01 COUNSELING SESSION


WHY WE SHOULD TALK FIRST

  1. Evaluate buyer’s wants & needs
  2. Explore possible solutions
  3. Explain time line for process
  4. Review BBS buyer agency services
  5. Explain how buyer agency gets paid
  6. Agent interviews buyer
  7. Buyer interviews agent
This step takes 1-2 hours and is provided by our company with no obligation. It provides an opportunity for buyer and agent to ask questions and determine if working together will be in the best interest of both parties. It is best if it can be done in person, but we can make arrangements where distance prohibits such a meeting.

We make no bones about being a "different" kind of real estate company. We do not intend to SELL you a piece of real estate. We DO want to assist you in purchasing real estate that best meets your needs. We want to always represent your interest. We cannot promise that to you until we know your goals and we can evaluate the plausibility of reaching them. We are patient and not pushy, but we don't want to waste your time or ours. Therefore, we offer our upfront one-hour counseling session so you can get answers to your questions and we can get answers to our questions. We both decide if we can work together!

Set Up a 'NO-Strings Counseling Session!




02 THE SEARCH


IT'S NOT JUST WINDOW SHOPPING ONLINE Here's how we help you beyond the Redfins and Zillows:

  1. Assist buyer in obtaining pre-approval
  2. Provide general information regarding towns schools, taxes, market conditions, etc.
  3. Provide daily searches through local MLS systems for properties meeting buyer’s needs
  4. Search For-Sale-By-Owner, bank-owned, foreclosures and auctions for properties
  5. Set up viewings of properties with buyer pointing out positive and negative features
  6. Help buyer select and eliminate homes
  7. Help buyer focus and narrow search if necessary
WHERE WE SEARCH

Once you have established your wants and needs, your price range, the area and the time frame for your purchase…you are ready to start the search. So where do we look for homes?

MLS: The Multiple Listing Service [MLS] is the generic term for the computer based systems used by local Realtors® to compile all their listings in one place or database. Depending on where you are looking, there may be many different systems servicing the same area. Lucky for you that NH and Maine each have statewide systems! Because we are members of both systems we can virtually sit in our office and access all properties listed throughout Maine and NH by participating Realtors®. Those listings represent the majority of available homes in our service area [see Towns We Service]. Bank-owned, foreclosed and short sale properties are typically included.

FSBO: FSBO [For Sale By Owner] properties are another source for searching. Sometimes finding these properties is the hardest part. A seller may use one of the Internet services, local papers, or only a sign posted in front of the property. You may be a tenant who is considering a purchase from your landlord, but not sure if you should. At BBS we will always be YOUR agent so we can represent you in any purchase regardless of the seller source.

AUCTION: An auction has been an alternative method for selling property for hundreds of years in all markets. A seller hires a professional auctioneer who will assess, package and market the property and schedule a specific time when property will be sold. There will be public notice about two weeks prior to the auction and materials are available regarding how to register, who can register, how the auction will occur [contents before structure, multiple properties, etc] and what type of auction. Estate auctions are used to settle estates and usually include much of the property’s contents which could include animals, collections, etc. These events many times are all day and attract many types of buyers. Foreclosure auctions are famous for being “cancelled” [see Foreclosure], but when held usually have a reserved or minimum bid which if not reached, means the seller [the bank] will retain ownership. Auctions are far more common in other parts of our country, but can be an excellent alternative and expedient method for selling a property. As YOUR buyer’s agent, we can help you prepare to be an auction bidder and will attend the auction with you.

HUD Homes: HUD is the Department of Housing and Urban Development and was established through the U.S. Housing Act of 1937. Its main purpose at that time was to provide subsidies to local public agencies that rented housing to low-income families. In 1965 it became a Cabinet level agency.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is part of HUD. FHA-insured loans provide lenders assurance of payment. When a lender forecloses on an FHA-insured home, the lender can file a claim with FHA for the balance due on the mortgage and will in turn convey title to HUD. Thus they become ‘HUD Homes’.
HUD Homes are first offered to consumers, especially those using an FHA loan. After an initial “bidding” period, they will then be able to be purchased by any qualifying consumer, including investors. They most often are empty and quite reasonable priced. Although they are sold “as is”, HUD requires some testing before listing them for sale and encourages the buyer to have a home inspection. We can show you HUD homes and we can take you through the complete bidding and acquisition process. CALL us today 603-654-9935 to find out more.

FORECLOSURE: When a mortgaged property owner gets significantly “behind” in making payments, the lender has the right to reclaim or “take the property back”. The lender, commonly referred to as the bank, then becomes the owner, thus the property becomes “bank-owned”. Lenders are in the business of lending money and generally have no interest in being property owners. The two most common methods for disposing of the property are at auction [FORECLOSURE AUCTION] or through local Realtors® and the MLS system. Both the auction and the bank owned property in MLS will be sold at a price that at least meets a minimum set up by the bank to cover their costs of reclaiming the property. The banks make little to no representation regarding property history and condition of the property varies greatly, so having your BBS agent assist you in such a purchase is priceless. The number of available bank-owned properties that also meet your wants and needs will depend on market conditions [see MARKET].

SHORT SALE: A short sale is one in which the seller is in “pre-foreclosure”. They have gotten behind in payments; they are talking to the lender and trying to sell their home for less than is owed. To do so, they must have the lender’s approval. When these work out, they can almost be a win-win for everyone. The lender avoids expense of foreclosure and disposing of property; the seller avoids having a “foreclosure” in their credit history; the buyer gets the property for less than they might have paid had it not been a short sale. You really need your BBS agent for this type of sale to help you: 1) assess that the short sale is really a good buy 2) stay on top of the lender driven procedure requiring constant monitoring 3) help you determine if this type of purchase really meets your wants and needs.

NOT FOR SALE: In establishing your wants and needs, you may discover that your search is extremely focused…to one neighborhood…and nothing is for sale there! Your BBS agent represents you. We can make inquiries to homeowner’s in that neighborhood on your behalf. Since we do not list homes for sale, our inquiries separate us from the average “let me list your home” letters they receive from most agents and can produce a serious seller.

YOUR UNCLE: Maybe you don’t need to search for a property…your uncle already has one. You’d like to buy it; he’d like to sell it…but there are lingering doubts. How do you know what it’s worth? How do you finance it? Should you compare it to other things? Maybe it’s not the best property for you. Your BBS agent can work for you on an hourly basis [see Menu of Services] and help provide professional guidance in an awkward situation.




03 OFFER & NEGOTIATIONS


THE BASICS OF MAKING AN OFFER

Provide CMA [Comparative Market Analysis] to help buyer determine present market value

  • Explain offer form, process and options
  • Provide home inspection options and time frame guideline
  • Investigate all reasonable details regarding property and seller motivation
  • Utilize above steps to determine offering price, terms and negotiating strategy
  • Prepare Purchase & Sales Agreement and present to Seller/Seller’s agent
  • Negotiate on behalf of Buyer until process is complete
This step can take 1-30 days although generally the faster this step proceeds, the better the outcome. Delays can understandably occur when there is great distance [whether physical or agreement-wise] between the parties!

THE ART OF THE DEAL - NEGOTIATION

Oral promises are not legally enforceable when it comes to the sale of real estate. Therefore, you need to enter into a written contract, which starts with your written proposal. This proposal not only specifies price, but all the terms and conditions of the purchase. For example, if the sellers said they’d help with $2,000 toward your closing costs, be sure that’s included in your written offer and in the final completed contract, or you won’t have grounds for collecting it later. REALTORS® usually have a variety of standard forms (including Residential Purchase Agreements) that are kept up to date with the changing laws. When you use a REALTOR® these forms will be available to you. In addition, REALTORS® cover the questions that need to be answered during the process. In many states certain disclosure laws must be complied with by the seller, and the REALTOR® will ensure that this takes place. If you are not working with a REALTOR®, keep in mind that you must draw up a purchase offer or contract that conforms to state and local laws and that incorporates all of the key items. State laws vary, and certain provisions may be required in your area. After the offer is drawn up and signed, it will usually be presented to the seller by your REALTOR®, by the seller’s REALTOR® if that’s a different agent, or often by the two together. In a few areas, sales contracts are typically drawn up by the parties’ lawyers.

WHAT THE OFFER CONTAINS

The purchase offer you submit, if accepted as it stands, will become a binding sales contract (known in some areas as a purchase agreement, earnest money agreement or deposit receipt). It’s important, therefore, that it contains all the items that will serve as a “blueprint for the final sale.” These purchase offer items include such things as: Address and sometimes a legal description of the property Sale price Terms – for example, all cash or subject to your obtaining a mortgage for a given amount Seller’s promise to provide clear title (ownership) Target date for closing (the actual sale) Amount of earnest money deposit accompanying the offer, and whether it’s a check, cash or promissory note, and how it’s to be returned to you if the offer is rejected – or kept as damages if you later back out for no good reason Method by which real estate taxes, rents, fuel, water bills and utilities are to be adjusted (prorated) between buyer and seller Provisions about who will pay for title insurance, survey, termite inspections and the like Type of deed to be given Other requirements specific to your state, which might include a chance for attorney review of the contract, disclosure of specific environmental hazards or other state-specific clauses A provision that the buyer may make a last-minute walk-through inspection of the property just before the closing A time limit (preferably short) after which the offer will expire Contingencies, which are an extremely important matter and discussed in detail below.

CONTINGENCIES

If your offer says “this offer is contingent upon (or subject to) a certain event,” you’re saying that you will only go through with the purchase if that event occurs. The following are two common contingencies contained in a purchase order: The buyer obtaining specific financing from a lending institution. If the loan can’t be found, the buyer won’t be bound by the contract. A satisfactory report by a home inspector “within 10 days (for example) after acceptance of the offer.” The seller must wait 10 days to see if the inspector submits a report that satisfies you. If not, the contract would become void. Again, make sure that all the details are nailed down in the written contract.

NEGOTIATING TIPS
  • You’re in a strong bargaining position – meaning, you look particularly welcome to a seller – if:
  • You’re an all-cash buyer; or
  • You’re already pre-approved for a mortgage; and
  • You don’t have a present house that has to be sold before you can afford to buy.
In those circumstances, you may be able to negotiate some discount from the listed price. On the other hand, in a “hot” seller’s market, if the perfect house comes on the market, you may want to offer the listed price (or more) to beat out other early offers.

It’s very helpful to find out why the house is being sold and whether the seller is under pressure. Keep these considerations in mind: Every month a vacant house remains unsold represents considerable extra expenses for the seller; If the sellers are divorcing, they may just want out quickly; and Estate sales often yield a bargain in return for a prompt deal.

EARNEST MONEY

This is a deposit that you give when making an offer on a house. A seller is understandably suspicious of a written offer that is not accompanied by a cash deposit to show “good faith.” A REALTOR® or an attorney usually holds the deposit, the amount of which varies from community to community. This will become part of your down payment.

BUYERS: THE SELLER’S RESPONSE TO YOUR OFFER

You will have a binding contract if the seller, upon receiving your written offer, signs an acceptance just as it stands, unconditionally. The offer becomes a firm contract as soon as you are notified of acceptance. If the offer is rejected, that’s that, and the sellers could not later change their minds and hold you to it. If the seller likes everything except the sale price, or the proposed closing date, or the basement pool table you want left with the property, you may receive a written counteroffer, with the changes the seller prefers. You are then free to accept or reject it or to even make your own counteroffer. For example, “We accept the counteroffer with the higher price, except that we still insist on having the pool table.” Each time either party makes any change in the terms, the other side is free to accept or reject it, or counter again. The document becomes a binding contract only when one party finally signs an unconditional acceptance of the other side’s proposal.

WITHDRAWING AN OFFER

Can you take back an offer? In most cases the answer is yes, right up until the moment it is accepted, or even in some cases, if you haven’t yet been notified of acceptance. If you do want to revoke your offer, be sure to do so only after consulting a lawyer who is experienced in real estate matters. You don’t want to lose your earnest money deposit, or find yourself being sued for damages the seller may have suffered by relying on your actions.




04 CONTRACT SIGNING TO CLOSING DAY


  • Help buyer coordinate home inspection, attend inspection, and help buyer respond to it
  • Get needed documents to lender and monitor during this period
  • Make sure all contingencies are completed within the terms of agreement
  • Assist buyer with contacts for moving, setting up utilities and services
  • Help buyer secure insurance and provide binder to lender
  • Help buyer select a closing attorney or title company!
This step can take 7-90 days and is probably the most underrated and most important parts of the process. Many a home has been lost because someone dropped the ball during this step. When these periods are longer, the buyer begins to forget they are moving and may actually leave things to the last minute HOME INSPECTION This is where strong negotiations come into play as most home inspections (properly done) will turn up hidden issues that may not be required in the seller's disclosure. CONTRACT TO CLOSE - TO DO LIST A lot happens after the agreement to purchase is signed before there is a closing. Buyer:
  1. Home Inspection & Response to Seller
  2. Supply any documents lender may need
  3. Review and complete any other contingencies
  4. Prepare items for move and moving company [see Moving Resources]
  5. Transfer/sign-up/shut off utilities
Lender:
  1. Collect necessary documents from buyer
  2. Order appraisal
  3. Prepare and send loan package to under writer
  4. Send package to the title attorney for closing
Title:
  1. Prepare abstract of title [title search]
  2. Gather proration information, lender’s package
  3. Prepare the HUD [Closing Statement] and documents for closing
  4. Schedule closing and notify the parties
  5. Conduct closing, record documents and accounting
Agent: Coordinates and communicates with all the parties above to provide for a smooth transaction!




05 WHAT HAPPENS AT THE CLOSING?


TOP 11 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT A CLOSING

  • Go over closing figures with Buyer prior to closing
  • Go with Buyer to final walk through before closing
  • Attend closing with buyer
  • Return retainer to buyer at closing
This step takes 1-2 hours which seems a bit quick after all the preparation! But most closings are very informative and many times are the first time buyers and sellers have met! It can be a wonderful opportunity for sharing special information about the property and the neighborhood and many times the parties eagerly exchange contact information. The agent attends the closing but the closing is under the direction of the attorney or title company who coordinates all the paper work and the monies. It is at this time that the agent will receive a commission check for the company for which they work. They will in turn receive a portion of that check for being your agent. TOP 11 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT A CLOSING
  • Apply early for homeowners insurance and fill out/sign any necessary paper work
  • Ask for a commitment letter – then READ IT! (Bring to closing)
  • Be sure that the title company gets a copy of any addendums, especially if they pertain to sales price or seller paids.
  • If somebody is a non-borrower but wants to go on title, we need to get approval from the lender in advance.
  • Ask for a good faith estimate – remember that it is an ESTIMATE!
  • If money needs to be moved around from multiple accounts/states, etc., make sure this is done at least a few days prior to closing. If they are wiring from out of state, they will have to be at that out of state bank to request the wire. Most banks will not do this over the phone. If they are withdrawing funds from an investment account, it frequently takes two weeks to free up those funds.
  • If coming from a prior closing, the buyer will need to tell the other attorney ahead of time that we need certified funds or a bank check. Especially if they are coming from out of state, make these arrangements early!
  • Keep in mind that when we close a brokered loan, the closing time is often dictated to us by the investor – before lining up movers, they should make sure their investor will be funding us etc, especially for early morning closings.
  • Buyers should remember that fuel prorations are usually not included in the numbers we give out and mostly handled outside of closing. Water & Sewer are also not included on the HUD unless final bills are provided to us in advance by one of the parties or their realtor.
  • If we say we are tentatively scheduling a closing, remember the tentative part! The lender ultimately controls when the loan will be able to close.
  • Bring ID!! Listing agents should be reminded that if the seller has no ID, he or she cannot receive any proceeds.
C.L.U.E.® REPORT (MORE INFO BELOW...) in compliance with FACT Act The C.L.U.E. Personal Property report provides a seven year history of losses associated with an individual and his/her personal property. The following data will be identified for each loss: date of loss, loss type, and amount paid along with general information such as policy number, claim number and insurance company name.




06 POST CLOSING DAY


WE FOLLOW UP TO ENSURE A SMOOTH TRANSITION

  • Place BOUGHT sign on the property for 30 days and mail introductory piece to neighborhood
  • Provide bi-monthly newsletter updates
  • Be available for real estate consultation
  • Resource Database Availability
  • Yearly Home Anniversary Reminder
  • Available to provide referral serviceconnecting sellers and buyers with real estate professionals throughout the world
  • We want to be your Real Estate Connection Professional!
We STAY CONNECTED after you close! Over 95% of our business comes from PAST CLIENTS - once you become one, we want to HEAR from you again!





Buying a House FAQs

01 COUNSELING SESSION


WHY WE SHOULD TALK FIRST

  1. Evaluate buyer’s wants & needs
  2. Explore possible solutions
  3. Explain time line for process
  4. Review BBS buyer agency services
  5. Explain how buyer agency gets paid
  6. Agent interviews buyer
  7. Buyer interviews agent
This step takes 1-2 hours and is provided by our company with no obligation. It provides an opportunity for buyer and agent to ask questions and determine if working together will be in the best interest of both parties. It is best if it can be done in person, but we can make arrangements where distance prohibits such a meeting.

We make no bones about being a "different" kind of real estate company. We do not intend to SELL you a piece of real estate. We DO want to assist you in purchasing real estate that best meets your needs. We want to always represent your interest. We cannot promise that to you until we know your goals and we can evaluate the plausibility of reaching them. We are patient and not pushy, but we don't want to waste your time or ours. Therefore, we offer our upfront one-hour counseling session so you can get answers to your questions and we can get answers to our questions. We both decide if we can work together!

Set Up a 'NO-Strings Counseling Session!




02 THE SEARCH


IT'S NOT JUST WINDOW SHOPPING ONLINE Here's how we help you beyond the Redfins and Zillows:

  1. Assist buyer in obtaining pre-approval
  2. Provide general information regarding towns schools, taxes, market conditions, etc.
  3. Provide daily searches through local MLS systems for properties meeting buyer’s needs
  4. Search For-Sale-By-Owner, bank-owned, foreclosures and auctions for properties
  5. Set up viewings of properties with buyer pointing out positive and negative features
  6. Help buyer select and eliminate homes
  7. Help buyer focus and narrow search if necessary
WHERE WE SEARCH

Once you have established your wants and needs, your price range, the area and the time frame for your purchase…you are ready to start the search. So where do we look for homes?

MLS: The Multiple Listing Service [MLS] is the generic term for the computer based systems used by local Realtors® to compile all their listings in one place or database. Depending on where you are looking, there may be many different systems servicing the same area. Lucky for you that NH and Maine each have statewide systems! Because we are members of both systems we can virtually sit in our office and access all properties listed throughout Maine and NH by participating Realtors®. Those listings represent the majority of available homes in our service area [see Towns We Service]. Bank-owned, foreclosed and short sale properties are typically included.

FSBO: FSBO [For Sale By Owner] properties are another source for searching. Sometimes finding these properties is the hardest part. A seller may use one of the Internet services, local papers, or only a sign posted in front of the property. You may be a tenant who is considering a purchase from your landlord, but not sure if you should. At BBS we will always be YOUR agent so we can represent you in any purchase regardless of the seller source.

AUCTION: An auction has been an alternative method for selling property for hundreds of years in all markets. A seller hires a professional auctioneer who will assess, package and market the property and schedule a specific time when property will be sold. There will be public notice about two weeks prior to the auction and materials are available regarding how to register, who can register, how the auction will occur [contents before structure, multiple properties, etc] and what type of auction. Estate auctions are used to settle estates and usually include much of the property’s contents which could include animals, collections, etc. These events many times are all day and attract many types of buyers. Foreclosure auctions are famous for being “cancelled” [see Foreclosure], but when held usually have a reserved or minimum bid which if not reached, means the seller [the bank] will retain ownership. Auctions are far more common in other parts of our country, but can be an excellent alternative and expedient method for selling a property. As YOUR buyer’s agent, we can help you prepare to be an auction bidder and will attend the auction with you.

HUD Homes: HUD is the Department of Housing and Urban Development and was established through the U.S. Housing Act of 1937. Its main purpose at that time was to provide subsidies to local public agencies that rented housing to low-income families. In 1965 it became a Cabinet level agency.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is part of HUD. FHA-insured loans provide lenders assurance of payment. When a lender forecloses on an FHA-insured home, the lender can file a claim with FHA for the balance due on the mortgage and will in turn convey title to HUD. Thus they become ‘HUD Homes’.
HUD Homes are first offered to consumers, especially those using an FHA loan. After an initial “bidding” period, they will then be able to be purchased by any qualifying consumer, including investors. They most often are empty and quite reasonable priced. Although they are sold “as is”, HUD requires some testing before listing them for sale and encourages the buyer to have a home inspection. We can show you HUD homes and we can take you through the complete bidding and acquisition process. CALL us today 603-654-9935 to find out more.

FORECLOSURE: When a mortgaged property owner gets significantly “behind” in making payments, the lender has the right to reclaim or “take the property back”. The lender, commonly referred to as the bank, then becomes the owner, thus the property becomes “bank-owned”. Lenders are in the business of lending money and generally have no interest in being property owners. The two most common methods for disposing of the property are at auction [FORECLOSURE AUCTION] or through local Realtors® and the MLS system. Both the auction and the bank owned property in MLS will be sold at a price that at least meets a minimum set up by the bank to cover their costs of reclaiming the property. The banks make little to no representation regarding property history and condition of the property varies greatly, so having your BBS agent assist you in such a purchase is priceless. The number of available bank-owned properties that also meet your wants and needs will depend on market conditions [see MARKET].

SHORT SALE: A short sale is one in which the seller is in “pre-foreclosure”. They have gotten behind in payments; they are talking to the lender and trying to sell their home for less than is owed. To do so, they must have the lender’s approval. When these work out, they can almost be a win-win for everyone. The lender avoids expense of foreclosure and disposing of property; the seller avoids having a “foreclosure” in their credit history; the buyer gets the property for less than they might have paid had it not been a short sale. You really need your BBS agent for this type of sale to help you: 1) assess that the short sale is really a good buy 2) stay on top of the lender driven procedure requiring constant monitoring 3) help you determine if this type of purchase really meets your wants and needs.

NOT FOR SALE: In establishing your wants and needs, you may discover that your search is extremely focused…to one neighborhood…and nothing is for sale there! Your BBS agent represents you. We can make inquiries to homeowner’s in that neighborhood on your behalf. Since we do not list homes for sale, our inquiries separate us from the average “let me list your home” letters they receive from most agents and can produce a serious seller.

YOUR UNCLE: Maybe you don’t need to search for a property…your uncle already has one. You’d like to buy it; he’d like to sell it…but there are lingering doubts. How do you know what it’s worth? How do you finance it? Should you compare it to other things? Maybe it’s not the best property for you. Your BBS agent can work for you on an hourly basis [see Menu of Services] and help provide professional guidance in an awkward situation.




03 OFFER & NEGOTIATIONS


THE BASICS OF MAKING AN OFFER

Provide CMA [Comparative Market Analysis] to help buyer determine present market value

  • Explain offer form, process and options
  • Provide home inspection options and time frame guideline
  • Investigate all reasonable details regarding property and seller motivation
  • Utilize above steps to determine offering price, terms and negotiating strategy
  • Prepare Purchase & Sales Agreement and present to Seller/Seller’s agent
  • Negotiate on behalf of Buyer until process is complete
This step can take 1-30 days although generally the faster this step proceeds, the better the outcome. Delays can understandably occur when there is great distance [whether physical or agreement-wise] between the parties!

THE ART OF THE DEAL - NEGOTIATION

Oral promises are not legally enforceable when it comes to the sale of real estate. Therefore, you need to enter into a written contract, which starts with your written proposal. This proposal not only specifies price, but all the terms and conditions of the purchase. For example, if the sellers said they’d help with $2,000 toward your closing costs, be sure that’s included in your written offer and in the final completed contract, or you won’t have grounds for collecting it later. REALTORS® usually have a variety of standard forms (including Residential Purchase Agreements) that are kept up to date with the changing laws. When you use a REALTOR® these forms will be available to you. In addition, REALTORS® cover the questions that need to be answered during the process. In many states certain disclosure laws must be complied with by the seller, and the REALTOR® will ensure that this takes place. If you are not working with a REALTOR®, keep in mind that you must draw up a purchase offer or contract that conforms to state and local laws and that incorporates all of the key items. State laws vary, and certain provisions may be required in your area. After the offer is drawn up and signed, it will usually be presented to the seller by your REALTOR®, by the seller’s REALTOR® if that’s a different agent, or often by the two together. In a few areas, sales contracts are typically drawn up by the parties’ lawyers.

WHAT THE OFFER CONTAINS

The purchase offer you submit, if accepted as it stands, will become a binding sales contract (known in some areas as a purchase agreement, earnest money agreement or deposit receipt). It’s important, therefore, that it contains all the items that will serve as a “blueprint for the final sale.” These purchase offer items include such things as: Address and sometimes a legal description of the property Sale price Terms – for example, all cash or subject to your obtaining a mortgage for a given amount Seller’s promise to provide clear title (ownership) Target date for closing (the actual sale) Amount of earnest money deposit accompanying the offer, and whether it’s a check, cash or promissory note, and how it’s to be returned to you if the offer is rejected – or kept as damages if you later back out for no good reason Method by which real estate taxes, rents, fuel, water bills and utilities are to be adjusted (prorated) between buyer and seller Provisions about who will pay for title insurance, survey, termite inspections and the like Type of deed to be given Other requirements specific to your state, which might include a chance for attorney review of the contract, disclosure of specific environmental hazards or other state-specific clauses A provision that the buyer may make a last-minute walk-through inspection of the property just before the closing A time limit (preferably short) after which the offer will expire Contingencies, which are an extremely important matter and discussed in detail below.

CONTINGENCIES

If your offer says “this offer is contingent upon (or subject to) a certain event,” you’re saying that you will only go through with the purchase if that event occurs. The following are two common contingencies contained in a purchase order: The buyer obtaining specific financing from a lending institution. If the loan can’t be found, the buyer won’t be bound by the contract. A satisfactory report by a home inspector “within 10 days (for example) after acceptance of the offer.” The seller must wait 10 days to see if the inspector submits a report that satisfies you. If not, the contract would become void. Again, make sure that all the details are nailed down in the written contract.

NEGOTIATING TIPS
  • You’re in a strong bargaining position – meaning, you look particularly welcome to a seller – if:
  • You’re an all-cash buyer; or
  • You’re already pre-approved for a mortgage; and
  • You don’t have a present house that has to be sold before you can afford to buy.
In those circumstances, you may be able to negotiate some discount from the listed price. On the other hand, in a “hot” seller’s market, if the perfect house comes on the market, you may want to offer the listed price (or more) to beat out other early offers.

It’s very helpful to find out why the house is being sold and whether the seller is under pressure. Keep these considerations in mind: Every month a vacant house remains unsold represents considerable extra expenses for the seller; If the sellers are divorcing, they may just want out quickly; and Estate sales often yield a bargain in return for a prompt deal.

EARNEST MONEY

This is a deposit that you give when making an offer on a house. A seller is understandably suspicious of a written offer that is not accompanied by a cash deposit to show “good faith.” A REALTOR® or an attorney usually holds the deposit, the amount of which varies from community to community. This will become part of your down payment.

BUYERS: THE SELLER’S RESPONSE TO YOUR OFFER

You will have a binding contract if the seller, upon receiving your written offer, signs an acceptance just as it stands, unconditionally. The offer becomes a firm contract as soon as you are notified of acceptance. If the offer is rejected, that’s that, and the sellers could not later change their minds and hold you to it. If the seller likes everything except the sale price, or the proposed closing date, or the basement pool table you want left with the property, you may receive a written counteroffer, with the changes the seller prefers. You are then free to accept or reject it or to even make your own counteroffer. For example, “We accept the counteroffer with the higher price, except that we still insist on having the pool table.” Each time either party makes any change in the terms, the other side is free to accept or reject it, or counter again. The document becomes a binding contract only when one party finally signs an unconditional acceptance of the other side’s proposal.

WITHDRAWING AN OFFER

Can you take back an offer? In most cases the answer is yes, right up until the moment it is accepted, or even in some cases, if you haven’t yet been notified of acceptance. If you do want to revoke your offer, be sure to do so only after consulting a lawyer who is experienced in real estate matters. You don’t want to lose your earnest money deposit, or find yourself being sued for damages the seller may have suffered by relying on your actions.




04 CONTRACT SIGNING TO CLOSING DAY


  • Help buyer coordinate home inspection, attend inspection, and help buyer respond to it
  • Get needed documents to lender and monitor during this period
  • Make sure all contingencies are completed within the terms of agreement
  • Assist buyer with contacts for moving, setting up utilities and services
  • Help buyer secure insurance and provide binder to lender
  • Help buyer select a closing attorney or title company!
This step can take 7-90 days and is probably the most underrated and most important parts of the process. Many a home has been lost because someone dropped the ball during this step. When these periods are longer, the buyer begins to forget they are moving and may actually leave things to the last minute HOME INSPECTION This is where strong negotiations come into play as most home inspections (properly done) will turn up hidden issues that may not be required in the seller's disclosure. CONTRACT TO CLOSE - TO DO LIST A lot happens after the agreement to purchase is signed before there is a closing. Buyer:
  1. Home Inspection & Response to Seller
  2. Supply any documents lender may need
  3. Review and complete any other contingencies
  4. Prepare items for move and moving company [see Moving Resources]
  5. Transfer/sign-up/shut off utilities
Lender:
  1. Collect necessary documents from buyer
  2. Order appraisal
  3. Prepare and send loan package to under writer
  4. Send package to the title attorney for closing
Title:
  1. Prepare abstract of title [title search]
  2. Gather proration information, lender’s package
  3. Prepare the HUD [Closing Statement] and documents for closing
  4. Schedule closing and notify the parties
  5. Conduct closing, record documents and accounting
Agent: Coordinates and communicates with all the parties above to provide for a smooth transaction!




05 WHAT HAPPENS AT THE CLOSING?


TOP 11 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT A CLOSING

  • Go over closing figures with Buyer prior to closing
  • Go with Buyer to final walk through before closing
  • Attend closing with buyer
  • Return retainer to buyer at closing
This step takes 1-2 hours which seems a bit quick after all the preparation! But most closings are very informative and many times are the first time buyers and sellers have met! It can be a wonderful opportunity for sharing special information about the property and the neighborhood and many times the parties eagerly exchange contact information. The agent attends the closing but the closing is under the direction of the attorney or title company who coordinates all the paper work and the monies. It is at this time that the agent will receive a commission check for the company for which they work. They will in turn receive a portion of that check for being your agent. TOP 11 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT A CLOSING
  • Apply early for homeowners insurance and fill out/sign any necessary paper work
  • Ask for a commitment letter – then READ IT! (Bring to closing)
  • Be sure that the title company gets a copy of any addendums, especially if they pertain to sales price or seller paids.
  • If somebody is a non-borrower but wants to go on title, we need to get approval from the lender in advance.
  • Ask for a good faith estimate – remember that it is an ESTIMATE!
  • If money needs to be moved around from multiple accounts/states, etc., make sure this is done at least a few days prior to closing. If they are wiring from out of state, they will have to be at that out of state bank to request the wire. Most banks will not do this over the phone. If they are withdrawing funds from an investment account, it frequently takes two weeks to free up those funds.
  • If coming from a prior closing, the buyer will need to tell the other attorney ahead of time that we need certified funds or a bank check. Especially if they are coming from out of state, make these arrangements early!
  • Keep in mind that when we close a brokered loan, the closing time is often dictated to us by the investor – before lining up movers, they should make sure their investor will be funding us etc, especially for early morning closings.
  • Buyers should remember that fuel prorations are usually not included in the numbers we give out and mostly handled outside of closing. Water & Sewer are also not included on the HUD unless final bills are provided to us in advance by one of the parties or their realtor.
  • If we say we are tentatively scheduling a closing, remember the tentative part! The lender ultimately controls when the loan will be able to close.
  • Bring ID!! Listing agents should be reminded that if the seller has no ID, he or she cannot receive any proceeds.
C.L.U.E.® REPORT (MORE INFO BELOW...) in compliance with FACT Act The C.L.U.E. Personal Property report provides a seven year history of losses associated with an individual and his/her personal property. The following data will be identified for each loss: date of loss, loss type, and amount paid along with general information such as policy number, claim number and insurance company name.




06 POST CLOSING DAY


WE FOLLOW UP TO ENSURE A SMOOTH TRANSITION

  • Place BOUGHT sign on the property for 30 days and mail introductory piece to neighborhood
  • Provide bi-monthly newsletter updates
  • Be available for real estate consultation
  • Resource Database Availability
  • Yearly Home Anniversary Reminder
  • Available to provide referral serviceconnecting sellers and buyers with real estate professionals throughout the world
  • We want to be your Real Estate Connection Professional!
We STAY CONNECTED after you close! Over 95% of our business comes from PAST CLIENTS - once you become one, we want to HEAR from you again!





6 Steps to Successfully Buy Your House

 

DO YOU HAVE A C.L.U.E.® ? REPORT

You call your insurer to ask about your home’s coverage, and a few months later the policy is cancelled. Your automobile insurance premium is raised because your credit report shows you were late paying your credit card bill.

 

DOES THIS SOUND PLAUSIBLE?

Think again. Innocent inquiries to your insurance agent or information that seems to have no bearing on your driving ability can make premiums skyrocket. Worse, your insurance might even be cancelled. Inquiries, even those that do not result in a claim, can appear in a little-known database called CLUE, or its smaller competitor A-PLUS. And your insurance “score” which is largely based on your credit rating, can determine how much you pay for homeowner’s or automobile insurance.

If you’ve seen your CLUE report (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) and you know your insurance score, chances are you’ve already been turned down for automobile or homeowner’s insurance. But probably, you, like most others, are clueless about CLUE. The CLUE report and the insurance scoring system are tools insurers use to decide your risk profile, or how likely you are to file a claim against your policy. Insurers feed information about paid claims – even your inquiries about coverage that don’t result in a claim – into a national database for use by insurers. Information included in the database, along with your insurance score, makes up your risk profile. Insurers use the profile to decide whether you get new insurance – even to decide if you get to keep the insurance you already have. If information is inaccurate, you can be left without insurance while you work out the errors.

Q. WHAT IS A CLUE REPORT?


A. The CLUE database enables insurers to exchange information – without notice to you – about claims for loss of property. Here’s a simple example of how the exchange system works:

  • Insurance companies feed information about property loss claims, even inquiries about coverage, into a central database.
  • If you file a claim for loss against your homeowner policy, for example, the insurance company adds this information to the national database.
  • The CLUE database is maintained by an information vendor, not another insurance company.
  • If you apply for homeowner’s insurance with another company because you move to another part of the country, the new insurance company can access the CLUE database and learn of your past claims.
  • The CLUE report shows the new insurer information about any claims you files under your previous insurer’s policy. CLUE also includes information about inquiries you made, even if a claim was never submitted or paid. Who maintains the database?
The major issuer of CLUE reports in ChoicePoint, a Georgia company that is one of the country’s biggest compilers and sellers of personal consumer data. A property loss database is also maintained by Insurance Services Office (ISO) which calls its database the Automated Property Loss Underwriting System, or A-PLUS. However, because ChoicePoint dominates the insurance risk market, reports of property loss have come to be known generically as CLUE reports.




Q. ARE CLUE REPORTS ONLY FOR HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE?


A. No. CLUE reports can relate to property loss claims made against automobile insurance policies as well as homeowner policies. CLUE reports for homeowner’s insurance have received more attention as homebuyers discover that the home they are about to purchase comes with its own CLUE report. If that report includes reports of water or mold mitigation, or even inquiries, the buyer may have to pay a higher premium or find it difficult to get insurance, even though the buyer has no claims in his history. How long does the information stay on the CLUE report? Five years from the date the loss is reported. This may include losses for a property before you owned it.




Q. WHAT DO CLUE REPORTS CONTAIN?


A. The CLUE report includes personal information such as your name, date of birth, and Social Security number. Tied to your identifying number is a record of any auto or homeowner loss claims you have submitted to an insurance company, including:

  • Date of loss
  • Type of loss claimed
  • Amount paid by the insurance company

The CLUE database may also include notations of property “damage” – even if the insurance company didn’t pay a cent. Any hint of water damage to a property, for example, is likely to trigger a negative mark on the property’s CLUE report. Well-intentioned consumers who call an insurer to merely inquire about coverage for water damage have been shocked to have their insurance cancelled.




Q. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CLUE REPORT AND AN INSURANCE SCORE?


A. The CLUE report is the history of claims on a property [home or car] that stays with the property. An insurance score is a compilation or indication of likelihood that an individual will file a claim and is influenced by credit scores. Insurance scores stay with the individual even if they move.




Q. HOW CAN I ORDER A CLUE REPORT?


Only the homeowner can order their home’s clue report:

ChoicePoint (CLUE)
1000 Alderman Drive
Alpharetta, GA 30008
ChoiceTrust.com





 

Home Inspection FAQ

01 COUNSELING SESSION


WHY WE SHOULD TALK FIRST

  1. Evaluate buyer’s wants & needs
  2. Explore possible solutions
  3. Explain time line for process
  4. Review BBS buyer agency services
  5. Explain how buyer agency gets paid
  6. Agent interviews buyer
  7. Buyer interviews agent
This step takes 1-2 hours and is provided by our company with no obligation. It provides an opportunity for buyer and agent to ask questions and determine if working together will be in the best interest of both parties. It is best if it can be done in person, but we can make arrangements where distance prohibits such a meeting.

We make no bones about being a "different" kind of real estate company. We do not intend to SELL you a piece of real estate. We DO want to assist you in purchasing real estate that best meets your needs. We want to always represent your interest. We cannot promise that to you until we know your goals and we can evaluate the plausibility of reaching them. We are patient and not pushy, but we don't want to waste your time or ours. Therefore, we offer our upfront one-hour counseling session so you can get answers to your questions and we can get answers to our questions. We both decide if we can work together!

Set Up a 'NO-Strings Counseling Session!




02 THE SEARCH


IT'S NOT JUST WINDOW SHOPPING ONLINE Here's how we help you beyond the Redfins and Zillows:

  1. Assist buyer in obtaining pre-approval
  2. Provide general information regarding towns schools, taxes, market conditions, etc.
  3. Provide daily searches through local MLS systems for properties meeting buyer’s needs
  4. Search For-Sale-By-Owner, bank-owned, foreclosures and auctions for properties
  5. Set up viewings of properties with buyer pointing out positive and negative features
  6. Help buyer select and eliminate homes
  7. Help buyer focus and narrow search if necessary
WHERE WE SEARCH

Once you have established your wants and needs, your price range, the area and the time frame for your purchase…you are ready to start the search. So where do we look for homes?

MLS: The Multiple Listing Service [MLS] is the generic term for the computer based systems used by local Realtors® to compile all their listings in one place or database. Depending on where you are looking, there may be many different systems servicing the same area. Lucky for you that NH and Maine each have statewide systems! Because we are members of both systems we can virtually sit in our office and access all properties listed throughout Maine and NH by participating Realtors®. Those listings represent the majority of available homes in our service area [see Towns We Service]. Bank-owned, foreclosed and short sale properties are typically included.

FSBO: FSBO [For Sale By Owner] properties are another source for searching. Sometimes finding these properties is the hardest part. A seller may use one of the Internet services, local papers, or only a sign posted in front of the property. You may be a tenant who is considering a purchase from your landlord, but not sure if you should. At BBS we will always be YOUR agent so we can represent you in any purchase regardless of the seller source.

AUCTION: An auction has been an alternative method for selling property for hundreds of years in all markets. A seller hires a professional auctioneer who will assess, package and market the property and schedule a specific time when property will be sold. There will be public notice about two weeks prior to the auction and materials are available regarding how to register, who can register, how the auction will occur [contents before structure, multiple properties, etc] and what type of auction. Estate auctions are used to settle estates and usually include much of the property’s contents which could include animals, collections, etc. These events many times are all day and attract many types of buyers. Foreclosure auctions are famous for being “cancelled” [see Foreclosure], but when held usually have a reserved or minimum bid which if not reached, means the seller [the bank] will retain ownership. Auctions are far more common in other parts of our country, but can be an excellent alternative and expedient method for selling a property. As YOUR buyer’s agent, we can help you prepare to be an auction bidder and will attend the auction with you.

HUD Homes: HUD is the Department of Housing and Urban Development and was established through the U.S. Housing Act of 1937. Its main purpose at that time was to provide subsidies to local public agencies that rented housing to low-income families. In 1965 it became a Cabinet level agency.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is part of HUD. FHA-insured loans provide lenders assurance of payment. When a lender forecloses on an FHA-insured home, the lender can file a claim with FHA for the balance due on the mortgage and will in turn convey title to HUD. Thus they become ‘HUD Homes’.
HUD Homes are first offered to consumers, especially those using an FHA loan. After an initial “bidding” period, they will then be able to be purchased by any qualifying consumer, including investors. They most often are empty and quite reasonable priced. Although they are sold “as is”, HUD requires some testing before listing them for sale and encourages the buyer to have a home inspection. We can show you HUD homes and we can take you through the complete bidding and acquisition process. CALL us today 603-654-9935 to find out more.

FORECLOSURE: When a mortgaged property owner gets significantly “behind” in making payments, the lender has the right to reclaim or “take the property back”. The lender, commonly referred to as the bank, then becomes the owner, thus the property becomes “bank-owned”. Lenders are in the business of lending money and generally have no interest in being property owners. The two most common methods for disposing of the property are at auction [FORECLOSURE AUCTION] or through local Realtors® and the MLS system. Both the auction and the bank owned property in MLS will be sold at a price that at least meets a minimum set up by the bank to cover their costs of reclaiming the property. The banks make little to no representation regarding property history and condition of the property varies greatly, so having your BBS agent assist you in such a purchase is priceless. The number of available bank-owned properties that also meet your wants and needs will depend on market conditions [see MARKET].

SHORT SALE: A short sale is one in which the seller is in “pre-foreclosure”. They have gotten behind in payments; they are talking to the lender and trying to sell their home for less than is owed. To do so, they must have the lender’s approval. When these work out, they can almost be a win-win for everyone. The lender avoids expense of foreclosure and disposing of property; the seller avoids having a “foreclosure” in their credit history; the buyer gets the property for less than they might have paid had it not been a short sale. You really need your BBS agent for this type of sale to help you: 1) assess that the short sale is really a good buy 2) stay on top of the lender driven procedure requiring constant monitoring 3) help you determine if this type of purchase really meets your wants and needs.

NOT FOR SALE: In establishing your wants and needs, you may discover that your search is extremely focused…to one neighborhood…and nothing is for sale there! Your BBS agent represents you. We can make inquiries to homeowner’s in that neighborhood on your behalf. Since we do not list homes for sale, our inquiries separate us from the average “let me list your home” letters they receive from most agents and can produce a serious seller.

YOUR UNCLE: Maybe you don’t need to search for a property…your uncle already has one. You’d like to buy it; he’d like to sell it…but there are lingering doubts. How do you know what it’s worth? How do you finance it? Should you compare it to other things? Maybe it’s not the best property for you. Your BBS agent can work for you on an hourly basis [see Menu of Services] and help provide professional guidance in an awkward situation.




03 OFFER & NEGOTIATIONS


THE BASICS OF MAKING AN OFFER

Provide CMA [Comparative Market Analysis] to help buyer determine present market value

  • Explain offer form, process and options
  • Provide home inspection options and time frame guideline
  • Investigate all reasonable details regarding property and seller motivation
  • Utilize above steps to determine offering price, terms and negotiating strategy
  • Prepare Purchase & Sales Agreement and present to Seller/Seller’s agent
  • Negotiate on behalf of Buyer until process is complete
This step can take 1-30 days although generally the faster this step proceeds, the better the outcome. Delays can understandably occur when there is great distance [whether physical or agreement-wise] between the parties!

THE ART OF THE DEAL - NEGOTIATION

Oral promises are not legally enforceable when it comes to the sale of real estate. Therefore, you need to enter into a written contract, which starts with your written proposal. This proposal not only specifies price, but all the terms and conditions of the purchase. For example, if the sellers said they’d help with $2,000 toward your closing costs, be sure that’s included in your written offer and in the final completed contract, or you won’t have grounds for collecting it later. REALTORS® usually have a variety of standard forms (including Residential Purchase Agreements) that are kept up to date with the changing laws. When you use a REALTOR® these forms will be available to you. In addition, REALTORS® cover the questions that need to be answered during the process. In many states certain disclosure laws must be complied with by the seller, and the REALTOR® will ensure that this takes place. If you are not working with a REALTOR®, keep in mind that you must draw up a purchase offer or contract that conforms to state and local laws and that incorporates all of the key items. State laws vary, and certain provisions may be required in your area. After the offer is drawn up and signed, it will usually be presented to the seller by your REALTOR®, by the seller’s REALTOR® if that’s a different agent, or often by the two together. In a few areas, sales contracts are typically drawn up by the parties’ lawyers.

WHAT THE OFFER CONTAINS

The purchase offer you submit, if accepted as it stands, will become a binding sales contract (known in some areas as a purchase agreement, earnest money agreement or deposit receipt). It’s important, therefore, that it contains all the items that will serve as a “blueprint for the final sale.” These purchase offer items include such things as: Address and sometimes a legal description of the property Sale price Terms – for example, all cash or subject to your obtaining a mortgage for a given amount Seller’s promise to provide clear title (ownership) Target date for closing (the actual sale) Amount of earnest money deposit accompanying the offer, and whether it’s a check, cash or promissory note, and how it’s to be returned to you if the offer is rejected – or kept as damages if you later back out for no good reason Method by which real estate taxes, rents, fuel, water bills and utilities are to be adjusted (prorated) between buyer and seller Provisions about who will pay for title insurance, survey, termite inspections and the like Type of deed to be given Other requirements specific to your state, which might include a chance for attorney review of the contract, disclosure of specific environmental hazards or other state-specific clauses A provision that the buyer may make a last-minute walk-through inspection of the property just before the closing A time limit (preferably short) after which the offer will expire Contingencies, which are an extremely important matter and discussed in detail below.

CONTINGENCIES

If your offer says “this offer is contingent upon (or subject to) a certain event,” you’re saying that you will only go through with the purchase if that event occurs. The following are two common contingencies contained in a purchase order: The buyer obtaining specific financing from a lending institution. If the loan can’t be found, the buyer won’t be bound by the contract. A satisfactory report by a home inspector “within 10 days (for example) after acceptance of the offer.” The seller must wait 10 days to see if the inspector submits a report that satisfies you. If not, the contract would become void. Again, make sure that all the details are nailed down in the written contract.

NEGOTIATING TIPS
  • You’re in a strong bargaining position – meaning, you look particularly welcome to a seller – if:
  • You’re an all-cash buyer; or
  • You’re already pre-approved for a mortgage; and
  • You don’t have a present house that has to be sold before you can afford to buy.
In those circumstances, you may be able to negotiate some discount from the listed price. On the other hand, in a “hot” seller’s market, if the perfect house comes on the market, you may want to offer the listed price (or more) to beat out other early offers.

It’s very helpful to find out why the house is being sold and whether the seller is under pressure. Keep these considerations in mind: Every month a vacant house remains unsold represents considerable extra expenses for the seller; If the sellers are divorcing, they may just want out quickly; and Estate sales often yield a bargain in return for a prompt deal.

EARNEST MONEY

This is a deposit that you give when making an offer on a house. A seller is understandably suspicious of a written offer that is not accompanied by a cash deposit to show “good faith.” A REALTOR® or an attorney usually holds the deposit, the amount of which varies from community to community. This will become part of your down payment.

BUYERS: THE SELLER’S RESPONSE TO YOUR OFFER

You will have a binding contract if the seller, upon receiving your written offer, signs an acceptance just as it stands, unconditionally. The offer becomes a firm contract as soon as you are notified of acceptance. If the offer is rejected, that’s that, and the sellers could not later change their minds and hold you to it. If the seller likes everything except the sale price, or the proposed closing date, or the basement pool table you want left with the property, you may receive a written counteroffer, with the changes the seller prefers. You are then free to accept or reject it or to even make your own counteroffer. For example, “We accept the counteroffer with the higher price, except that we still insist on having the pool table.” Each time either party makes any change in the terms, the other side is free to accept or reject it, or counter again. The document becomes a binding contract only when one party finally signs an unconditional acceptance of the other side’s proposal.

WITHDRAWING AN OFFER

Can you take back an offer? In most cases the answer is yes, right up until the moment it is accepted, or even in some cases, if you haven’t yet been notified of acceptance. If you do want to revoke your offer, be sure to do so only after consulting a lawyer who is experienced in real estate matters. You don’t want to lose your earnest money deposit, or find yourself being sued for damages the seller may have suffered by relying on your actions.




04 CONTRACT SIGNING TO CLOSING DAY


  • Help buyer coordinate home inspection, attend inspection, and help buyer respond to it
  • Get needed documents to lender and monitor during this period
  • Make sure all contingencies are completed within the terms of agreement
  • Assist buyer with contacts for moving, setting up utilities and services
  • Help buyer secure insurance and provide binder to lender
  • Help buyer select a closing attorney or title company!
This step can take 7-90 days and is probably the most underrated and most important parts of the process. Many a home has been lost because someone dropped the ball during this step. When these periods are longer, the buyer begins to forget they are moving and may actually leave things to the last minute HOME INSPECTION This is where strong negotiations come into play as most home inspections (properly done) will turn up hidden issues that may not be required in the seller's disclosure. CONTRACT TO CLOSE - TO DO LIST A lot happens after the agreement to purchase is signed before there is a closing. Buyer:
  1. Home Inspection & Response to Seller
  2. Supply any documents lender may need
  3. Review and complete any other contingencies
  4. Prepare items for move and moving company [see Moving Resources]
  5. Transfer/sign-up/shut off utilities
Lender:
  1. Collect necessary documents from buyer
  2. Order appraisal
  3. Prepare and send loan package to under writer
  4. Send package to the title attorney for closing
Title:
  1. Prepare abstract of title [title search]
  2. Gather proration information, lender’s package
  3. Prepare the HUD [Closing Statement] and documents for closing
  4. Schedule closing and notify the parties
  5. Conduct closing, record documents and accounting
Agent: Coordinates and communicates with all the parties above to provide for a smooth transaction!




05 WHAT HAPPENS AT THE CLOSING?


TOP 11 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT A CLOSING

  • Go over closing figures with Buyer prior to closing
  • Go with Buyer to final walk through before closing
  • Attend closing with buyer
  • Return retainer to buyer at closing
This step takes 1-2 hours which seems a bit quick after all the preparation! But most closings are very informative and many times are the first time buyers and sellers have met! It can be a wonderful opportunity for sharing special information about the property and the neighborhood and many times the parties eagerly exchange contact information. The agent attends the closing but the closing is under the direction of the attorney or title company who coordinates all the paper work and the monies. It is at this time that the agent will receive a commission check for the company for which they work. They will in turn receive a portion of that check for being your agent. TOP 11 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT A CLOSING
  • Apply early for homeowners insurance and fill out/sign any necessary paper work
  • Ask for a commitment letter – then READ IT! (Bring to closing)
  • Be sure that the title company gets a copy of any addendums, especially if they pertain to sales price or seller paids.
  • If somebody is a non-borrower but wants to go on title, we need to get approval from the lender in advance.
  • Ask for a good faith estimate – remember that it is an ESTIMATE!
  • If money needs to be moved around from multiple accounts/states, etc., make sure this is done at least a few days prior to closing. If they are wiring from out of state, they will have to be at that out of state bank to request the wire. Most banks will not do this over the phone. If they are withdrawing funds from an investment account, it frequently takes two weeks to free up those funds.
  • If coming from a prior closing, the buyer will need to tell the other attorney ahead of time that we need certified funds or a bank check. Especially if they are coming from out of state, make these arrangements early!
  • Keep in mind that when we close a brokered loan, the closing time is often dictated to us by the investor – before lining up movers, they should make sure their investor will be funding us etc, especially for early morning closings.
  • Buyers should remember that fuel prorations are usually not included in the numbers we give out and mostly handled outside of closing. Water & Sewer are also not included on the HUD unless final bills are provided to us in advance by one of the parties or their realtor.
  • If we say we are tentatively scheduling a closing, remember the tentative part! The lender ultimately controls when the loan will be able to close.
  • Bring ID!! Listing agents should be reminded that if the seller has no ID, he or she cannot receive any proceeds.
C.L.U.E.® REPORT (MORE INFO BELOW...) in compliance with FACT Act The C.L.U.E. Personal Property report provides a seven year history of losses associated with an individual and his/her personal property. The following data will be identified for each loss: date of loss, loss type, and amount paid along with general information such as policy number, claim number and insurance company name.




06 POST CLOSING DAY


WE FOLLOW UP TO ENSURE A SMOOTH TRANSITION

  • Place BOUGHT sign on the property for 30 days and mail introductory piece to neighborhood
  • Provide bi-monthly newsletter updates
  • Be available for real estate consultation
  • Resource Database Availability
  • Yearly Home Anniversary Reminder
  • Available to provide referral serviceconnecting sellers and buyers with real estate professionals throughout the world
  • We want to be your Real Estate Connection Professional!
We STAY CONNECTED after you close! Over 95% of our business comes from PAST CLIENTS - once you become one, we want to HEAR from you again!





 
 

Title Insurance

01 COUNSELING SESSION


WHY WE SHOULD TALK FIRST

  1. Evaluate buyer’s wants & needs
  2. Explore possible solutions
  3. Explain time line for process
  4. Review BBS buyer agency services
  5. Explain how buyer agency gets paid
  6. Agent interviews buyer
  7. Buyer interviews agent
This step takes 1-2 hours and is provided by our company with no obligation. It provides an opportunity for buyer and agent to ask questions and determine if working together will be in the best interest of both parties. It is best if it can be done in person, but we can make arrangements where distance prohibits such a meeting.

We make no bones about being a "different" kind of real estate company. We do not intend to SELL you a piece of real estate. We DO want to assist you in purchasing real estate that best meets your needs. We want to always represent your interest. We cannot promise that to you until we know your goals and we can evaluate the plausibility of reaching them. We are patient and not pushy, but we don't want to waste your time or ours. Therefore, we offer our upfront one-hour counseling session so you can get answers to your questions and we can get answers to our questions. We both decide if we can work together!

Set Up a 'NO-Strings Counseling Session!




02 THE SEARCH


IT'S NOT JUST WINDOW SHOPPING ONLINE Here's how we help you beyond the Redfins and Zillows:

  1. Assist buyer in obtaining pre-approval
  2. Provide general information regarding towns schools, taxes, market conditions, etc.
  3. Provide daily searches through local MLS systems for properties meeting buyer’s needs
  4. Search For-Sale-By-Owner, bank-owned, foreclosures and auctions for properties
  5. Set up viewings of properties with buyer pointing out positive and negative features
  6. Help buyer select and eliminate homes
  7. Help buyer focus and narrow search if necessary
WHERE WE SEARCH

Once you have established your wants and needs, your price range, the area and the time frame for your purchase…you are ready to start the search. So where do we look for homes?

MLS: The Multiple Listing Service [MLS] is the generic term for the computer based systems used by local Realtors® to compile all their listings in one place or database. Depending on where you are looking, there may be many different systems servicing the same area. Lucky for you that NH and Maine each have statewide systems! Because we are members of both systems we can virtually sit in our office and access all properties listed throughout Maine and NH by participating Realtors®. Those listings represent the majority of available homes in our service area [see Towns We Service]. Bank-owned, foreclosed and short sale properties are typically included.

FSBO: FSBO [For Sale By Owner] properties are another source for searching. Sometimes finding these properties is the hardest part. A seller may use one of the Internet services, local papers, or only a sign posted in front of the property. You may be a tenant who is considering a purchase from your landlord, but not sure if you should. At BBS we will always be YOUR agent so we can represent you in any purchase regardless of the seller source.

AUCTION: An auction has been an alternative method for selling property for hundreds of years in all markets. A seller hires a professional auctioneer who will assess, package and market the property and schedule a specific time when property will be sold. There will be public notice about two weeks prior to the auction and materials are available regarding how to register, who can register, how the auction will occur [contents before structure, multiple properties, etc] and what type of auction. Estate auctions are used to settle estates and usually include much of the property’s contents which could include animals, collections, etc. These events many times are all day and attract many types of buyers. Foreclosure auctions are famous for being “cancelled” [see Foreclosure], but when held usually have a reserved or minimum bid which if not reached, means the seller [the bank] will retain ownership. Auctions are far more common in other parts of our country, but can be an excellent alternative and expedient method for selling a property. As YOUR buyer’s agent, we can help you prepare to be an auction bidder and will attend the auction with you.

HUD Homes: HUD is the Department of Housing and Urban Development and was established through the U.S. Housing Act of 1937. Its main purpose at that time was to provide subsidies to local public agencies that rented housing to low-income families. In 1965 it became a Cabinet level agency.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is part of HUD. FHA-insured loans provide lenders assurance of payment. When a lender forecloses on an FHA-insured home, the lender can file a claim with FHA for the balance due on the mortgage and will in turn convey title to HUD. Thus they become ‘HUD Homes’.
HUD Homes are first offered to consumers, especially those using an FHA loan. After an initial “bidding” period, they will then be able to be purchased by any qualifying consumer, including investors. They most often are empty and quite reasonable priced. Although they are sold “as is”, HUD requires some testing before listing them for sale and encourages the buyer to have a home inspection. We can show you HUD homes and we can take you through the complete bidding and acquisition process. CALL us today 603-654-9935 to find out more.

FORECLOSURE: When a mortgaged property owner gets significantly “behind” in making payments, the lender has the right to reclaim or “take the property back”. The lender, commonly referred to as the bank, then becomes the owner, thus the property becomes “bank-owned”. Lenders are in the business of lending money and generally have no interest in being property owners. The two most common methods for disposing of the property are at auction [FORECLOSURE AUCTION] or through local Realtors® and the MLS system. Both the auction and the bank owned property in MLS will be sold at a price that at least meets a minimum set up by the bank to cover their costs of reclaiming the property. The banks make little to no representation regarding property history and condition of the property varies greatly, so having your BBS agent assist you in such a purchase is priceless. The number of available bank-owned properties that also meet your wants and needs will depend on market conditions [see MARKET].

SHORT SALE: A short sale is one in which the seller is in “pre-foreclosure”. They have gotten behind in payments; they are talking to the lender and trying to sell their home for less than is owed. To do so, they must have the lender’s approval. When these work out, they can almost be a win-win for everyone. The lender avoids expense of foreclosure and disposing of property; the seller avoids having a “foreclosure” in their credit history; the buyer gets the property for less than they might have paid had it not been a short sale. You really need your BBS agent for this type of sale to help you: 1) assess that the short sale is really a good buy 2) stay on top of the lender driven procedure requiring constant monitoring 3) help you determine if this type of purchase really meets your wants and needs.

NOT FOR SALE: In establishing your wants and needs, you may discover that your search is extremely focused…to one neighborhood…and nothing is for sale there! Your BBS agent represents you. We can make inquiries to homeowner’s in that neighborhood on your behalf. Since we do not list homes for sale, our inquiries separate us from the average “let me list your home” letters they receive from most agents and can produce a serious seller.

YOUR UNCLE: Maybe you don’t need to search for a property…your uncle already has one. You’d like to buy it; he’d like to sell it…but there are lingering doubts. How do you know what it’s worth? How do you finance it? Should you compare it to other things? Maybe it’s not the best property for you. Your BBS agent can work for you on an hourly basis [see Menu of Services] and help provide professional guidance in an awkward situation.




03 OFFER & NEGOTIATIONS


THE BASICS OF MAKING AN OFFER

Provide CMA [Comparative Market Analysis] to help buyer determine present market value

  • Explain offer form, process and options
  • Provide home inspection options and time frame guideline
  • Investigate all reasonable details regarding property and seller motivation
  • Utilize above steps to determine offering price, terms and negotiating strategy
  • Prepare Purchase & Sales Agreement and present to Seller/Seller’s agent
  • Negotiate on behalf of Buyer until process is complete
This step can take 1-30 days although generally the faster this step proceeds, the better the outcome. Delays can understandably occur when there is great distance [whether physical or agreement-wise] between the parties!

THE ART OF THE DEAL - NEGOTIATION

Oral promises are not legally enforceable when it comes to the sale of real estate. Therefore, you need to enter into a written contract, which starts with your written proposal. This proposal not only specifies price, but all the terms and conditions of the purchase. For example, if the sellers said they’d help with $2,000 toward your closing costs, be sure that’s included in your written offer and in the final completed contract, or you won’t have grounds for collecting it later. REALTORS® usually have a variety of standard forms (including Residential Purchase Agreements) that are kept up to date with the changing laws. When you use a REALTOR® these forms will be available to you. In addition, REALTORS® cover the questions that need to be answered during the process. In many states certain disclosure laws must be complied with by the seller, and the REALTOR® will ensure that this takes place. If you are not working with a REALTOR®, keep in mind that you must draw up a purchase offer or contract that conforms to state and local laws and that incorporates all of the key items. State laws vary, and certain provisions may be required in your area. After the offer is drawn up and signed, it will usually be presented to the seller by your REALTOR®, by the seller’s REALTOR® if that’s a different agent, or often by the two together. In a few areas, sales contracts are typically drawn up by the parties’ lawyers.

WHAT THE OFFER CONTAINS

The purchase offer you submit, if accepted as it stands, will become a binding sales contract (known in some areas as a purchase agreement, earnest money agreement or deposit receipt). It’s important, therefore, that it contains all the items that will serve as a “blueprint for the final sale.” These purchase offer items include such things as: Address and sometimes a legal description of the property Sale price Terms – for example, all cash or subject to your obtaining a mortgage for a given amount Seller’s promise to provide clear title (ownership) Target date for closing (the actual sale) Amount of earnest money deposit accompanying the offer, and whether it’s a check, cash or promissory note, and how it’s to be returned to you if the offer is rejected – or kept as damages if you later back out for no good reason Method by which real estate taxes, rents, fuel, water bills and utilities are to be adjusted (prorated) between buyer and seller Provisions about who will pay for title insurance, survey, termite inspections and the like Type of deed to be given Other requirements specific to your state, which might include a chance for attorney review of the contract, disclosure of specific environmental hazards or other state-specific clauses A provision that the buyer may make a last-minute walk-through inspection of the property just before the closing A time limit (preferably short) after which the offer will expire Contingencies, which are an extremely important matter and discussed in detail below.

CONTINGENCIES

If your offer says “this offer is contingent upon (or subject to) a certain event,” you’re saying that you will only go through with the purchase if that event occurs. The following are two common contingencies contained in a purchase order: The buyer obtaining specific financing from a lending institution. If the loan can’t be found, the buyer won’t be bound by the contract. A satisfactory report by a home inspector “within 10 days (for example) after acceptance of the offer.” The seller must wait 10 days to see if the inspector submits a report that satisfies you. If not, the contract would become void. Again, make sure that all the details are nailed down in the written contract.

NEGOTIATING TIPS
  • You’re in a strong bargaining position – meaning, you look particularly welcome to a seller – if:
  • You’re an all-cash buyer; or
  • You’re already pre-approved for a mortgage; and
  • You don’t have a present house that has to be sold before you can afford to buy.
In those circumstances, you may be able to negotiate some discount from the listed price. On the other hand, in a “hot” seller’s market, if the perfect house comes on the market, you may want to offer the listed price (or more) to beat out other early offers.

It’s very helpful to find out why the house is being sold and whether the seller is under pressure. Keep these considerations in mind: Every month a vacant house remains unsold represents considerable extra expenses for the seller; If the sellers are divorcing, they may just want out quickly; and Estate sales often yield a bargain in return for a prompt deal.

EARNEST MONEY

This is a deposit that you give when making an offer on a house. A seller is understandably suspicious of a written offer that is not accompanied by a cash deposit to show “good faith.” A REALTOR® or an attorney usually holds the deposit, the amount of which varies from community to community. This will become part of your down payment.

BUYERS: THE SELLER’S RESPONSE TO YOUR OFFER

You will have a binding contract if the seller, upon receiving your written offer, signs an acceptance just as it stands, unconditionally. The offer becomes a firm contract as soon as you are notified of acceptance. If the offer is rejected, that’s that, and the sellers could not later change their minds and hold you to it. If the seller likes everything except the sale price, or the proposed closing date, or the basement pool table you want left with the property, you may receive a written counteroffer, with the changes the seller prefers. You are then free to accept or reject it or to even make your own counteroffer. For example, “We accept the counteroffer with the higher price, except that we still insist on having the pool table.” Each time either party makes any change in the terms, the other side is free to accept or reject it, or counter again. The document becomes a binding contract only when one party finally signs an unconditional acceptance of the other side’s proposal.

WITHDRAWING AN OFFER

Can you take back an offer? In most cases the answer is yes, right up until the moment it is accepted, or even in some cases, if you haven’t yet been notified of acceptance. If you do want to revoke your offer, be sure to do so only after consulting a lawyer who is experienced in real estate matters. You don’t want to lose your earnest money deposit, or find yourself being sued for damages the seller may have suffered by relying on your actions.




04 CONTRACT SIGNING TO CLOSING DAY


  • Help buyer coordinate home inspection, attend inspection, and help buyer respond to it
  • Get needed documents to lender and monitor during this period
  • Make sure all contingencies are completed within the terms of agreement
  • Assist buyer with contacts for moving, setting up utilities and services
  • Help buyer secure insurance and provide binder to lender
  • Help buyer select a closing attorney or title company!
This step can take 7-90 days and is probably the most underrated and most important parts of the process. Many a home has been lost because someone dropped the ball during this step. When these periods are longer, the buyer begins to forget they are moving and may actually leave things to the last minute HOME INSPECTION This is where strong negotiations come into play as most home inspections (properly done) will turn up hidden issues that may not be required in the seller's disclosure. CONTRACT TO CLOSE - TO DO LIST A lot happens after the agreement to purchase is signed before there is a closing. Buyer:
  1. Home Inspection & Response to Seller
  2. Supply any documents lender may need
  3. Review and complete any other contingencies
  4. Prepare items for move and moving company [see Moving Resources]
  5. Transfer/sign-up/shut off utilities
Lender:
  1. Collect necessary documents from buyer
  2. Order appraisal
  3. Prepare and send loan package to under writer
  4. Send package to the title attorney for closing
Title:
  1. Prepare abstract of title [title search]
  2. Gather proration information, lender’s package
  3. Prepare the HUD [Closing Statement] and documents for closing
  4. Schedule closing and notify the parties
  5. Conduct closing, record documents and accounting
Agent: Coordinates and communicates with all the parties above to provide for a smooth transaction!




05 WHAT HAPPENS AT THE CLOSING?


TOP 11 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT A CLOSING

  • Go over closing figures with Buyer prior to closing
  • Go with Buyer to final walk through before closing
  • Attend closing with buyer
  • Return retainer to buyer at closing
This step takes 1-2 hours which seems a bit quick after all the preparation! But most closings are very informative and many times are the first time buyers and sellers have met! It can be a wonderful opportunity for sharing special information about the property and the neighborhood and many times the parties eagerly exchange contact information. The agent attends the closing but the closing is under the direction of the attorney or title company who coordinates all the paper work and the monies. It is at this time that the agent will receive a commission check for the company for which they work. They will in turn receive a portion of that check for being your agent. TOP 11 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT A CLOSING
  • Apply early for homeowners insurance and fill out/sign any necessary paper work
  • Ask for a commitment letter – then READ IT! (Bring to closing)
  • Be sure that the title company gets a copy of any addendums, especially if they pertain to sales price or seller paids.
  • If somebody is a non-borrower but wants to go on title, we need to get approval from the lender in advance.
  • Ask for a good faith estimate – remember that it is an ESTIMATE!
  • If money needs to be moved around from multiple accounts/states, etc., make sure this is done at least a few days prior to closing. If they are wiring from out of state, they will have to be at that out of state bank to request the wire. Most banks will not do this over the phone. If they are withdrawing funds from an investment account, it frequently takes two weeks to free up those funds.
  • If coming from a prior closing, the buyer will need to tell the other attorney ahead of time that we need certified funds or a bank check. Especially if they are coming from out of state, make these arrangements early!
  • Keep in mind that when we close a brokered loan, the closing time is often dictated to us by the investor – before lining up movers, they should make sure their investor will be funding us etc, especially for early morning closings.
  • Buyers should remember that fuel prorations are usually not included in the numbers we give out and mostly handled outside of closing. Water & Sewer are also not included on the HUD unless final bills are provided to us in advance by one of the parties or their realtor.
  • If we say we are tentatively scheduling a closing, remember the tentative part! The lender ultimately controls when the loan will be able to close.
  • Bring ID!! Listing agents should be reminded that if the seller has no ID, he or she cannot receive any proceeds.
C.L.U.E.® REPORT (MORE INFO BELOW...) in compliance with FACT Act The C.L.U.E. Personal Property report provides a seven year history of losses associated with an individual and his/her personal property. The following data will be identified for each loss: date of loss, loss type, and amount paid along with general information such as policy number, claim number and insurance company name.




06 POST CLOSING DAY


WE FOLLOW UP TO ENSURE A SMOOTH TRANSITION

  • Place BOUGHT sign on the property for 30 days and mail introductory piece to neighborhood
  • Provide bi-monthly newsletter updates
  • Be available for real estate consultation
  • Resource Database Availability
  • Yearly Home Anniversary Reminder
  • Available to provide referral serviceconnecting sellers and buyers with real estate professionals throughout the world
  • We want to be your Real Estate Connection Professional!
We STAY CONNECTED after you close! Over 95% of our business comes from PAST CLIENTS - once you become one, we want to HEAR from you again!





Buyer's Brokers of the Seacoast | Jim Albert Real Estate LLC | NH #047097 ME #DB916851

Downtown Office

36 Maplewood Avenue Portsmouth, NH 03801

Contact

(603) 436-6636

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