Why Choose Pam?
Your home is the biggest material asset you have. It's too important to just "wing it".
I have been a working in real estate for over 15 years. I continually learn new things to remain an expert in my field. I know the market, know what makes homes sell, and how to price your home to get the most for it. One of my favorite areas of real estate is negotiating aggressively on my clients' behalf. I am also an Accredited Staging Professional. Staging your home to sell is different than decorating your home to live in; each aspect is managed to achieve a desired result when buyers walk through the door.
I will always keep my clients' best interests first. I believe in treating people how I'd like to be treated. I will work hard to make you a satisfied customer. No high-pressure sales pitch, no quotas to meet. I especially enjoy the fact that my involvement in this important part of peoplels' lives is a real opportunity for service to others.
I will aggressively go after your goals. I know how to close a deal and how to keep deals alive when other agents give up on them. I am continually amazed at what good knowledge of negotiating skills can accomplish!
AFTER THE SALE
I want to be your real estate consultant for life! When you need a good plumber, painter, handyman, call me. When you need to know what your neighbor's house sold for, call me. When your friends or your kids are ready to buy or sell a house, call me.
~~WHAT MOTIVATES ME? I want to live in a way that shows I value people more than things.
The Home Buying Process
Select a real estate agent to represent you (At NO COST TO YOU)
You can have an agent specifically committed to representing you. The agent listing a house for sale is obligated to look out for the seller’s best interests. A buyer’s agent will look out for the buyer’s best interests. But you pay nothing for the services of a buyer’s agent, they are paid out of the listing agent’s commission, if and when you buy a house. It does not affect how much you pay for the house. It does not affect how much the seller gets for the house.
Once you designate me as your Buyer’s Agent, you are put on a level playing field with the sellers: you have your own real estate agent to look out for your best interests. This designation can be cancelled at any time, and you are under no obligation to buy a house.
In addition to representing you, I will guide you through the process of buying a home, and let you know what to look out for. Call me with any real estate questions you have. Please don’t feel you are “bothering” me. If you’re wondering about something, call me. If you have concerns, call me. If something is giving you anxiety, call me. That’s what I’m here for!
How’s your credit? It’s important to talk to a mortgage representative before you begin looking, to determine what price range to shop in and eliminate last-minute surprises. You can talk to different lenders and compare the loans. I can recommend mortgage representatives. A 10-minute phone call with a mortgage representative will “pre-qualify” you. If you have a pretty good idea of your price range, you need to make sure. If you start looking at houses in a price range that’s higher than you can afford, it’s painful to readjust your expectations to a lower-priced home. This representative will take your financial information (income, savings, debt, job history) and look at your credit report to determine your credit score. They will discuss with you how much you can/want to spend and the various mortgage programs (there are lots!) and determine which is best for you. They will issue a letter stating that you have been pre-qualified for a mortgage. We need this “pre-qualified” letter before we start to look at homes. When we find “the” house, we want to be prepared to make an offer.
You will find out how much cash you will need to have on hand. Be sure to have cash to pay for the mortgage application, earnest money deposit, any inspections, and home insurance. These will come out of your pocket. They will also be able to give you an idea of how much closing costs will be.
You may be a good candidate for seller concessions. With the approval of your lender, a seller may contribute money to help cover your closing costs. This may make it possible for a buyer who doesn’t have a lot of cash to buy a home. The amount of any concessions is negotiated with the purchase offer. Most sellers are only concerned about the bottom line: how much they are going to net on the sale of their house. Subtract the concessions from the offering price to get the net price.
Lending programs available will determine the amount and appropriateness of concessions. Some programs which require a five percent down payment may allow a seller to offer a contribution of up to 3 percent of the sales price. There are programs which may allow 3 to 6 percent in concessions. Keep in mind that the offer should not go beyond the program guidelines as that may detract from the value of the house.
The next step is to be “pre-approved” for your mortgage, where the mortgage representative takes your application and will actually verify all your information. You will need to pay an application fee, typically $200. I can accompany you to this visit with your mortgage representative if you’d like. We will use this “pre-approval” letter as a strong bargaining tool in negotiating the purchase of your home.
Your mortgage representative will give you a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) of the closing costs (settlement charges) you are likely to incur. It also contains other information about the loan.
Government Recording and Transfer Charges are fees for legally recording your deed and mortgage. These fees may be paid by you or by the seller, depending on the terms of the purchase agreement.
Your closing costs will also include money that will go into an escrow account, which is an impound account in which a portion of your monthly mortgage payment is deposited to cover annual charges for homeowner’s insurance, mortgage insurance (if applicable), and property taxes.
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is insurance that protects your lender if you default on your loan. With conventional loans, mortgage insurance is usually required if you don’t make a down payment of at least 20% of your home’s appraised value. Your lender may require payment of your first year’s mortgage insurance premium or a lump sum premium that covers the life of the loan in advance at settlement. The same protection on an FHA loan is called Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP).
I usually recommend that any offers you make on a house be contingent on your attorney’s approval, to protect you. I can recommend several attorneys. You should know what attorney you want to use when and if you submit an offer. Your attorney will make sure title to the house will be transferred properly to you. . Your attorney’s fee—typically around $400—is added on to your closing costs.
If you’re currently renting, when is your lease up? If you own a home, think about putting it on the market as soon as possible. Many people ask if it’s better to sell your present home, or find a new one first. It depends. If you find your “dream home” and haven’t sold your house, you’re at a huge disadvantage. If an offer is made on your house before you find one, you can always accept it “subject to finding suitable property”.
What do you want? We will narrow down the area, price range, style of house, size of house, number of bedrooms and baths, school district, and any other special needs/wants you have. Once we determine what you want in a house, we can specify the criteria by which we will search the Multiple Listing Service. I can set up a custom search for you that will find everything on the MLS that matches your criteria. I can have the MLS automatically e-mail the results to you, and then send you any new listings that become available that match your criteria. It’s important that you get listings as soon as they come on the market, because some desirable houses are sold very soon after they are listed for sale and we want to know about them immediately.
Keep an eye out for homes for sale that appeal to you. Drive through areas and neighborhoods that interest you. If you see a home that looks promising in an ad, on the street, on the Internet, or on automatic e-mail, let me know and I’ll get information about it. I will research it and set up a showing, if you want to see it. I can show you any home for sale, even if it’s listed by another firm (tell other agents you’re working with me) or is for sale by the owner. If you go to an open house, tell them you’re working with me, and they’ll notify me of any “side” information, such as price reductions, seller motivation, etc. It’s important that you go through me.
When you narrow them down to ones you want to see, I will schedule a time for us to visit them. When you look at each home, it’s not necessary to spend a lot of time in each one. Look the house over quickly. If you decide this home is not a contender, there’s no need to spend a lot of time there. Get enough information to use it for comparison, and move on. I don’t want you to burn out at this stage of the game and settle for something that’s not right for you. If you think you might consider this home, then you may want to make a more detailed inspection.
If the homeowner is present during the showing, try not to react emotionally (put on your “poker face”). It’s okay to be polite, say “hi”, but keep it at that. If you LOVE their house, I don’t want them to know that and use it as a bargaining chip.
After looking at homes in your price range, you’ll get a better feel for what you get for your price range. Then you’ll be able to comparison-shop to find the best deal. The real market value of a house is determined by buyers who are comparison shopping. A word about pricing: If a home is in great condition, expect it to be priced at the top of its value range. If a house is not in perfect shape, it will be priced lower than its top value. So if you’re looking for a house without much work to be done, expect to pay top dollar for it. The bargains usually need work, but that’s your chance to build “sweat equity”. If this house were in perfect shape, it would be in a higher price range.
A house for sale should have a “Property Condition Disclosure” form, filled out by the seller. Examine it carefully to answer questions about the home’s condition.
The Purchase Offer is the first step in the negotiation process. I will fill out the contract with you and present it to the seller’s agent. The pricing of the house already takes into consideration the location and condition of the home. If you’re looking at a 50-year old home, don’t expect to get it for less because components are 50 years old. I will give you guidance on the value of the house by researching sales of comparable homes in the area. You decide how much you want to offer. Expect a counter-offer. Most sellers do not accept the first offer.
The real value of a house is what a willing buyer will pay a willing seller in today's marketplace. The best predictor of that is what other buyers have paid for similar homes in the area in the recent past (known as comparable sales, or "comps"). The assessment may not be a true reflection of the market value, it's just what the taxing authority computed, based on their complex computer program, the last time they re-assessed it. True value does not take into consideration how much the seller bought it for. Or how much money they put into maintenance. (Note: "improvements" are not the same as "maintenance." Improvements add value, like an addition that adds more square footage. A new roof is just maintenance, to keep the value from deteriorating.)
I will negotiate the purchase on your behalf. Price is very important, but there are other details that are also important: closing date, other deadlines, contingencies, home warranty, inspections, what’s included/excluded in the sale. I try to know the seller’s motivation and will use that in our negotiations. We’ll include your mortgage pre-approval in the offer so the seller knows you are qualified to buy the house (it’s almost as good as a cash offer).
Addendums that need to be included with the Purchase Offer are Lead Disclosure, Agency Disclosure, Property Condition Disclosure, and any addendums that pertain to your circumstances: Sale and Transfer (if you need to sell your home first), Property Inspection or any other contingencies you want to attach to the contract. I will recommend certain contingencies to protect you.
You will need to include an “earnest money deposit” for the seller to know you mean business. This will come out of your pocket. Most sellers will expect 1-2% of the purchase price. Your check will be cashed and held in a bank account. Then it will be credited to you at the closing.
It’s now time to go back to your mortgage representative to make final arrangements for financing. We will have a target closing date, so make sure you lock your interest rate for after that date.
When you apply for a mortgage, your lender will pull your credit report and verify all the information you gave them. They will require an appraisal on the new property to make sure it’s worth what they’re mortgaging it for. Then it goes to underwriting, where it all the information is reviewed and a decision is made to grant you the loan. It usually takes approximately 1-2 weeks from the time you apply to get your approval/commitment letter.
You will find out how much cash you will need to have on hand. (Be sure to have cash to pay for the mortgage application, earnest money deposit, any inspections, possibly the appraisal, and home insurance. These may come out of your pocket.)
A higher credit score can get superior financing arrangements or more favorable interest rates. Your credit score is made up of several components:
Record of timely payments on loans (35% of credit score) Tip: paying online records time of payment, so you could prove your payments were made on time.
The amount and type of outstanding debt (30% of credit score), or the debt to available credit ratio. (Anytime the debt is 30% or higher, your score goes down. 75% or more and it double down scores you.)
Length of credit history – 15%
the mix of credit accounts – 10% (credit cards, bank loan, dept store, finance co.)
Number and types of accounts opened recently – 10%.
Your credit score can change in the next 30-45 days, which will affect your mortgage. Don’t make any major purchases, or take on any new debt.
Don’t make inquiries on your credit score
Don’t increase your debts. Decrease your debts. (When you have a higher amount on your credit card, your score goes down.) , Hold off on getting any loans--esp. 0% to pay off credit cards. It will become a 100% of available credit on that loan and push your score down. Do it after you close.
Don’t visit credit counseling. It will be a red-light inquiry on your credit report.
If the underwriter for the bank thinks you’re a good risk (you’ll pay the money back), you will be issued a Mortgage Commitment, where the bank promises to make the loan to you, and specifies the terms of the loan. You have to accept their terms, in writing, by signing the commitment and sending it back to them. All of your information, including employment, will be re-verified shortly before closing to make sure there are no changes in your credit situation.
A home purchase is probably the largest purchase you will make. I take it very seriously and view myself as a protector for you. I will recommend that you include certain contingencies in your Purchase Offer to limit your risk. A contingency is a condition that must be met. I may recommend a contingency that:
Your attorney approves the sale (By the way, an attorney can “dis-approve” the contract without having to give a reason. So you may want to wait for the attorney approval before spending any money on this house.)
the home passes a satisfactory home inspection
you are able to get a mortgage on the property (by a certain date, at an acceptable interest rate)
you not be required to buy this house unless you sell your present house
A home warranty be included
The home passes a well or septic system test
The seller provides a Property Condition Disclosure. New York State requires that the seller fill this out, and you should review it before you make an offer.
Any other condition that is needed in your particular situation is met
When a contingency has been met, you must release that contingency from the contract. Once all the contingencies have been released, the contract can go forward.
You can hire a home inspector to inspect the home for you to detect unseen problems. The inspector will do a visual examination of the home that typically lasts 2-3 hours. The inspector will review accessible areas and items, including the heating system, central air conditioning system, interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic space and visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, doors, windows, basement or crawlspace area and the foundation and visible structural components. If you chose to have a home inspection, you need to call your inspector and schedule it now. Our Client Perks Department works with several home inspectors, and can schedule it for us. Let me know when it will be and I will make arrangements for access to the house. Your contract will give you a certain number of days to have the inspection done. Then you will have a certain number of days to notify the seller of any major or significant defects, and give the seller a chance to remedy them. When satisfied with the results, you must release this contingency.
I suggest you meet the inspector at the home and go through the inspection with him. You will get a comprehensive list of aspects of the home’s condition. The purpose of this inspection is to make sure there are no major or significant expense or safety issues that were not evident when we went through the house previously. It’s not intended for small items that you would be aware of when you view the home. If the inspection reveals problems, it does not necessarily mean you should not buy the house. The inspection is meant to educate you in advance of the purchase of the condition of the property.
Most home inspectors will also talk to you about the house and give you information on maintaining the home. The inspector usually requires payment at the time of the inspection, so bring a check (typically $275-$300 and up).
You may also want to test for radon, an invisible, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally from decaying uranium under the earth’s surface. When trapped inside an enclosed space, it can reach dangerous levels (Find out more at www.epa.gov and search for “radon”). To test radon levels, your inspector will leave a canister inside the basement of the home for 48 hours, where it will take readings. He will pick it up 48 hours later and get the results from that device. This test typically costs approximately $140 in addition to the home inspection.
Your contract will specify a certain number of days (usually 5-7 days after acceptance) to have the inspection done. Then you will have a certain number of days to notify the seller of any major or significant defects, and give the seller a chance to remedy them.
If the home is on a septic system or well, we should have those systems inspected. Typically the seller will pay for the septic inspection and pumping. Most mortgage companies require that it be done within a certain number of days of closing, so watch the dates. The well should be tested for potability (bacteria, chemicals from agricultural run-off, etc.) and flow. We will purchase and handle all the details of this inspection, to make sure we get proper results.
A Home Warranty covers the major mechanical systems of the house for one year. You can buy one yourself (approximately $450), or we can negotiate that the seller provide it.
If you’re currently renting, figure out when you need to notify your landlord and do it.
I will make sure all conditions of the contract are met. When a contract is signed, I will fax it to your attorney for approval. You should talk to your attorney to make sure you understand the terms of the contract. I will be available for your questions about any step in the process. I will also fax the contract to your mortgage company to continue the mortgage process.
Once you have your mortgage commitment, the attorneys will do all the paperwork necessary to make sure the title is clear and prepare to transfer it to the new owner. This includes finding the abstract, researching title, obtaining survey, title insurance, etc. If you have questions about legal matters, call and talk to your attorney about them. The attorneys schedule the closing, so make sure your attorney knows when you prefer to close
It’s normal to have second thoughts when making a purchase this important. And any change is uncomfortable. Just remember why you are buying your own home: to build equity instead of making rent payments every month, for income tax advantages, to have a home and land of your own, to have the right to do anything with your own property, to have privacy, to provide the realization of a dream for your family! You are making an investment in your future. Like millions of other people, YOU CAN DO IT!
Your attorney will notify you when and where the closing will take place. It's usually scheduled by the buyer's attorney and held at the bank's attorney's office. You need to contact your insurance carrier to get home insurance on your new home. Your mortgage representative will furnish you with a “Good Faith Estimate of Closing Costs” so you know how much money you need to bring to the closing. Closing costs typically include re-paying the seller for taxes he’s paid for the coming year, first year’s taxes and insurance—these are referred to as “pre-paids”. The seller will take final utility meter readings. You will need to arrange to have the utilities billed to you upon closing:
Interim Interest is interest you pay on your mortgage on a daily basis from the date you close until the end of that month.
Traditionally if you were to close on August 15th, you would pay 15 days interest to bring the interest paid in full for that month. Then you would not have a mortgage payment in the month of September and the first payment would be due in October.
When you make October's payment, you are making October's principal payment and September's interest payment.
Many years ago, when the concept of a mortgage was developed, it was based upon the usury laws, that meant that you had to use the money before you paid upon it. Therefore, your interest payments are paid in arrears. Should a customer keep a mortgage for its entire duration, the final payment is only principal.
Please note, when you close on the first day of the month, it is possible that you would either have no interim interest and your payment is due the first day of the very next month, or you may have to pay 30 days of interim interest and you do not have payment for two months.
This policy varies from lender to lender, so please talk to your mortgage representative for clarification.
What is Title? A title is the evidence or right that a person has to the Ownership and possession of land. A defect in that title can be any legal right held by someone other than the owner to claim property or to make demands on the owner of that property as to its use.
What Can Make a Title “Defective”? Any number of problems that remain undisclosed after even the most meticulous search of public record can make a title defective.
These hidden defects may not arise for many months or even years. Yet they could result in your spending substantial sums on legal defense and still result in the loss of your property.
A title insurance policy protects against all of the hidden risks listed below and many more;
Title insurance is a contract to protect an owner against losses arising from defects in the title. Although the appropriate land records are searched to determine ownership, claims, legal documents and other matters that may affect the property, it is not always possible to find all adverse matter which may affect ownership.
Why would I need Homeowners Insurance and Title Insurance? The insurance coverage between the two is vastly different. Homeowners insurance is insurance against future catastrophes, where title insurance is insuring the ownership of past and present. Unlike homeowners insurance, which has an annual fee; title insurance charges a one-time premium.
Two Types of Title Insurance: There are two basic types of Title Insurance protection: A Lender’s Policy and an Owner’s Policy
As a condition to your mortgage, your lender requires you to purchase a Lender Policy to protect their security interest in the property you are purchasing. A title policy that is issued to a Lender does not provide coverage for you, the owner.
For example, if a loan policy is issued to a Lender and title to the insured property is later determined to be invalid as a result of a forged deed, the Lender may be compensated, but the owner will still lose the property due to invalid title and will continue to have the loan obligation to the lender.
An Owner’s Policy is designed to protect the Owner from title defects. It also covers the full cost of any legal defense of your title. An Owner’s Policy not only insurance you during your period of ownership, but continues to insure you after the property has been sold so long as you transfer the property by warranty deed, or if you hold a mortgage given to a new purchaser.
You will be covered with respect to recoveries from third person. For example, if someone purchases your home from you by warranty deed, and the title later fails the purchaser, the purchaser usually has right to sue on the warranty covenants and recover their loss. The purchaser would probably be insured under their new title policy and would put a claim in with their insurer, but their insurer would have the right to sue and collect from you.
An Owner’s Title Policy will not only protect you, but it will protect your heirs or devisees that receive the property upon your death. Your title insurer will bear the full cost of defending you against any claims at a one-time premium paid at closing.
The cost to obtain both the Owner’s and Lender’s policies is based upon the purchase price and the mortgage amount. A single premium is paid at closing and no additional payments are necessary to maintain the coverage.
An Attorney may recommend that you obtain an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy to protect you against unknown claims of ownership to or interest in your property. The Title Insurance Company would then guarantee against loss due to any defect in title or expense in legal defense of the title.
You have the right to a final walk-through 24-48 hours before you close to make sure everything works and is as you expect it to be. I will accompany you.
Remember that the property is purchased “as is” with “normal wear and tear” permitted between the offer and the closing. Walk through less than 24 hours prior to closing when possible. You don’t want too much time to lapse between the walk through and the closing.
Walk through during daylight hours, if possible. Bring your home inspector’s report and verify that repairs were properly completed. Examine the now empty garage, basement, attic and/or crawl spaces. When the house is occupied these areas are hard to view. Take photos of any surprises, damage, or unfinished repair work.
Finally, take readings of the utilities, and phone them in to the utility companies, and make sure they’ve been transferred over to your name.
You will need to bring a cashier’s check for the amount due at closing. Your attorney will tell you the amount, and who it should be made payable to. The closing usually takes place at an attorney’s office and lasts 1-2 hours. Bring a photo ID (like your driver’s license), which is necessary to have documents notarized. You will sign many documents, including a promise to repay what you borrowed (the Note), an agreement that the house is collateral on the loan (the Mortgage). You need to bring proof of homeowner insurance on your new home. Ownership of the home will be transferred from the seller to you.
I build my business on referrals from satisfied customers. Who else do you know that may be buying or selling a home in the near future? Please give them my name (or I can call them).
Since I will be working the entire time to make you a satisfied customer, I would appreciate your feedback on how to improve. I collect “quotes from satisfied customers”, if you’d care to give one!
It would be my privilege to be your real estate agent for life. My services continue after you’ve closed on your home. If you ever have a question about real estate, or if there’s ever anything I can help you with, please call me. Your membership in our Home Services program continues indefinitely. I can recommend roofers, plumbers, electricians, handymen, etc. I’ll be in touch!