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Buyer and Seller


1. Price

There are many factors that should and should not be considered in pricing a house to sell. What you paid for your home, assessed value, how much you want or need to get out of it, the cost for custom items added for your specific pleasure or desire, what your neighbors say and the price of homes currently on the market are things that should not be factored in.

Far too often Sellers go with gut feelings or subjective reasons when pricing a house to sell, rather than available statistical data. Many homes are priced so high that they have limited chance for selling. Over-priced properties often end up selling below market value because they stay on the market for a long time, they become “shopworn” and buyers tend of offer very low prices. Valuable marketing time is lost and opportunities to purchase a new home dwindle. Fewer showings occur because agents are not enthusiastic about the property. Marketing dollars and advertising efforts are wasted. Sellers become angry and frustrated. The tendency is to blame the listing agent and the marketing when the problem lies in the pricing.

The best chance of selling your property is within the first five weeks. Research shows that the longer a property stays on the market, the less money the seller will make. Your price should be based on SOLD properties rather than current listings. It should be priced to compete with – not sell – competition. Remember, the first offer is often the best! Buyers actually determine the value of a home. When pricing a house to sell, neither an agent nor any buyer/seller is smarter than the market!

2. Condition

The competitive intensity of today’s market dictates that the properties that sell the quickest are those that are clean, uncluttered and show well, have been well maintained, offer numerous updates and a neutral décor. Try to do whatever you can to make a favorable impression on a potential buyer so that your home will be remembered among the many homes a buyer will likely visit.

3. Location

The location of your property “is what it is” and is one of the variables that cannot be changed or adjusted. Factors such as a busy street, a quiet cul-de-sac, nearby railroad tracks, gated or non-gated community, views of power lines, lakes or ponds, accessibility to amenities, highways, etc. are all issues that can and should be considered in the listing price discussions.


The home buying process can seem overwhelming at the outset, but it can be broken down into a few simple steps, many of which your Realtor® can handle for you. The Van Excellent Realty team will work with and advise you through every step of the home buying process, from obtaining pre-approval to move-in. View the steps in the home buying process and contact us with any questions.

1. Meet with a Loan Officer

  • By sharing income and other family financial information, you will know the price range for which you are qualified
  • You will learn of the type of loans available to buyers in today’s market
  • Obtain a lender disclosure explaining the costs of borrowing money and closing costs
  • Obtain a pre-approval letter

2. Meet with your Realtor

  • During this meeting you will determine the area and features you will want in your home
  • Discuss your time frame – how quickly do you want to close on your home?

3. Begin Viewing Homes

  • When possible, all decision-makers should visit the various homes
  • Always be candid with your Realtor. It will help them understand your particular needs and desires and enable them to select homes you will want to see

4. Prepare the Offer

  • Your Realtor will provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) on the property you have selected to assist you in making an informed decision
  • Your Realtor will go through the prepared offer with you and explain the terms and conditions
  • Negotiations will proceed until both buyer and seller agree on all terms and execute the contract
  • All documents will be sent to the title company where title commitment and closing information will be prepared

5. Make Your Loan Application

  • Give your Loan Officer a copy of the contract and make official loan application

6. Inspect the Property

  • Select an inspector and arrange for a general home inspection. Additional inspections could be recommended by the inspector. Typically, inspections are completed within 5-10 days from the effective date of the contract.

7. Appraisal and Survey of the property

  • The lender and title company will make arrangements for the property appraisal and survey to be completed
  • You will be provided a copy of the title commitment from the title company
  • You will make arrangements for your homeowner’s (hazard) insurance policy and arrange for the insurance agent to provide the title company information for closing

8. Arrange Property Closing

  • Your Realtor will arrange a closing date and time with the title company
  • You will complete a final walk-through inspection of the property with your Realtor
  • You will receive a copy of the Closing Disclosure for review prior to closing.
  • The title company prepares this document with the information provided by your lender
  • You will bring a cashier’s check for all closing costs and the balance of the down payment to the scheduled closing

9. Funding the Closing

  • Documents are sent to the buyer’s loan company for approval and funds are disbursed to the title company
  • The title company receives and funds all money from the loan company
  • Legal documents will be recorded in the County Clerk’s office and mailed to you when completed
  • Title company prepares and issues the title policy and sends it to the loan company and to you


Buying your first home is a major decision, but many of the common challenges first time home buyers face can be reduced or even completely avoided with some basic know-how. Here are some helpful tips for first time home buyers.


In many cases, a mortgage payment including property taxes and homeowners insurance can be less than what you pay in rent. The tax savings generated by the interest deduction (which constitute most of the payment in the early years of a mortgage) may keep the monthly cost slightly more than rent. However, you will be building equity with each payment.

Often, the biggest hurdle in the first-time purchase is cash available for the down payment and your closing costs. But even this obstacle is not insurmountable. If you are a veteran, you may be able to obtain 100% financing through a VA loan and many lenders offer 95% financing based on your credit rating.

Try to Pre-qualify For a Loan (If Necessary)

If your income enables you to qualify for the necessary mortgage loan, you may be able to negotiate a contract in which the seller pays your purchase closing costs and adjusts the price upward so that you, in effect, finance your closing costs. But the loan appraisal will still need to support this higher value in order for the loan to close.

A good place to start the entire process is to visit with a local lender to “pre-qualify” and establish your maximum loan amount. This loan maximum, coupled with your available cash, will determine the price range in which you should look. The lender will also provide you with a list of items required to begin the loan application process. We can provide you with lender referrals if needed.

As a first-time buyer, professional real estate assistance is crucial. We will work for you as a “buyer’s agent” and be your advocate in the transaction. In most cases, we will be paid out of the seller’s commission paid at closing, so you will not pay extra to be represented by us.

Find the Best Type of Real Estate to Suit You

One of the most important tips for first time home buyers and to take time considering what it is you really want, and what makes most sense for your finances, living situation and future goals. We will be able to help you evaluate the pros and cons of purchasing a single-family home, condominium, or townhouse and what the various types of ownership mean to you.

Other decisions can include;

  • Should you buy a resale home or new construction?
  • What kinds of inspections or warranties should you seek?
  • When making an offer, how much below listing price should you offer?
  • How does the price compare to similar homes on the market? Are you negotiating terms and other costs (home warranty, for example) as well as price?
  • What do you do if inspections uncover needed repairs?

  • Are there any factors related to the house or neighborhood which could create resale problems?
  • What closing costs are considered typical?

Use A Licensed Real Estate Agent

In what is usually an emotional decision, you need the counsel of a reputable, knowledgeable professional real estate agent who can help you buy wisely.

When shopping for a mortgage, look at the overall cost, not just the interest rate. Generally, the higher the rate, the lower the number of points charged. Make sure you understand any hidden costs or special early payment penalties which could create problems for you. Look at different mortgage products, such as shorter-term fixed-rate loans or adjustable rate loans, but be sure you understand what your “worst case scenario” is if interest rates rise.

Once you have settled on a community and seen several homes, you will be ready to make an offer on a home you like. If you and the seller, with our negotiating assistance, come to terms and you execute a sales contract, you will then finalize your mortgage and move toward closing.

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