Need Help Finding a Home?
We would love the opportunity to help guide you through all the ins and outs of the home buying process..
1) Find a REALTOR® - How Anna Rickenbach Properties Can Help You...
Are you a first-time buyer? The process may seem intimidating and overwhelming. But Anna Rickenbach Properties can help you out at each stage, from obtaining a mortgage right through to closing.
Even if you’re a more experienced buyer, you need the help of a professional agent to serve as your counselor in what can become an extremely complicated transaction.
Areas in which we can assist you include:
• Helping you explore financing options and connecting you with a reputable mortgage lender
• Identifying resources to help you improve your credit score if necessary
• Providing information about neighborhoods and schools
• Providing regular market updates
• Helping you recognize home features that are critical to you vs. ones that would be nice, but that you could live without
• Accompanying you as you view homes and helping you analyze them
• Once you’ve identified the home you want, helping you craft an offer that works for you and that’s likely to be accepted
• Negotiating with the sellers and serving as your advocate
• Once an offer has been accepted, helping you locate service-providers such as an inspector and repair professionals
• Keeping the process on track and making sure to meet all deadlines
• Attending the closing with you and making sure you understand everything you’re signing
• Assisting you in your move
Let us also tell you a little bit about our RE/MAX affiliation and why it should matter to you. We are part of one of the world’s most productive real estate networks, with offices around the globe. We have access to the industry’s best resources. RE/MAX agents are known throughout the real estate industry as the top professionals.
We'd be honored to represent you in what will probably be one of the biggest financial transactions in your life. Please call, text or email us and we would be happy to embark on this journey with you!
2) Apply for Pre-Approval
Apply for Pre-Approval…
Your starting point in purchasing a home is figuring out how much home you can afford to buy and then obtaining financing (if necessary).
You should start by knowing your credit score, which determines whether you can get a mortgage and at what terms. If you need help raising your score, Anna Rickenbach Properties can connect you to resources to help you accomplish that goal.
The next step is getting prequalified for a mortgage. You may already have a lender in mind. If not, we can suggest a couple that we have worked with successfully in the past, who we know to be reliable and professional.
Either way, once you’ve been pre-qualified for a certain amount, that doesn’t mean you should automatically seek a home at that level. Lenders employ guidelines for income-to-debt ratio to determine the loan you qualify for, but these are nothing more than guidelines; they don’t address your specific financial situation.
We often recommend that buyers purchase less home than they’re qualified for. That way they can easily pay the monthly mortgage and still maintain a comfortable lifestyle.
If you’re thinking about buying, please give us a call or send us an email. We’ll be happy to help you decide if you’re ready, and together we can embark on the great adventure that will make you a homeowner!
Our personal recommendations for financing:
James Pulsipher | Fidelity Mortgage | 700 Belford Ave # 300, Grand Junction, CO 81501
970.242.7000 Office / Apply Now
Merica Street | Academy Mortgage | 1114 N 1st St #101, Grand Junction, CO 81501
970.208.1301 Office / Apply Now
Why Obtaining A Pre-Approval Is Crucial –
When you’re ready to find a home, the last thing you want to do is limit your possibilities. Dream big, right?
But you’d be totally bummed if you found a perfect pad, only to learn you don’t qualify for the home of your dreams.
If you don’t earn a loan pre-approval before you start looking, you might actually prevent yourself from finding—and buying—your dream home.
Streamlined Hunting With Pre-Approval
Most homeowners start out by browsing homes for sale online to get an idea of what neighborhoods and housing styles they like. If you don’t know what you can afford, you may be looking out of your price range and wasting your time. You may also be looking below what you would have qualified for and not getting the right home for you. If you start off by getting a pre-approval, you can sort by price, identify the right neighborhoods, and find your dream home much faster.
Better Results From a REALTOR®
The bottom line is this: REALTORS® prefer to work with home buyers who have a pre-approval in hand for two reasons.
First, a REALTOR® knows the deal isn’t likely to fall through, and second, when they know what you want and what you can afford, REALTORS® are able to do a better job of finding your dream home.
For example, you told a REALTOR® you want a historic home, but the asking price for these homes varies widely. If they don’t know what you can afford, they can only do a general search across several price ranges and may miss hidden gems.
On the other hand, if you have pre-approval, a REALTOR® would know what exactly what to focus on and would be able to suggest different neighborhoods, sizes and conditions of homes to match your needs—making it easier to get you exactly what you want.
Higher Acceptance Rate for Buyers With Pre-Approval
Once you find the perfect home, the next step can go two different ways depending on a pre-approval.
If you’re not pre-approved and you find a home you want to make an offer on, you’re taking a gamble. REALTORS® and sellers are less willing to accept offers from a buyer without a pre-approval. Odds are, they’ll go on to the next offer—and you’ll miss out.
However, if you are pre-approved, you have more room to haggle. Sellers may be more willing to lower the asking price, include appliances, cover closing costs, or make other allowances to work with a pre-approved buyer.
3) Work with Anna Rickenbach Properties
Real estate agents are important partners when you are buying a home. Anna Rickenbach Properties can provide you with helpful information on homes and neighborhoods that isn’t easily accessible to the public. Our knowledge of the home buying process, negotiating skills, and familiarity with the area you want to live in can be extremely valuable. And best of all, it doesn’t cost you anything to use an agent – they’re compensated from the commission paid by the seller of the house.
Shopping for Your New Home -
Start touring homes in your price range. It has proven to be helpful to take notes on all the homes you visit. You will see a lot of houses! It can be hard to remember everything about them, so we will provide you with a ‘Buyer’s Notes’ sheet to make notes of the properties you view with us.
Make sure to check out the little details of each house. For example:
It’s also important to evaluate the neighborhood and make a note of things such as:
Take as much time as you need to find the right home. When working with Anna Rickenbach Properties, we will negotiate a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes in the same neighborhood. Once you and the seller have reached agreement on a price, the house will go into escrow, which is the period of time it takes to complete all of the remaining steps in the home buying process.
4) Home Inspection
Buyers: What to Expect from Your Home Inspection
Nothing says we have to have a home inspected before we buy it. We could take the seller’s word that it’s a “great house” and put up the cash. But why ever would we?
One reason buyers sometimes balk at inspection is the fact that buyers have to pay for it. True: even though we can’t be sure we’ll buy this house until after we get it inspected, we have to pay! But really, it makes the most sense if we do. First, consider the seller: While in contract with us (and the inspection period is part of the contract), the seller cannot entertain other bids. We have a lock on this house until we decide, post inspection, to continue with the buying process or to withdraw. When we pay for the inspection, we assure the seller we’re serious about pursuing the home. And second, if the seller provided the inspection, or paid for it, the procedure would present a rather glaring conflict of interest. We couldn’t really trust the results in the way we can if we’re paying a professional who has no ties to the seller or the house itself.
Essentially then, since a home is probably one of the biggest investments we’ll make, shouldn’t we find out if that investment is sound? Here is some advice on how to make the most of this important part of the home-buying process.
How to Find an Inspector -
You are free to use one of these or to find your own by asking friends or using Internet resources. Choose someone experienced and local, who will understand the way homes age in your area of interest.
What Inspectors Look for -
Home inspection isn’t about whether the home is worth what you’ve offered (that’s appraisal), nor is about aesthetic issues like a poorly tended yard. Inspectors look at systems that, if failing, will cost you real money to fix.
Mold and Dampness -
Since mold is both toxic and a sign of water leakage, inspectors take it seriously. Here’s it’s not about what’s needed to kill the mold, but rather what’s fix causing the mold in the first place.
If the home has a basement or crawlspace, these are scrutinized for mold, dampness and signs of water leakage. Meters can show how much moisture is present in these spaces, and a high read can be serious as moist walls tend to crumble and attract insect infestations. Water leaks, meanwhile, can compromise the home’s foundation.
Inspectors can check a roof’s soundness as well as estimate its usable life. Since roof repair can be very expensive, this is important. This type of inspection should also cover chimney flues and gutters, checking that all are watertight and/or in good working order.
Inspectors test for water pressure, run any appliances that use water, check drains and sometimes septic systems, though sewer scopes may occasionally be carried out by other professionals who specialize in that procedure.
All appliances that come with the sale are subject to inspection, but especially important are smoke detectors, CO2 detectors and heating and cooling systems.
Home inspectors assess the home’s structure, checking for level, solidly grounded floors and foundation.
Electrical Systems -
The inspector will look for ground fault circuit interrupters, general wiring, and at the electrical panel, age and functionality.
No, not those too-loud neighbors: that's on you to inspect when you consider the neighborhood on your own. Inspectors focus instead on the more pricey, dangerous, and down-right disgusting invaders: rats, mice, termites... But every location presents its own list of potential pests, which is why a local inspector has such value.
What Home Inspection is Like: One Buyer’s Experience
In my case, as I am trying to buy a home right now, the home inspection was a fairly painless process, after my husband and I got over the sting of paying $375 for the inspection (prices vary, or course: state to state, city to city, and on the size of the home and number of procedures you’re having done at once). Our inspector was at the house 3 hours: we only joined him for the last hour, during which he went over his findings with us. He then gave us his report, with a list of suggested repairs/issues of concern.
At this point, our Realtor® whom we have grown to adore, explained we could amend the offer to ask for any repairs we wanted now. And since we’d offered a bit over asking, we felt comfortable asking the seller to fix everything on the inspector’s list.
And she agreed!
Your Experience May Vary -
Not all sellers will be so amenable to repairs, and not all repairs are considered the seller’s problem. But the inspection period allows buyers that up-close and personal investigation of the home - the chance to look under the hood, so to speak. And if at this point, you don’t like what you find and the seller proves apathetic, you can always walk away.
Yes, you lose the inspection fee. But you won’t buy a problem home - and that, is priceless.
Our personal recommendations for inspectors:
Brad Buck | A-1 Inspection | 970.242.2644
Ed Benson | Apex Home Inspectors | 970.640.0632
Jay Empson |Jay's Inspection Service | 970.518.1813
5) Get Homeowner's Insurance
Homeowners insurance -
Your home will be appraised as part of the underwriting process. When you have the appraisal, start looking for home insurance.
2 Types of Homeowners Coverage -
There are two types of homeowner’s insurance: a replacement-cost policy and a cash-value policy.
A replacement-cost policy covers the current cost to replace your home. For example, if you buy an older home with unique molding or other features, the cost to restore it may be higher. A replacement-cost policy runs about 10 percent more than a cash-value policy, but it will cover the cost of rebuilding.
A cash-value policy insures the house and its contents for the market value. While it is less expensive than a replacement-cost policy, a cash-value policy will reimburse you only for the depreciated cost of your possessions. For example, if your refrigerator was 10 years old, you would probably recover only a portion of the cost of a new one.
Whichever policy you choose, be sure to ask your insurance agent about safety features such as deadbolts, storm shutters and security systems you can install to reduce your premium.
We are happy to recommend a couple of insurance agents to you with whom we have worked with often and have exceeded expectations on numerous occasions, becoming our preferred agents as a result.
6) Have the Home Appraised
When applying for a mortgage to purchase a new home or refinancing an existing mortgage, one will have to be ready to jump through some hoops. It can be a difficult and time-consuming process to shop for a lender, evaluate interest rates and terms, and pay out some steep fees. Some of the requirements of a home mortgage – such as having a good credit score and meeting a certain minimum income – are within your control.
Unfortunately, the outcome of one of the most important factors, the home appraisal, is not something one can control. Still, it is important to have a full understanding of the home appraisal prior to starting the process of acquiring or refinancing a mortgage.
What Is the Home Appraisal?
A home appraisal is a valuation of your property conducted by an “expert” licensed appraiser assigned to your case by a bank or other lending institution (generally at random, based on new banking regulations). Home appraisers visit your property to assess the condition of the space and take an inventory of its features.
The appraiser considers factors including:
The appraiser researches recently sold properties in the listings area with features similar to the prospective home, called “comparables.” The appraiser then accounts for differences between the home and the comparables to arrive at an estimate of the home’s value. For example, if the appraiser has chosen a four-bedroom property to compare to a three-bedroom house, the appraiser might subtract $10,000 from the four-bedroom’s selling price to account for that discrepancy. However, if your house has a fireplace and the four-bedroom does not, the appraiser might add $2,000 to the valuation to compensate.
Size, bedroom count, extra bathrooms, and a finished basement tend to have the most impact on an appraisal. Features such as countertop quality, fancy finishes, and cosmetic upgrades have less of an impact.
An appraiser generally gauges the property against at least 5 or 6 comparables (“comps” for short), although that list can reach as high as 10. Comps are selected from within a given geographic area to avoid any need to adjust the price for location. Ideally, all comps are recent sales (within the last few months) which helps guard against fluctuating market conditions. Foreclosures and short sales are typically not included as comps, although there may be exceptions if the home happens to be in a high-foreclosure area.
After all necessary additions and subtractions have been made to account for discrepancies between the home and the comps, the appraiser arrives at an estimated value of the home.
Why Are Home Appraisals Needed?
A bank wants to have a very reliable estimate of a home’s value when it lends you the money to purchase or refinance. For example, if the buyer is not a skilled negotiator and offered $400,000 for a $200,000 house, they can count on the bank rejecting your loan application. Lending more than a house is worth means that the bank doesn’t have sufficient collateral to guarantee your loan. If the buyer were to face foreclosure in that case, the bank would not be able to sell the property for the full loan amount it supplied to the buyer.
Based on an appraiser’s recommended value, the buyer may have the chance – in the case of a low appraisal – to raise more money or see if the seller takes a lower offer in order to complete the loan.
Are Home Appraisals Accurate?
Like any valuation, home appraisal is not an exact science. Banks are never going to get an objective value of the property because none exists. While an appraisal may be the best solution, it is certainly not a perfect one.
Appraisers who work regularly with certain banks may be told what a property needs to appraise for in order for the loan to go through. If those appraisers want repeat business, they might follow the bank’s instructions to ensure the loan is approved. Although regulations have been put in place since 2008 to prevent practices like this, there is always the possibility of collusion between banks and home appraisers, so check references and ask as many questions as possible to make sure the entire process is above-board.
More than 60% of appraisals significantly overvalue the property being appraised, according to a study by The New York Times. One home may have a charming, irregular lot; another may be larger but have less character. One kitchen may have the finest marble and granite, while another might be constructed from rare antique parts.
Judging comparative value in cases like these is a difficult task. In the best-case scenario, similarities exist in a marketplace and an appraiser seeks them out for an inexact but honest comparison. In the worst case, there are no sufficient comparables and the appraiser relies purely on conjecture.
Let us know if you have any questions! We are here to help!
7) Close on Your Home
On closing day, the property will be transferred from the seller to the buyer. Typically, you can expect to attend closing with your Realtor®, the home seller, the seller’s real estate agent, your mortgage lender and a representative from a title company will also be present. You can plan on signing a number of documents that will be explained by your settlement agent. Once all of the signing is done, the house is yours! Congratulations on your new home!
When you work with Anna Rickenbach Properties, we love to build relationships with our clients until we can call them friends! It is truly our passion!
Types of Loans
When starting the home buying process, its always good to know what type of loans you can be pre-qualified for. Talking to a Mortgage Professional is always a great first step.
FHA- The Federal Housing Administration:
This type of loan was designed to help meet the needs of low to moderate incomes. A 3.5% minimum down payment is required. Also, the buyer must meet the qualifying guidelines.
For more information please click here.
VA- The Department of Veterans Affairs:
Available to active-duty or veteran military service members. Gift funds can be used for all or a portion of the down payment and closing costs.
For more information please click here.
USDA- United States Department of Agriculture- Rural Development
This type of loan has flexible qualifying guidelines. There is little to no down payment and is based on maximum income and geographical area.
To see if a home you are interested in is in a qualifying area, click here.
Fixed Rate Mortgage-
The interest rate will stay the same for the life of the loan, which makes for predictable monthly payments. This is ideal for those looking to stay in their home for a long period of time.
Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)-
The rate may go up or down on predetermines dates reflecting current market conditions. This type of loan is chosen by a buyer who plans to refinance or sell the home in a few years or can make a larger monthly payment if the rates adjust upward.
Conventional Loans- Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Conforming & Non-Conforming
This loan is chosen by buyers with more money to put down on a loan. There are more strict qualifying guidelines.
AnnaSellsGJ@gmail.com 1 970-260-8362
Anna Rickenbach Properties, RE/MAX 4000 Inc.© 2016
The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the IDX Program of Grand Junction Area Realtor Association®. Listing broker has attempted to offer accurate data, but is not guaranteed accurate by the MLS. All information presented is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.
IDX is provided exclusively for consumer's personal, non-commercial use; and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Any use outside of this purpose is prohibited.