Tips on Buying A Home

Buying A Home Made Easy

Whether it is your first time buying a home in Tacoma or your tenth, Carl and Heather Hillis of Sunshine Real Estate Brokers and Best Choice Realty are here to make it a smooth process. We’ve made it simple by using 7 easy steps to buying a home along with our online tools to search for the perfect home. We understand how to interpret the data to be able to give you the best advice on which homes are worth looking at and which ones are worth moving forward on. 

Experience has taught us that it starts with listening closely to what YOU need. Together, we’ll find your new address – and the features you are looking for most. Whether your preference is location and style; move-in ready or handyman special; condo, house or vacant land… we know the inventory and will be ready to assist. It is our responsibility to meet your  needs and provide the highest level of customer service and communication.

Why We Do Real Estate

Our Mission: We provide home buyers with an innovative real estate solution. By using the efficiencies of the Internet (check out our mobile app) and our local knowledge, we have streamlined the real estate process in the Greater King and Pierce County areas.

Mission Statement: To delight our clients by bringing great people, technology, and value to the experience of buying, selling, and owning a home.

Rate and Review Us: Because we are committed to your total satisfaction, we invite you at anytime to review us on Zillow, Trulia, or our Facebook page.

How we work exclusively for YOU

• Find the best home for your needs by sending you information on homes that match your criteria.

• Negotiate the lowest price using our local knowledge of the market and area.

• Secure the best financing by working with your lender in keeping within your budget.

• Meet your home buying needs with the least amount of hassle. We serve as your “point person” with the seller, lender, title and escrow company, inspector, and ensure all contracts are completed.

• We are 100% committed to making sure you have a great home buying experience and guarantee your satisfaction.

• At each step of the way, you will benefit from our innovative consumer programs.

• None of our services cost you a penny!

All We Ask in Return is Your Loyalty…

Typical Costs when buying a home in Tacoma

Down payment:  How much do you have set aside? Down payments can range from 0-20% of the purchase price depending on the type of loan you elect or are qualified for. A typical FHA loan requires at least 3.5% down. There may be down payment assistance programs  available for qualified borrowers.

Earnest Money: In Washington 1% of the sales price is customary, though in a competitive market 2-3% may be suggested. It will need to be deposited into the escrow trust account and we will do that for you but we will need to collect your earnest money within 2 business days of the seller accepting your offer. For example: on a $250,000 house if you agree to a 1% earnest money deposit you would give the title company $2500.  This money is credited to you at closing as a portion of your closing costs or down payment.  Earnest Money is refundable based on provisions in the purchase contract.

Inspection: You will have typically up to 10 days to complete, but it depends upon the contract. In a highly competitive market you may want to do the inspection in 3 days, or possibly do a pre-inspection prior to even having a accepted contract.  You have the option of hiring an inspector (highly recommended) to look at the property and we have a list of inspectors you can call. Depending on how large the home is and the age, the price will vary.  Most of the time, on a home under 2000 sq.ft. an inspection will run around $450 or so and will be required upfront at the time of inspection.  Mold, asbestos, and other tests need to be ordered ahead of time with the inspector and at additional costs.

Appraisal: An appraisal of the property typically costs between $500 and $750. Your lender will order and obtain an impartial third-party appraisal that complies with their lending rules, to verify that the value of the house you want will support the mortgage you need to finance it. Most of the time this fee is added to your closing cost but sometimes you will need to pay up front depending on your lender.

Closing Costs: The typical costs of buying a home are made up of several things, such as Escrow Fees, Lender Charges, Prepaid Interest, Taxes and Insurance.  Closing costs will vary from 2% to 6% of a purchase amount depending on the loan program you are using.  You should get a good faith estimate from your lender breaking down all costs involved with your purchase.  These costs can be paid at closing or some can be rolled into your financing. We typically ask the seller to pay for part or all of the closing costs. In some situations it is not possible, so be prepared for the seller to counter the proposal.

Commissions: The seller pays the commission in most instances.

Why Pre-approval makes sense?

3 Key benefits of a Home Loan Pre-Approval

1.You know exactly how much home you can afford (eliminating wasted time looking at homes that are under or over your price range).

2.You get the best financing (i.e. lowest interest rate, lowest down payment and lowest monthly payment, which will allow you to get the most house for your money).

3.As a pre-approved buyer you can make a stronger offer (You get the power of immediate action, you can beat out other buyers, and you can negotiate the lowest price and best terms).

It’s as Easy as 1-2-3

1. The Credit Bureau will generate a Home Loan Credit Report.

2. Your employment, bank accounts and rental payments (if applicable) are verified.

3. The underwriter is forwarded all the information for approval. Once approved, you are ready to buy your dream home!

Your mortgage broker will help you through this process. If you don’t have one yet just ask and we can give you a list to call. Talk with them to see if they are a good fit and you are comfortable with them.  Ask them about programs that may be best for your situation and of course compare rates to get your best deal.

Buying A Home Step-By-Step

#1 Know Your Options: You Have Options!!!! • Pay Cash • Conventional Financing with 10% or more down • Government Backed Programs FHA/VA  3% to 3.5% down • Special Programs such as 100% USDA, State Bond, City Grants, Teacher or  Doctor Programs etc…

#2 Begin Loan Approval Process: Meet with a lender to determine how much house you can afford. Obtain pre-approval for the loan amount you need. This will improve your negotiating position with home sellers.

#3 The Home Search: Start by deciding which neighborhoods you want to live in and whether you want a new or existing home. Here is where we can help match your needs to the right house and area.

#4 Make an Offer: When you find a home, we will review market conditions and decide whether to present an aggressive or competitive offer. We will explain all documentation and ensure the terms are in your best interest. The process may go back and forth a few times between parties.

#5 Under Contract: After mutual acceptance of the contract from both parties you are ”signed around”.  At this time you’ll provide an “earnest money” check that we will deposit to the title company to open escrow.

#6 Inspections, Repairs, Insurance, etc.: Now begins the inspection period, usually 7-10 days. Inspections are performed to ensure the property is perfect for you. Contract details such as repairs are further negotiated. During this time you’ll need to arrange insurance for your new home. Your title insurance company will provide a Commitment for Title Insurance for you to review. Also, this is a time to make sure that we talk about a home warranty.

#7 Go to Closing:  You have the option to do a quick walk thru before you sign your documents. When you sign your documents, you will need to bring a certified check if you’re making a down payment and picture ID and social security card or a copy of it to the closing at the title company.  Possession is typically not given until after funding and recording. Once we get confirmation of funding and recording you will receive your keys!  Welcome Home!