Buying

Ready to buy a home? Everything you need to know is right here

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Looking For A New Home?

We have 20+ years of real estate experience to help you find your dream home. Purchasing a home is one of the most important decisions you will have to make and we are ready to educate you on the latest market movements and trends to help you get the best possible price. We understand your time is valuable. We will work with you around your schedule to find exactly what you are looking for. Contact us now to experience the Stone Path advantage!

First Time Home Buyers

Buying a home for the first time can be one of the most exciting events in one’s life! For many, it’s a right of passage or as we’ve come to know it—it’s the American Dream. There are all sorts of new and wonderful experiences you will encounter as you embark on your buying journey. You’ll experience open houses, property showings, new neighborhoods, expert buying advice and more! We will guide you from beginning to end and will be with you every step of the journey. We will show you what is selling and also what to stay away from in the current market. We are the best negotiators in the business and will work extremely hard for you knowing that every dollar counts and we’ll use proven strategies to help you get the lowest possible price for the home you want!

Experienced Home Buyers

As an experienced buyer, you already know that having a Realtor represent you is one of the best decisions you can make early on in the process of purchasing a home. With the ever increasing amount of new laws and changing legislation, you know that seeking the advice of a professional can be a wise decision. You also know that the Agency relationship between Realtor and client will be explained to you. In addition, you may already know that there are numerous fiduciary responsibilities real estate professionals have and we are committed to providing the following to you: Loyalty, Obedience, Disclosure, Confidentiality, Reasonable Care, and Accounting. Rest assured we will provide you with the knowledge that you need to make an informed decision about the home you are interested in buying. Our unwavering commitment will give you the results you are looking for in a Realtor. You can also be sure that we will provide you with friendly, courteous communication, prompt response time, expert real estate advice and more!

What Is Your First Step?

What’s your first step to buying a home? One of the first things you’ll need to do whether you are a first-time buyer or an experienced buyer is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. The main advantage of getting pre-approved is that it gives you a stronger negotiating position when it comes time to put an offer in on a property. Most sellers will not negotiate with a buyer who does not show that they are pre-approved for the appropriate mortgage amount. To get pre-approved you should contact your Mortgage Broker. A Mortgage Broker will then work with you to get pre-approved for a mortgage by asking you a series of questions. Once you are pre-approved, you will then be well on your way to purchasing property! Obtaining a referral from a friend can be of great help when you are searching for a Mortgage Broker. It is a good idea to ask your friends, family, and co-workers who they use for their mortgage needs. Likewise, we work with some of the top Mortgage Brokers in the industry. For more information about getting pre-approved, contact Leah Dexter at (952) 484-1526.

What To Expect When Buying A Home

We make the buying process simple for you

Choosing A Real Estate Agent

Do You Have a Personal Real Estate Agent?

If you’re planning on buying a home, you may have already done some shopping around on your own. Perhaps you’ve checked out a few open houses or called the number on a For Sale sign to schedule a private viewing of that property.

Yes, you can do all of that on your own, if you have the time and expertise. However, statistics prove that you’ll be more successful in finding your dream home at the right price with your own personal real estate agent.

Your Real Estate Agent Works for You

A real estate agent, especially one who knows the local market well (like we do), can help you find and buy your ideal home, quickly, and make the entire process go smoothly for you. During a viewing, your real estate agent will give you the inside scoop on that property, so you know the full story. Your real estate agent will also point out desirable features, and potential “issues”, that you might otherwise miss.

When it comes time to make an offer, your real estate agent will present and negotiate it on your behalf. If you don’t have your own real estate agent, you would have to deal directly with the seller’s agent, who is legally obliged to work in the seller’s best interests – not yours.

Bottom line: Your own personal real estate agent is there for you, every step of the way. At least, that’s how we work with our clients.

What to Look for in a Real Estate Agent

When buying a home, you want a real estate agent who…

  • Takes the time to understand your needs and goals, so you have a true partner in your home buying journey.
  • Explains everything clearly and answers your questions, so you’re never in the dark.
  • Has expertise and a track record of success in the local market.
  • Knows how to find great properties in your price range.
  • Will alert you to new listings, quickly, so you get the jump on those opportunities.
  • Will advise you on the best price to offer for the home you want.
  • Will prepare and present the offer, and skillfully negotiate such things as price, conditions, closing dates, etc. so you get the best deal.
  • Will save you potentially thousands of dollars by ensuring you don’t overpay for the property you want.
  • Will recommend reputable home inspectors, movers and other professionals you may need.

Not every real estate agent offers all of these services. Our clients say that we do. They also tell us how much they appreciate our professionalism, expertise, and accessibility.

Next Steps…

The best way to select the right real estate agent is to meet with him or her in person. Ask questions. See if there is a good fit.

To schedule an appointment with somebody in our team, please call or email. If it’s more convenient for you, submit the form below and we’ll get back to you.

Arranging Financing

Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval

An important ingredient in a successful home search is knowing how much you can afford. You don’t want to fall in love with a property only to find out it’s outside your price range.

That’s why we recommend getting a Mortgage Pre-Approval. This is a document from your bank or other lender stating how much of a mortgage they are willing to give you. There are two advantages to getting this pre-approval:

  • It gives you the peace-of-mind of knowing you can afford homes you view on the market, and won’t have problems arranging financing.
  • It’s a sign to sellers that you are a serious, prepared buyer – which gives you the edge when making an offer.

You can arrange for a Mortgage Pre-Approval with your bank or another lender, or by working with a good mortgage broker. We’re well-connected in the local real estate scene, so if you want us to recommend a reputable broker or lender, please contact us.

How Much Home Can You Afford?

Banks and lenders use specific criteria to determine how much of a mortgage they’re willing to offer you. They look at your income, expenses, credit history, and employment status, as well as the down payment you plan to make on a home. It may seem like a scary process, but it is actually straightforward. You can usually get a Mortgage Pre-Approval in a day. You’ll be glad that you did.

By knowing what you can afford, you can confidently shop within that price range. For example, if you qualify for a $250,000 mortgage, and you have another $100,000 available as a down payment, you can look for homes in the $350,000 range.

Have questions about arranging financing? Please submit the form below or call or email us.

Viewing Homes

The Home Shopping Process

As your real estate team, our most important job is to make the home shopping process pleasant and rewarding for you.

We do that in a number of ways.

We regularly recommend properties for viewing that closely match your needs and wants, and are within your price range. That spares you the frustration of visiting homes that aren’t suitable.

We make sure you don’t miss opportunities. When a desirable property suddenly comes on the market, you’re alerted.

We help you schedule viewings that fit your schedule, so there’s little if any inconvenience for you.

Before you view a property, we provide you with in-depth details on the home, so you can make an informed decision. This includes closing dates, market value, and more. Later, if you have questions, we get the answers for you.

We also give you the scoop on the neighborhood, so you get a clear sense of what an area is like in terms of lifestyle, safety, schools, etc.

When you find a property you like, we give you our honest, professional recommendation as to how well the home meets your needs and wants. You won’t have to make such an important decision without our expert advice.

As your real estate team, we’re committed to getting you into the right home, and we’re with you every step of the way.

What to Look for when Viewing a Property

Here are a few questions and ideas to consider when viewing homes to help make the process easier and more productive:

  • Does the home have your “needs” features (those features you must have)? (For example, number of bedrooms, closet space, kitchen size, etc.)
  • Does the home have any of your “wants” features (those features you’d like to have but would be willing to forgo)? (For example, large backyard deck, spacious family room, etc.)
  • What is the general condition of the home? (Are there signs that the owners have kept up with repairs and maintenance?)
  • Will the home need any major repairs, remodeling or renovations? Is there anything, such as the furnace, that may need to be replaced soon?
  • What do you like most about the home?
  • Is there anything about the home you don’t like? Can that be changed with a remodeling or renovation now or in the future?
  • Take a walk around the neighborhood. Are the homes well-kept, indicating pride of ownership?
  • Do you like where the home is situated in the neighborhood?
  • Does the neighborhood have what you want? (For example, access to public transit, shopping, local parks, etc.)

Viewing properties should never be a frustrating ordeal. It’s our job to help make the process easy and productive for you, so you can find the home you want.

Ready to get started? Call or email and let us know more about the kind of home you’re looking for. Or, contact us using the form below and we’ll get back to you.

Making An Offer

Preparing the Offer

When you view a home on the market that you really want, you can hardly wait to be handed the keys. In fact, you may worry that the property will somehow slip through your fingers. Don’t be. You’ve got experts by your side. Our job, as your real estate team, is to ensure you get that home – and at a price that works for you.

The first step is preparing the Offer. This is the document we present to the seller that basically states the price you’re offering, as well as any conditions.

The price we go in with is critical. You want it to reflect the true market value of the property so the seller will take your offer seriously. On the other hand, you don’t want to go in too high and risk overpaying for the home.

Don’t worry. We know how to prepare a winning offer and get you the property at the lowest possible price. In fact, we look after your interests throughout the entire process.

How the Process Works

When you decide to make an offer on a home, here’s what typically happens:

  • We’ll recommend a price that has the best chance of being accepted by the seller, without over-paying for the home.
  • Obviously, sellers prefer offers that have no conditions. However, we may suggest a condition, such as passing a professional home inspection, be included for your protection. We’ll talk about that.
  • We’ll prepare the necessary documents and present your offer to the seller and his or her real estate agent personally.
  • If the offer isn’t accepted, or if the seller makes a counter-offer, we’ll work with the seller’s agent, skillfully negotiating on your behalf to make a deal.
  • We’ll communicate with you throughout the entire process. You’re never in the dark when you work with us.
  • Once the seller agrees to a deal, we’ll help lead you through the removal of any conditions and closing the deal. Then, the home is yours. Congratulations!

We realize that making an offer can seem like the nail-biting part of the process. It doesn’t have to be. That’s the advantage of selecting a real estate team that, like us, puts clients first. When you go after a property you really want, you can take comfort in knowing you have experts on your side… a team that knows how to get that home for you.

Have questions about making an offer? Please submit the form below or call or email us.

Closing The Sale

Ensuring the Closing Goes Smoothly

There are few things we enjoy more than saying to a client, “You’ve got the home!” That means that the seller has accepted your offer, conditions have been waived, the closing date has been set, and you’ll soon be preparing for moving day.

Just because the purchase has been made doesn’t mean our work for you stops. On the contrary. There are a myriad of other things we’ll do to ensure the process goes smoothly.

For example, we’ll take care of many of the administrative details on your behalf. We’ll work with the seller’s agent, your title company, and your mortgage lender to ensure that all the necessary paperwork has been completed and submitted.

Don’t worry about finding a good title company, insurance agent, moving company, etc. We’re well-connected in the local real estate scene and can recommend reputable professionals and companies to help you.

If at any time leading up to moving day you have a question, problem or concern, we’ll be there to help. You can count on us to be your real estate team before, during and after you cross the threshold into your beautiful new home.

If you have questions about the home buying process, please feel free to call or email or submit the form below.

New Construction

Are You Thinking About Building Or Buying New Construction?

Are you thinking of building a new home or buying a new construction home? Building a home has many unique differences to buying an existing home. It is extremely important to have your own agent to represent your best interests. The builder’s representative represents the builder. It does not cost you anymore to have your own representation. As your agent, we are paid for by the builder and that cost is already built into the cost of the home.

We have over 20 years of experience and have the personal and professional experience you need when stepping into the world of new construction. Contact Leah and Nate today to see how we can help make your dream a reality.

Top 7 Tips For Building Or Buying New Construction

1. Hire Your Own Agent At The Start Of Your Hunt

It is crucial to have your own representation. Remember that the builders representative represents the builder NOT the buyer. Many builders will not allow you to hire your own agent if you wander into the new homes sales office without representation. Let your agent introduce you to the builder, and you’re generally covered. The builder’s sales agents are paid to represent the builder, regardless of what they may tell you. Many will use high-pressure tactics to persuade you to sign the contract. Your agent will be paid by the seller. Your own agent will represent you and is required to disclose the positives as well as the negatives about the transaction. Builder’s agents don’t discuss drawbacks. The biggest MYTH is that you will save money using the builder's agent, however, this is simply not true.

2. Find out what finishes are standard & what is an upgrade

The fit and finish of the model home doesn’t necessarily represent what comes standard. Often the model home reflects a mix of standard materials and fixtures, as well as a handful of upgrades. Therefore, you need to find out from the builder which options are standard, which options are upgrades, and what each upgrade costs. Keep in mind that costs can change. The price quoted at the start may not be the same when you decide to move forward. One way to cut costs: Move into the home without an upgrade, then hire a contractor to do the work. Builders charge a huge markup on certain finishes and products.

3. Be creative during negotiations

Builders don’t like to drop their prices. Instead, consider asking for the builder to pay closing costs or perform upgrades at no additional charge. Builders are often reluctant to set a precedent for negotiating prices since future buyers in the development may expect similar discounts. Consequently, builders are often more likely to negotiate “on the back end” since closing costs and upgrades are a less obvious way for them to sweeten a deal.

4. Get a guarantee

You’re often buying a home that is not completed. What guarantees do you have the home will be ready on time? Your purchase agreement documents should specify a completion date. However, many builders add provisions that make the completion date dependent on permit approvals from the municipality or availability of building materials from suppliers. There can also be additional charges if you’re unable to close on time if your lender isn’t ready.

5. Find out what warranties are provided

Most builders offer a one-year workmanship warranty and a 10-year structural warranty. Make sure the warranties you receive explicitly state what is and isn’t covered, and what the limitations are for damages. You should also receive manufacturer’s warranties on the washer and dryer, hot water heater, air conditioner, kitchen appliances, and roof.

6. Get the home inspected

New homes have problems too. Hire an inspector to make sure everything is safe and up to code. Even though most municipalities require new homes to pass permit inspections, an independent verification with a qualified inspector is money well spent. In many cases, the builder will allow buyers to conduct an independent inspection and agree to repair code compliance issues but do not include a provision that would allow the buyer to walk away and retain their deposit if they are not satisfied with the result of the inspection.

7. Look to the future

Check with the city to see what is planned for the surrounding area. If you have a view, will it still be there in five years? Most builders put the responsibility on the buyer to be aware of neighborhood or community dynamics related to other development in the area like traffic planning, the development of neighboring parcels, etc. Many new communities also have homeowners associations that can impact your potential new home as well.

For more tips and advice on buying a new construction home, call us today and let us make your dream a reality!

Down Payment Resources

Let's determine your down payment options

Down Payment Money is Out There. Let’s Find It.

Down payment programs can help you save on your down payment and buy sooner!

Let’s Work Together To Determine Your Options.

Down Payment Connect is a free tool that helps uncover homebuyer programs for down payment help, closing costs, tax credits and more.

How It Works.

1. Look for my Down Payment Connect button below. Click down payment icon below to find home buyer programs in your area.

2. Enter all household information. Personalize your search to find all programs available based on your household characteristics.

3. Get your results. Learn the number of programs and amount of help that may be available to you. Request the full report to get all the details.

Click Below To Discover Your Options Today!

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Let's Find Your Next Dream Home

If you’re looking for a Realtor, it’s important that you find someone who is a good fit for you. So let’s talk. Whether you’re selling or buying, we’d like to learn more about you and your needs and goals. You can count on us to “tell it like it is” and give you a realistic picture of what is possible.

Contact us today to experience the Stone Path Advantage.

As a real estate team who puts clients first, we look forward to hearing from you.

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