Deposit usually ties in with when your inspection requests are due which is usually within 10 - 15 days. The customary 2nd Deposit is between $4,000 - $9,000 in Bucks County, but it can be a bit more, or less depending on the price of the home. This money will be held in escrow by the listing agents office until settlement when it will be put towards your total funds needed to purchase.
Homeowners Insurance: Your mortgage company will insist you have insurance in place prior to settlement and you must provide proof of insurance before they will issue your loan. You usually have 10 - 15 days from the date you execute your contract to make sure you are comfortable with the cost to insure your property. Sometimes certain insurance claims stick with a property and raise the cost to insure even for a new buyer who has never made a claim on the house. If you found out the cost to insure your new home was outside of your comfort level you could break your contract and receive your escrow money back as long as it was done so within the agreed upon timeframe. Over the years I have worked with some great insurance co.'s who I can recommend you to for a free estimate with no obligation. Some of these insurance co.'s actually shop around to 20 - 30 different companies and come back to you with the best rate saving you a lot of time and energy. It is also a good idea to check with your current car insurer, or renter's insurance co. to see what they offer. Sometimes you can get the best rate by combining your home and automobile policies together. You must pay for one full years of insurance up front, but then your mortgage company will usually escrow your insurance payment monthly so the following year they can pay the insurance bill for you. Most times insurance co.'s will allow you to pay for the insurance policy at settlement as part of your closing costs, but if not you should have the money available to pay for the policy a week, or so before settlement.
Association Docs: If you are buying a Bucks County Home in a neighborhood that has an association the sellers must order the rules & regulations as well as the resale certificate within 15 days so you should expect to receive them within 1 - 3 weeks. Once you receive the docs. you will sign a Receipt of Docs. Addendum acknowledging receipt. This then starts the clock ticking on this contingency which is usually 5 days. This means you have 5 days to review the rules and regs. and if for any reason you are not happy with them you can break the contract and receive your escrow money back.
Mortgage Commitment: This is usually due between 30 - 45 days from the date you execute your agreement. It is important that you get all of the info. into the mortgage company ASAP so you can meet this deadline. If you don't make the deadline the seller could opt to put the house back on the market.
Hiring Movers or Renting A Moving Truck: You should start shopping around for movers, or checking out the cost to rent a truck a couple of weeks before the settlement date. You'll want to make sure they are available the day of your move, and make sure it fits into your budget. If you cannot afford movers don't forget the cost of pizza and beer for your family and friends.
Setting Up Utilities: The week of settlement you will want to contact PECO, Comcast or Verizon, as well as the Water and Sewer Co., etc. to make sure everything is put into your name as of the day of settlement, or to have the TV & Internet Co. out to install everything so you don't have to go without for a few days.
Settlement Day: The day of settlement you will do a walk through with your Bucks County Realtor to make sure your home is in the same condition as the day you made your offer. You'll make sure all of the items the sellers agreed to leave behind are still there. If there is an issue your Realtor will negotiate for you at the settlement table. For the most part, usually everything is in order at this time, but doing a walk through the day of settlement is a must just in case there were heavy rains and there's water in the basement, or a window is broken. At this point in time, they are still the sellers responsibility, but once settlement is over the home is yours. At settlement your mortgage professional will review all of the mortgage docs with you and then you will sign off on the settlement statement and a few other docs. It usually takes about an hour and half, but once it is done You Are A New Bucks County Homeowner!
I know it's a lot to take in and you are probably thinking I don't want to do this alone. That's what I'm here for! Over the years I have helped many buyers through this process and recommended vendors to help with each stage of the transaction. A good Realtor will stay on top of each contingency and help you stay on track to reach the settlement table. To see what past clients have had to say about me checkout my Client Testimonials. If you would to schedule a time to talk, or a no obligation - no pressure meeting to review your situation to see if now is the time to buy give me a call, or shoot me an e-mail using the Contact Tab.
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