There are hundreds of homes listed in the Birmingham area. With our computer access to listings in the Birmingham area, we can narrow your search quickly, and you can even view pictures of the homes that you want to see. If you are relocating from another city, we can mail or email this information to you. This will save valuable travel time and speed your relocation process.
THE HOME BUYING PROCESS
When you’re ready to think about buying or selling your property, you need to ask yourself the following questions: Do you have the time, energy, sources of information, and contacts to do the job yourself? If you are of the ‘do-it-yourself’ people, would the results be as good or better than the would be if you had professional assistance? Would it have gone smoother? Would it have given you more personal time? Would you have purchased for less, or sold for more, if a REALTOR® was involved? Read the following information and learn how a REALTOR® can help you understand everything you need to know about a real estate transaction.
The process of buying a home or investment generally starts with determining your buying power; that is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity. If you give your REALTOR® some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, they can refer you to lenders best qualified to help you. Most lenders, banks, and mortgage companies offer limited choices.
Once you know how much you can and want to invest, the next step is to find the properties that most nearly fit your needs. This is the time to choose a REALTOR®. Your REALTOR® has many resources to assist you in that search. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your REALTOR® to find all available properties.
Your job is to make the final selection of the right property for you. This is when excitement and emotion run high. Your REALTOR® can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property. REALTORS® have access to a variety of information resources. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, etc. There are two things you’ll want to know. First, will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?
There are a myriad of negotiating factors, including, but not limited to price, financing, terms, date or possession, and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The purchase agreement should also provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your REALTOR® can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.
With a negotiated agreement in hand, it is time to complete the evaluation of the property. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well test, just to name a few. Your REALTOR® can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports. You will also want to see a preliminary report on the title of the property. Title indicates ownership of property and can be mired in confusing status of past owners or rights of access. The title to most properties will have some limitations, for example, easements (access rights) for utilities. Your REALTOR®, title company or attorney can help you resolve issues that might cause problems at a later date.
As soon as you are reasonable sure the property is right for you, the process of obtaining financing begins. Your REALTOR® can help you in understanding different financing options and in identifying qualified lenders.
CLOSING OR SETTLEMENT
Finally, there is the closing, or settlement, as it is known in different parts of the country. Again, your REALTOR® can guide you through this process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.
WHY A REALTOR?
All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the National Association of Realtors are properly called REALTORS®. REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. An independent survey reports that 84% of home buyers would use the same REALTOR® again.
USING A REALTOR…You Be the Judge!
Real estate transactions involve one or the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. Transactions today usually exceed $100,00. If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a CPA? If you had a $100,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it would be foolish to consider a deal in real estate without the professional assistance of a REALTOR®!