Friday, June 21, 2019

Find your dream home with Dmitry Vikhter

Real time home search in Chicago and suburbs.

Find your dream home with Dmitry Vikhter.
Find your dream home with Dmitry Vikhter.

Find your dream home with Dmitry Vikhter.

  • Are you relocating from another area?
  • What can you truly afford?
  • Do you have a home to sell before you can buy? 

At no additional cost:

You will receive updated analytics, changes in inventory of homes, closed sales, and new listings.

We can satisfy your home search criteria and price range with the most comprehensive and detailed information from the broker's resources.    

  • Schools and neighborhood information
  • Searches by specific schools and districts    
  • Properties by type, amount of bedrooms, baths, garage and car spaces   

Four facts and stats about your future neighborhood:

  1. Housing Facts and Stats
  2. People Facts and Stats
  3. Economics Facts and Stats
  4. Quality of Life Facts and Stats
Are you ready for your home search?

Request YOUR EXCLUSIVE neighborhood report, facts and stats. 
Contact our brokers at for more information.
    Chicago North Shore. Serving first-time home buyers, secondary buyers, home sellers, and investors. Quality real estate and planning consulting services for institutional, corporate, developer, and individual investor clients and international clients.

    At Home with Diversity® certification Dmitry Vikhter
    At Home with Diversity® certification                          

    Friday, June 14, 2019

    These Tiny Changes Can Transform Your Home in a Big Way

    Visit for more articles like this.
    Copyright 2017 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®Whats the best business for location

    Wednesday, June 5, 2019

    Find the perfect home.

    I can help you find the perfect home.

    A first-time home buyer or repeat buyer, I can help you in every step of your real estate transaction, the mortgage process, pre-approval, your home search, contract, all communications with the attorneys, home inspection, and city services.  

    my unique expertise in Buffalo Grove, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village, Glencoe, Glenview, Golf, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, Lincolnwood, Long Grove, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Norridge, Northbrook, Northfield, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Riverwoods, Rosemont, Skokie, Wheeling, Wilmette and Winnetka.

    Start your home buyer application now.
    Start your home buyer application.

    Before you start looking, consider what you want in your home so your real estate broker only shows your homes that meet your needs. 

    Type of home:

    Single-family home
    Can vary greatly in size, number of rooms and building style. It's the most private kind of dwelling you can own.

    Shares a wall or other structural part with an adjoining unit, so it's not as private. You only own the space inside your unit, so that's all you pay taxes on. You'll pay homeowners association (HOA) fees to cover the cost of exterior maintenance upkeep—and those fees aren't tax deductible.

    New construction  - Ask me about new homes or new construction!
    # of bedrooms, # of bathrooms, family room, formal dining room

    Other features: 
    Garage, pool, yard, fence

    Planned unit development
    A development where buyers own individual houses and lots, but common areas are reserved for shared use and managed by a homeowners association. You'll typically pay HOA fees.

    Usually, an apartment-style building is owned by a corporation. Buyers buy stock in the corporation and have the right to live in a unit under a proprietary lease.

    Other important factors to consider: 

    If you have kids or hope to in the future, then the local public schools near your home will be important for you.

    • How are the nearby schools rated? 
    • What's the dropout rate? 
    • How far will your kids have to travel to get to school? 
    A good real estate broker should be knowledgeable about this, and you can learn more through websites like

    • How many crimes take place in the neighborhood? What kinds of crimes are most common?
    • Will you feel safe going out with your family? Talk to your real estate agent about local safety,
    • and you can also talk to local police. Visit the house at different times of day and night to see
    • who's out, and what it's like after sunset.
    • How long will your commute to work be?
    • How busy are the streets around your property?
    • How much noise does the traffic make?
    • How easy is it to get around for basics like grocery shopping?
    Privacy and neighbors
    • Are there lots of children playing in the neighborhood, or is it quiet? 
    • Do the neighbors know each other, or mind their own business? 
    • You can talk to neighbors and your real estate broker to get a sense of what the neighborhood is like.

    Monday, May 27, 2019

    Skokie real estate

    Skokie Real Estate. Homes for Sale in Skokie Illinois.

    Skokie Homes, Condominiums and Town homes For Sale in Skokie

    Looking To Buy or Sell in Skokie?

    Whether you’re an owner looking to protect your investment or tenant or buyer looking for a new home, Buy Homes America, Inc. is the leading choice. 

    Request your FREE neighborhood reports for Skokie Illinois:

    • Housing Stats and Charts 
    • People Stats and Charts
    • Economic Stats and Charts
    • CMA - Comparative Market Analysis
    • Property alerts in your email inbox

    Friday, May 24, 2019

    Jobs in real estate for motivated brokers in Chicago North

    We are looking for motivated real estate brokers to join our team. 

    Marketing real estate agents.

    Why join our team?

    Your name is unique and you deserve an individualized approach in your marketing strategy to ensure your success.

      Our managing broker, Dmitry, is a highly technical data architect. An expert in advanced data processing, real estate social media and business intelligence, Dmitry excels in Microsoft cloud solutions for small and midsize businesses while bringing his international experience to the United States.

    No franchise fees - No office fees- No royalty fees – No transaction fees – No contract renewal fees

    Technology consulting
    Marketing consulting
    Media and data management
    Technology and marketing software
    Based on your needs and usefulness to you
    Based on business needs and CE requirements

    As a leader in technology in the brokerage space, we provide differentiable skill sets for our future brokers:
    • We select critical technologies to capture real leads from real resources
    • Our "in-house" IT will develop mobile advertising to attract customers in your area of expertise
    • Long-term marketing strategies include (but not limited to) Local Ads, Geo-Targeting, Geographical Prospecting and Global Ads - no useless websites, portals or software
    • We deploy your marketing and re-marketing campaigns, focusing on targeting and retaining residential and commercial clients while complying with the Code of Ethics and License Law 
    • You will be professionally trained on a high level of real estate transactions, collaborations with partners and lenders, and customer acquisition strategies.
    • You will learn from your managing broker how to work with local multicultural consumers, international buyers, business owners, corporations, and organizations.
     We have an opportunity to market your real estate listings with businesses and proposals to the international market. We aim to reach over 60 million buyers across a vast network of over 70 publishers and 40+ countries, along with key coverage in Asia, Europe, and North & South America.

    If you would like to learn more about the marketing approaches of Buy Homes America, please take a moment to watch this video:

      "I am the managing broker and owner of Buy Home America, Inc., a real estate brokerage with plans to expand my team. With my technology expertise, my objective is to be a valuable resource for new brokers - always ready to answer their questions. In addition to advanced technology, I intend to educate potential brokers in the fields of marketing, geo-targeting, real estate transactions, start-up businesses, business relocation, and much more. After several years spent in IT-related fields as a partner for Microsoft and Intel for small and midsize businesses, I carry comprehensive knowledge to help commercial and international brokers promote their services.

    My role is specifically focused on building promotions and supporting sponsored brokers for Buy Homes America, Inc."

     - Dmitry Vikhter, Managing Broker, Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS)

    Buy Homes America, Inc. is looking for the following qualities to represent us: 
    • Residential & commercial brokers with the ability to work with business groups and commercial transactions
    • Responsiveness to clients' desires and needs
    • Self-motivation - this position is commission-based, so compensation is based on performance
    • Positive attitude - our practices are client-oriented in the business-to-consumer and business-to-business sectors
    • Strong organizational and time management skills
    • Brokers who abide by Real Estate License Law, Code of Ethics, and other specified rules, regulations, and company policies
    • Willingness to work in a multicultural environment alongside bilingual brokers    
    Employment type: Contract

    The Sponsoring Broker will consider all qualified and licensed applicants without regard to race, color, religion, citizenship, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran or marital status, or any other class protected by law.

    I understand the need for discretion and would welcome the opportunity to speak to any candidates who are considering a new career or job either now or in the future. Confidentiality is guaranteed. Please feel free to contact me at my business phone at (847) 401-8870 or direct email at                          

    Tuesday, May 14, 2019

    How Much Mortgage You Can Afford?

    How Much Mortgage You Can Afford?

    Before You Buy A Home:

    Visit for more articles like this.

    Friday, May 10, 2019

    Where are the right people for a business?

    Where are the right people for a business?

    Examine a larger geographic area and the demographics of the intended people to find the best trade areas to locate a business.
    Geographic area and the demographics.

    Find people using spending and demographic data.

    Examine a larger geographic area and the demographics of the intended people to find the best trade areas to locate a business. Then search for available commercial properties with our brokers.

    Explore demographic area reports.

    in Lake County:
    • Trade Area Report  Ranked by city, all retail spending, high disposable income, household income, and rent or own.
    In Chicago North Suburbs:
    • Trade Area Report Ranked by dining out, retail spending, avg. net worth, and spent on internet.

    Find your customers.
    "When using spending and demographic data, it's possible to review attributes and characteristics such as Who They Are, What They Do, Where They Live, What They Buy, How They Behave, other Facts & Stats. ."

    Find the best location for a business with our brokers and partners. We can help!

    What's the best business for a location?

    What's the best business for a location? 

    Search for available commercial properties with our brokers.
    Commercial real estate services.

    Find the best business for a location.

    Determine the best business for a location based on an area's demographics and existing businesses. Then search for available commercial properties with our brokers.

    View our best business reports.

    in Chicago North Suburbs:

    Now available to explore:

    What's the best location for a business?

    Where are the right people for a business?

    What's the broad area you want to search?

    Request your best report.
    "Location is pivotal in getting investment and pricing decisions spot on - identifying opportunities ahead of the competition. 
    My diverse skills are combinations of advanced analytics, digital marketing and real estate. I supply customers with the valuable information, reports and statistics."

    Find the best location for a business with our brokers and partners. We can help!

    What's the best location for a business?

    What's the best location for a business?

    Find the best spot for a business based on the type of enterprise.
    Places to find your customers..

    Best places to find your customers.

    Find the best spot for your business based on the type of enterprise and the general desired location. Then search for available commercial properties with our brokers.

    Trade analysis reports.

    Explore our data set examples from more the 30 available businesses.
    in Lake County:

    Explore related links:

    What's the broad area you want to search?

    Request your trade analysis report.
    "Real estate analytics reveals and comforts buyers with knowledge and facts about the neighborhood, its people and trends. 
    When using analytics, it's possible to review charts to understand whether the property is a good investment and a great match to your potential purchase."

    Find the best location for a business with our brokers and partners. 
    We can help!

    Friday, April 26, 2019

    What Every Seller Needs to Know About Closing

    Final Walk-Through
    Final Walk-Through.

    What Every Seller Needs to Know About Closing

    Walk-throughs, closing costs, and other items to check off your list before the big finish!

    Closing time. The end of the road. The last hurrah — and hurrahs are in order.
    If you’re here, then you’ve found a buyer, negotiated home repairs, and are ready to move out -- and on. But before you can make this sale official (and get paid!), you still have a few items to cross off your list.
    Here, we’ve laid out everything you need to know to have a successful settlement.

    Closing Is the Final Step

    Closing, or “settlement,” is when both parties sign the final ownership and insurance paperwork, and the buyer becomes the legal owner of the home.
    Typically, closing day takes place about four to six weeks after you signed a purchase and sale agreement. During this window, the buyer’s purchasing funds are held in escrow until all contingencies, like the home inspection contingency and appraisal contingency, are met.
    Your agent will be able to answer questions and offer support through closing. Here’s what to expect from the process, start to finish.

    Before You Close, You’ll Have a Final Walk-Through

    Most sales contracts give the buyer one last chance to do a walk-through of the home within 24 hours of settlement. This is their chance to check that the property is in good condition, and to make sure the agreed-upon repairs were completed.
    In most cases, no problems arise at this stage of the transaction. (If something is amiss, your agent can walk you through it.) The final walk-through mostly gives buyers peace of mind knowing that you, the seller, have adhered to the conditions of the sales contract and home inspection-related repairs.
    Related Topic: Sell a Home: Step-by-Step

    Follow These Steps to Prepare for the Final Walk-Through

    To help ensure that the walk-through goes smoothly, take these six steps ahead of time to prepare:
    Step #1: Clean house. Your home should be spotless for the final walk-through. Assuming the buyer is taking ownership on closing day, you should be fully moved out at this point. But moving can be messy. After purging, packing, and moving, you may want to do one more deep cleaning.
    Step #2: Leave owner’s manuals and warranties. Make the buyer’s life easier by providing all manuals and warranties you have for home appliances. Print physical copies and put these documents in one place for the new owner. If you have receipts from contractors for repairs, leave them with the manuals.
    Step #3: Provide a vendor list. Give the buyer contact information for home contractors or maintenance companies that you’ve used in the past. These vendors are familiar with your home, and the new owner will appreciate having a list of servicers they can trust will take good care of their new home.
    Step #4: Check for forgotten items. Do one more check throughout the home to make sure you’re not leaving anything behind. One exception: You may want to leave unused or leftover paint cans in the colors currently in use within the home — but confirm with the buyer first.
    Step #5: Turn off water shut-off valves. The last thing you want before closing is a flood. With the buyer’s permission, turn off your house’s main shutoff valve 24 hours before closing.
    Step #6: Lock up. Until settlement is complete, you’re legally responsible for the home — meaning you’d be liable if there’s a break-in before closing. So, the day before settlement make sure to close window coverings and lock the entry doors. If a house looks un-lived in, it’s a welcome sign to burglars. It’s a good idea to leave a porch light on, or to set an interior light to turn on and off with a timer.
    If the final walk-through reveals an issue with the house, don’t panic. The standard protocol is for the buyer’s agent to immediately alert the listing agent that there’s a problem. Then, both parties work together to solve it. Typically, either the closing gets delayed or there's additional negotiation, such as monetary deduction of the sales price. In other words: There are options, and your agent can help you through this.

    Up Next: The “Closing Disclosure”

    Let’s assume the final walk-through is smooth sailing. (Woo-hoo!) What happens next?
    You’ll get info about your closing costs from the title company.
    Meanwhile, the buyer’s mortgage lender must provide the buyer with a Closing Disclosure, or CD, three business days before settlement. This is a formal statement of the buyer’s final loan terms and closing costs. As the loan borrower, the buyer is entitled to a three-day review period to see if there are any significant discrepancies between their CD and Loan Estimate (LE) — a document buyers receive when they apply for a loan. The LE outlines the approximate fees the buyer would need to pay.
    In most cases, there are no major differences between the CD and LE. However, if certain closing costs differ by 10% or more between the estimate and the disclosure, the buyer’s loan has to go back to the mortgage lender so that cost differences can be reviewed. If that happens, closing is usually delayed until the issue is resolved.

    Expect to See These People at the Closing

    The closing typically takes place at the title company, attorney’s office, or the buyer’s or seller’s agent’s real estate office. (Unless you live in a state that allows for electronic closings -- eClosings -- with remote notaries. In that case, the involved parties can opt to sign documents digitally.)
    The list of legally mandated attendees will depend on your state, but usually you’ll be joined by:
    • Your agent
    • The buyer
    • The buyer's agent
    • A title company representative
    • The loan officer
    • Any real estate attorneys involved with the transaction

    Remember to Budget for Closing Costs

    Closing costs can vary widely by location, but you’ll generally pay closing costs of 5% to 10% of the home’s sales price. So, on a $300,000 home, you can expect to pay anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 in closing costs. In most cases, these costs are deducted from your proceeds at closing.
    Closing costs for sellers typically include:
    • The commission for the listing agent and buyer’s agent
    • Transfer taxes or recording fees
    • Loan payoff costs
    • Unpaid homeowner association dues
    • Homeowner association dues included up to the settlement date
    • Prorated property taxes
    • Escrow, title, or attorney fees

    Be Sure to Bring These Things to Closing

    At the closing you should have:
    • A government-issued photo ID
    • A copy of the ratified sales contract
    • House keys, garage remotes, mailbox keys, gate keys, and any pool keys
    • A cashier’s check, or proof of wire transfer, if your closing costs are not being deducted from the sales price. (Yes, it’s OK to use a cashier’s check — especially if you don't want to deal with the hassle of a wire transfer, which can take time to clear. With a cashier's check, you're guaranteed the money you need for settlement will be there at closing.)

    Don’t Forget to Dot These I’s and Cross These T’s

    Before you rush off to pick out paint samples for your new place, remember to do these two steps that are often overlooked by sellers:
    Transfer utilities. Don’t want to pay for the new owner’s utility bills? Coordinate with the buyer so that utilities — including not only gas and electric but also water and cable — are transferred to the buyer on closing day.
    Change your address. You obviously want your mail to be sent to your new home. Setting up a forwarding address will also ensure that you can be reached if there are any post-closing matters. You can file a change of address with the U.S. Postal Service here.

    Finally: Celebrate!

    At last, your home is officially sold. Congratulations! Give yourself a pat on the back — and then start settling into your new phase of life.

    Thursday, April 11, 2019

    Before You Choose a Mortgage Lender, Read These Tips

    Single family house.
    Single family house.

    Before You Choose a Mortgage Lender, Read These Tips

    Someone out there wants to help save you time, stress, and money. Here’s how you find them.

    Everyone in the market for a house has different wants — pre-war charm, a lush backyard, a welcoming front door in Pantone Ultra Violet, perhaps — but at the end of the day, they all share a need in common: money. Lots of it.

    That’s where your mortgage lender comes in.

    The right lender can save you time, anxiety, and loads of cash. And the right loan officer — the professional who represents the lender — can be a powerful ally when you close on a mortgage. As with any potentially life-altering partnership, it’s important to choose wisely.

    Only You Know Which Lender Is Your Type

    There are three types of mortgage lenders — retail banks, credit unions, and mortgage banks — as well as mortgage brokers, who compare loan products via a coterie of potential lenders to help you, the client, find the right one. Before you start narrowing down the candidates, you have to know what you’re looking for, and where to find it. Let’s talk about your options.

    Retail Banks

    What they are: These are your Chases and Banks of America, plus your local banks. They do their own underwriting (in a nutshell, investigating your finances), so retail banks, especially the smaller ones, can sometimes offer lower fees and less-stringent credit requirements. If you like to have your accounts all in one place, you may want to use your own bank or credit union.
    Who you’ll work with: You’ll be assigned a loan officer, who will receive a commission or bonus for writing your loan.

    Credit Unions

    What they are: They’re not-for-profit and customer-owned, so they’re not beholden to shareholders like a bank. Because of that and their not-for-profit tax status, they typically offer more personal service and lower fees. The flip side is less convenience: They have fewer branches and ATMs.
    And to apply for a loan, you must be a member of the credit union’s community, which could be faith-, employment-, interest-, or union-based, among other things. That said, it’s typically not difficult to become a member; the National Credit Union Administration’s Credit Union Locator is a tool for finding credit unions near you.
    Who you’ll work with: As with a bank, you’ll be assigned a loan officer, who will receive a commission or bonus for writing your loan.

    Mortgage Banks

    What they are: These banks, such as AimLoan and PennyMac, only offer home loans. Many {{ start_tip 75 }}online lenders,{{ end_tip }} like Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans, operate as mortgage banks.
    Who you’ll work with: A mortgage bank will assign you a loan officer, who will receive a commission or bonus from the lender’s gross fees for writing your loan. An online lender is going to offer less hand-holding.

    Mortgage Brokers

    What they are: Mortgage brokers are essentially personal home loan shoppers — they act as liaisons between home buyers and mortgage lenders to help people find the lowest rates and the best mortgage terms. They’re able to get home buyers the best mortgage rates because they leverage their existing relationships with lenders — something individual home buyers can’t do. By doing the heavy lifting for the borrower, the idea is that they make loan shopping more convenient — and perhaps a bit faster.
    Who you’ll work with: A mortgage broker can be an individual agent or a group of agents, who act as independent contractors. In exchange for their services, mortgage brokers typically charge a 1% to 2% fee of the loan amount, which is either paid by the borrower or the lender at closing.
    Now that you’re armed with the basics, you’ll want to give yourself time to weigh the options about which lender, exactly, to work with.

    It Pays to Shop Around Before You Commit

    Over the life of the loan, seemingly subtle differences could add up to tens of thousands of dollars. That money belongs to future you and all your dream vacations, renovations, and remodeling #goals.
    So before you choose your specific lender ...
    • Thoroughly research any retail bank, credit union, mortgage bank, mortgage broker, or online option you’re considering. Make sure you’re clear on what they can offer you. About one in five (21%) home buyers said they regret their choice of mortgage lender, according to a recent J.D. Power survey. You’re doing your homework so that won’t be you.

    • Interview lenders. You’re aiming for a shortlist of three. (You’ll see why it’s three in a minute.) If you’re thinking about selecting an online lender, make sure you take into account these tips and tricks.

    • Don’t be shy about seeking advice. Survey your family, friends, and coworkers — especially the ones who are nerdy about money.

    • Ask your real estate agent for a second opinion. They have experience with reputable lenders, particularly in your city or town.

    Now, let’s say you’ve narrowed your list of potential lenders to at least three candidates. The next step? Finding out whether they will give you a loan.

    You Should Seek Out a Lender’s (Pre-)Approval, Too

    There’s a world of difference between being pre-qualified for a loan and being pre-approved. Pre-approval means you’ve got skin in the game. It means you’re a boss. And it’s proof that you can buy.
    Besides being the grown-up thing to do, pre-approval puts you in a better position when you make an offer. Everyone takes you more seriously. Pre-approval provides evidence to your real estate agent and the seller (or seller’s agent) that a trusted financial institution is willing to finance the purchase.

    In most housing markets, sellers are going to expect your to be pre-approved when you make your offer. And when you’re pre-approved, you’re more likely to have your offer accepted — or at least, you won’t lose out on a bid because you have to go back to the bank to get approved for a loan.

    As for pre-qualification, it’s an approximation and not necessary unless you have no clue about your creditworthiness and just want a snapshot.

    By contrast, with a pre-approval, a lender typically goes deeper and tells you more specifically how big a loan you can get. Caution here: Just because the lender says you can take out a loan for an amount, doesn't mean you should. Consider your lifestyle and monthly budget to decide on the responsible loan amount for you.
    To get pre-approved, you must also authorize a lender to {{ start_tip 73 }}pull your credit.{{ end_tip }}
    • Borrowers with credit scores of 760 or higher can typically qualify for the lowest interest rates. 

    • Borrowers with credit scores below 650 may need to apply for a non-conventional mortgage, such as a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan — a government-backed loan that requires a minimum credit score of 580 but lets borrowers make as low as a 3.5% down payment.
    • Borrowers with credit scores below 580 can still qualify for FHA loans, but they’ll have to make at least a 10% down payment. The lower the score, the tighter the requirements become.

    When you’re pre-approved, you’ll receive a Loan Estimate. This three-page document is about to be your new best friend.

    It Makes Good Sense to Get Pre-Approved by at Least Three Lenders

    A Loan Estimate spells out a future loan’s terms, including:
    • The interest rate

    • The length of the loan

    • Estimated costs of taxes and insurance 

    • How interest rates and payments might change over time 

    • Other important financials 

    By comparing loan estimates, you can effectively size up your loan options and decide which lender is best for you — and your future. (If you need help navigating the details, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers a sample Loan Estimate with helpful tips and definitions.)
    Getting pre-approval early in the process also gives you an edge over other buyers. Here’s why:
    • The amount you’re approved for can help you determine your price range, and thus save time and frustration when shopping. 

    • It sends a signal to your agent and sellers that you’re serious about buying a home.

    • It’ll help you move quickly to make an offer when you see a home you like.

    And it’s an excuse to celebrate! You now have everything you need to move ahead with that one special lender — and, at the same time, connect with an officer or broker who can help you select the home loan product that’s best for you.
    So have a cocktail. Do a dance. Lay back and relax in one of those fancy sheet masks. You’re a (huge) step closer to getting a new house.

    Friday, March 29, 2019

    Make an Offer Like a Boss

    Real estate contract
    Real estate contract.

    Make an Offer Like a Boss

    Ah, the offer!
    Know Your Limits | Learn to Speak "Contract" | Set Your Price | Figure Out Your Down Payment | Make an Earnest Money Deposit | Review Contingency Plans | Read the Fine Print | Make a Date to Settle | Write a Fan Letter to the Seller | Brace Yourself for a Counteroffer
    Cinematically speaking, this is the iconic moment — we’d forgive you if you imagined, say, putting a hand on your agent’s shoulder and whispering (in your best Vito Corleone) that you’re going to make them an offer they can’t refuse.
    In reality, it’s not that simple (or dramatic). Your offer marks the beginning of a {{ start_tip 80 }}back-and-forth between you and the seller,{{ end_tip }} typically with real estate agents advising you both.
    The more intentional you are about your offer, the better your chances of making a successful bid. Follow these 10 steps, and you’ll be well prepared — that’s a true story. ("The Godfather" again. We couldn’t resist.)

    #1 Know Your Limits

    Your agent will help you craft a winning offer. You can trust your agent’s advice on price, contingencies, and other terms of the deal: It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. The more collaborative you are with your agent, the more quickly you’ll be able to move.
    But ultimately, it’s you who decides what the offer will be — and you who knows what your financial and lifestyle limits are. Buying a home means mixing strong emotions with business savvy, so now is also a good time to reflect on your “musts.”
    • Have a top limit to your offer price because you’re also saving for retirement and love beach vacations? Stick to it.
    • Want a vegetable garden or to paint your home’s exterior purple? Make sure your homeowners association rules permit it.
    • Besides reading HOA rules, find out how much the HOA has in reserves to cover common area repairs. You don't want to be slapped unexpectedly with a special assessment.
    • Want a dog-friendly community? Make sure there are no pet weight limits preventing you from cohabitating with your (extra-large) {{ start_tip 82 }}canine bestie.{{ end_tip }}

    #2 Learn to Speak "Contract"

    Essentially, an offer is a contract. The documents and wording vary across the country.
    In the spirit of due diligence, take time to review sample offer forms before you’ve found a house ( has purchase agreements for each state). If you’re high-maintenance, a real estate attorney can explain the documents to you so you’re familiar with their vocabulary when you’re ready to pull the trigger on an offer with your agent. Your agent will have offer forms for your state.
    Explore More Topics:
    Make an Offer & Negotiate
    Buy a Home: Step-by-Step

    #3 Set Your Price

    Homes always have a listing price. Think of it as the seller’s opening bid in your negotiation to buy a home.
    As the buyer, your offer will include an offer price. This is the first thing home sellers look at when they receive a bid.
    Your agent will help you determine whether the seller’s listing price is fair by running comps (or comparables), a process that involves comparing the house you’re bidding on to similar properties that recently sold in the neighborhood.
    Several factors can also affect your bargaining position and offer price. For example, if the home has been sitting on the market for a while, or you’re in a buyer’s market where supply exceeds demand, the seller may be willing to accept an offer that’s below the list price. Or if the seller has already received another offer on the home, that may impact the price you’re willing to offer. Your agent will help you understand the context here.

    #4 Figure Out Your Down Payment

    To get a mortgage, you have to make a down payment on your loan. For conventional loans (as opposed to government loans), making a 20% down payment enables borrowers to avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), a monthly premium that protects the lender in case the borrower defaults on the loan.
    But 20% isn’t always feasible — or even necessary. In fact, the median down payment was 10% in 2017, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Your lender will help you determine what the best down payment amount is for your finances. Depending on the type of loan you get, you may even be able to put down as little as 0% on your mortgage.
    You might qualify for one of the more than 2,400 down payment assistance programs nationwide. Many of them make funds available to households earning as much as 175% of area median income. In other words, middle-income households. And the savings can be substantial: Home buyers who use down payment assistance programs save an average of $17,766 over the life of their loan, according to real estate resource RealtyTrac. Find out more about down payment assistance programs in your state.
    You can use an online mortgage calculator to see how different down payments would affect your mortgage premiums and how much you’ll pay in interest.

    #5 Show the Seller You’re Serious: Make a Deposit

    An EMD — short for earnest money deposit — is the sum of money you put down as evidence to the seller that you’re serious (read: earnest) about buying the house. If the seller accepts your offer, the earnest money will go toward your down payment at closing. However, if you try to back out of the deal, you might have to forfeit the cash to the seller.
    A standard EMD is 1% to 3% of the sales price of the home (so, that would be $2,000 to $6,000 on a $200,000 loan). But depending on how hot the market is where you live, you may want to put down more earnest money to compete with other offers.
    In most cases, the title company is responsible for holding the earnest money in an escrow account. In the event the deal falls through, the title company will disperse the funds appropriately based on the terms of the sales contract. Title companies also check for defects or liens on a seller’s title to make sure it can be transferred cleanly to you.

    #6 Review the Contingency Plans

    Most real estate offers include contingencies — provisions that must be met before the transaction can go through, or the buyer is entitled to walk away from the deal with their EMD.
    For example, if an offer says, “This contract is contingent upon a home inspection,” the buyer has a set number of days after the offer is accepted to do an inspection of the property with a licensed or certified home inspector.
    If something is wrong with the house, the buyer can request the seller to make repairs. But most repairs are negotiable; the seller may agree to some, but say no to others. Or the seller can offer a price reduction, or a credit at closing, based on the cost of the repairs. This is where your real estate agent can offer real value and counsel on what you should ask the seller to fix.
    Just remember to keep your eye on the big picture. If you and the seller are bickering over a $500 repair to the hardwood floors, keep in mind that’s a drop in the bucket in relation to the size of the bid.
    In addition to the aforementioned home inspection contingency, other common contingencies include:
    • A financing contingency, which gives home buyers a specified amount of time to get a loan that will cover the mortgage.
    • An appraisal contingency, where a third-party appraiser hired by the lender evaluates the fair-market value of the home to ensure the home is worth enough money to serve as collateral for the value of the mortgage.
    • A clear title contingency, where the buyer’s title company verifies that the seller is the sole owner of the property and can legally convey ownership to the buyer.
    • A home sale contingency, where the transaction is dependent on the sale of the buyer’s current home.
    Although contingencies can offer protection to buyers, they can also make offers less appealing to the seller because they give buyers legal ways to back out of the sale without any financial repercussions. So, if you’re going up against multiple offers, making an offer with fewer contingencies can potentially give you an edge over the competition.
    In other words: A chill offer is an attractive offer. But keep in mind you have to be comfortable with the risks that come with this strategy. If you don’t have a financing contingency, for example, and you can’t get a mortgage, you’d likely lose your earnest money deposit since you’re on the hook. (An outcome that’s decidedly un-chill for you.)

    #7 Read the Fine Print About the Property

    The sales contract states key information about the property, such as the address, tax ID, and the types of utilities: public water or private well, gas or electric heating, and so on. It also includes a section that specifies what personal property and fixtures the seller agrees to leave behind, like appliances, lighting fixtures, and window shades. The seller provides prospective buyers with a list of these items before they submit an offer. This can be another area of negotiation.
    Carefully reviewing the property description also helps you know, for example, if the seller plans to take that unattached kitchen island with them when they move. (Stranger things have happened.)

    #8 Make a Date to Settle

    The sales contract you submit to the seller must include a proposed settlement date, which confirms when the transaction will be finalized. The clock starts as soon as the purchase agreement is signed. If you don’t close on time, the party that’s responsible for the delay may have to pay the other party compensation in the form of “penalty interest” at a predetermined rate.
    A 30- to 60-day settlement period is common because it gives the typical home buyer time to complete a title search and obtain mortgage approval, but settlement periods can vary. Some sellers, for example, prefer a longer period so they have more time to move or look for their next house. Being flexible, with respect to the closing date, could give you more negotiating power in another area of the deal.
    One thing that’s the same no matter where you live is that you’ll have a three-day period prior to settlement to review the Closing Disclosure, or CD — a five-page form that states your final loan terms and closing costs.
    Once the sales contract is signed, the parties can change the settlement date if they both sign an addendum specifying the new day.

    #9 Write a Fan Letter to the Seller

    Want to make a truly compelling offer? Pull on the seller’s heartstrings by attaching a personal letter to the bid documents. Tell a compelling story about your family and your connection to the area. Get deep about your roots.
    Also, sincere flattery can go a long way. Compliment the seller on how their kitchen renovation looks Apartment Therapy–worthy, for instance, or how the succulents in their landscaping remind you of a resort in Palm Springs.
    Your agent can help you gather background on the sellers (e.g., are they crazy about their labradoodle, like you are about yours? Did they run a small business from the home, like you dream of doing?). And you should — of course — refer to information you gleaned during the open house or private showing. Use this intel to write a message that really speaks to the seller, and it may very well seal the deal.

    #10 Brace Yourself for a Counteroffer

    If you’re making a lowball bid or going up against multiple offers, the seller may decide to make you a counteroffer — a purchase agreement with new terms, such as a higher sales price or fewer contingencies.
    At that point, it’s up to you to accept the new contract, make your own counteroffer to the sellers, or walk away.
    Don’t panic: The next part of our guide walks you through the counteroffer process, and it offers strategies to give you more negotiating power.

    Tuesday, March 26, 2019

    The Everything Guide to Selling Your First Home

    For Sale. Sold.

    The Everything Guide to Selling Your First Home

    By HouseLogic
    How to figure out exactly what you want, and how to work with the experts who’ll help you get it.

    Selling, a famous salesman once said, is essentially a transfer of feelings.
    You love and cherish your home. You want the next owner to fall in love with it, too — through photos, through words, and through the experience of walking through your front door. But, perhaps most, you want to get the price you want.
    This isn’t a small task. Selling a home requires work. It requires time. The journey isn’t always easy. There will be frustrations. But when you seal the deal and move on to your next chapter — wow, what a blissful, boss feeling.
    Below, we preview and link to each step in your journey. We’ll discuss how to know what you want (and what your partner wants, if you’re selling together). How to understand the market, and ways to make a plan. And most importantly? How to create relationships with experts and trust them to help you get the job done.
    Now, let’s talk about selling your house.
    Jump to a specific home selling step using these links:
    Know What You Want | Do Your Research | Interview and Select an Agent | Price Your Home | Prep Your Home for Sale | Market Your Home | Showcase Your Home | Receive Offers | Negotiate With the Buyer | Negotiate Home Inspection Repairs | Close the Sale

    Know, Exactly, What You Want

    First things first: You need to know what you want (and what your partner wants) in order to sell your home with minimum frustration. Why are you moving? What do you expect from the process? When, exactly, should you put that For Sale sign in the yard? We can help you get your thoughts in order with this home selling worksheet.

    Do Your Research

    Unless you bought your home last week, the housing market changed since you became a homeowner. Mortgage rates fluctuate, inventory shifts over time — these are just a few of the factors that affect the state of the market, and every market is unique. Educate yourself on what to expect. Start with our study guide on the market.
    Related Topic: Sell a Home: Step-by-Step

    Interview and Select an Agent

    This is the most important relationship you’ll form on your home selling journey. Pick the right agent and you’ll likely get a better sales price for your house. Here’s how to find and select the expert who’s right for you.

    Price Your Home

    How much is your home worth? That’s the … $300,000 question. Whatever the number, you need to know it. This is how your agent will help you pinpoint the price.

    Prep Your Home for Sale

    Today, home buyers have unfettered access to property listings online, so you have to make a great first impression — on the internet and IRL. That means you’ll have to declutter all the stuff you’ve accumulated over the years, make any necessary repairs, and get your home in swoon-worthy condition. Here’s how to stage your home.

    Market Your Home

    Home buyers look at countless listings online. The best-marketed homes have beautiful photos and compelling property descriptions, so they can get likes — which can amount to buyer interest — on social media. Some agents are even using videos, virtual tours, texts, and audio messages. It’s time to consider how to promote your property.

    Showcase Your Home

    One of the best ways to get buyers in the door is to have an open house. This is your chance to show off your home’s best assets, and help buyers envision themselves living there. Know how your agent will organize, advertise, and host the event to ensure it’s a success.

    Receive Offers

    Yes, you might get offers plural, depending on your market. Assuming you’ve collaborated with your agent, you’ve likely positioned yourself to receive attractive bids. Your agent will review each offer with you to determine which is best for you. (Read: The offer price isn’t the only factor to consider: Here’s why.)

    Negotiate With the Buyer

    To get the best deal for you, you’ll likely have to do some negotiating. Your agent will help you craft a strategic counteroffer to the buyer’s offer, factoring in not only money, but contingencies, etc. Let’s talk about how to ask for what you want.

    Negotiate Home Inspection Repairs

    Ah, the home inspection. It’s as much a source of anxiety for buyers as it is for sellers. Nonetheless, most purchase agreements are contingent on a home inspection (plus an appraisal, which will be managed by the buyer’s lender). This gives the buyer the ability to inspect the home from top to bottom and request repairs — some even could be required per building codes. The upshot: You have some room to negotiate, including about certain repairs. Once again, your agent will be there to help you effectively communicate with the buyer.

    Close the Sale

    Settlement, or closing, is the last step in the home selling process. This is where you sign the final paperwork, make this whole thing official, and collect your check. Before that can happen though, you’ll have to prepare your home for the buyer’s final walk-through and troubleshoot any last-minute issues. We’ve got you covered with this closing checklist.