3. Get Pre-Approved for Mortgage or alternative financial program and be ready to act. You have found that private parcel of land with a pond and a beautiful view that you have been dreaming of – don’t let the possibility that a cash-on-the-spot offer will outshine your almost-there financial status and dim that dream. What will you do with your hammock then?
4. Customize your list of absolute needs and wishes (style of home, size, price and location, etc.). Think ahead - the 4 bedrooms you feel are an absolute need for your new family retreat might not bode well for your son-in-law who has no plans to spend the night even if he must have turkey dinner at your home.
5. Wisely choose a licensed real estate broker who is 100% committed to working for you and seek an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent. It is your money on the table, your choice of a country house and your decision as to who will represent you. Traditionally a buyer would see a house advertised, walk into the real estate office selling it and the listing agent would sell the house. Now you, the buyer, have the opportunity to buy the house from an agent who represents only you and not the seller.
6. Research towns, communities, neighborhoods, and identify areas which might be right for you. Review your list of absolutes needs and wishes and consider if one less bathroom, sharing your clothes closet with your broom and dust pan or 3 less acres with no stream is worth a better school district.
7. Make sure you have access to all properties available (including MLS listings, exclusive listings and FSBO) by working with an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent. This agent will have no bias towards selling certain properties and will do careful research so you have no unforeseen surprises or hidden agendas. This way you will avoid the future flea market with the purple neon sign across the street or proposed gravel pit next door!
8. Do research on any property you are interested in. Visit or call the Town Hall to learn zoning, zoning changes, liens, easements and other restrictions. If you are buying land, check for Board of Health Approval, limitations created by the deed, subdivision rules and convents and so on. You wouldn’t want to find out that you can’t paint your house the color you want, but you have to put up with the constant noise from your neighbor’s new heliport!
9. When purchasing land, review with your realtor all auxiliary costs you will incur to gain a realistic end number you are sure you can live with after your offer is accepted. Have you included the cost of the septic, well, driveway, adjusted taxes and preparing your land to be utility ready? And do not forget the blasting cost for your new pool!
10. Prepare the offer on the real estate of your choice. Your Exclusive Buyer’s Agent is there to help you negotiate your terms. Would you prefer to spend your money on a new gazebo or give it to the seller to pay for his next vacation?
11. Assemble the team of professionals who will take you from the accepted offer to the closing. Along with your realtor these include: Lawyer, Home Inspector, Lending Agent, Home Insurer and Title Company. These professionals are solution seekers that will help you focus on the absolutes. The deal breaker should be your overall satisfaction in this venture.
12. Make a checklist for yourself so that you will be ready to close. To be sure that your closing is smooth and painless you will need to:
• Get home owner's insurance.
• Make calls in the week prior to closing to transfer utilities from the seller's name to your own.
• Call a locksmith to arrange for new locks and keys
• Call the security company to set up your system.
• Finally, transfer funds so that the money you will need at closing is readily available.
13. Visit your new home to make sure everything is as you expected before you sit down at the closing table. If the seller agreed to complete substantial repairs, it is probably a good idea to do the walk through at least several days before closing so that there will be time to rectify problems. Otherwise, walk through just before you are going to the closing.
14. The closing is the time when all the details come together and your buyer’s checklist is complete. Take a deep breath…and sign the papers which will transform you from “Buyer” to “Owner”. Now you have a whole new checklist of people to locate - plumber, electrician, landscaper, snow removal company, chimney cleaner, handyman, cabinet maker, oil company, pest control, septic cleaner, air conditioning specialist, arborist, landscaper, painter, contractor and of course the best store to buy champagne!