Tips & Tools
Oregon Buyer Advisory
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Learn About Buying
STEP 1: DEFINING WHAT YOU WANT
Start by creating a prioritized list of features you want in your next home and the reasons why. Use it as your search guide, but remember that depending on your funding, you will probably need to make some compromises. In addition, talk to your real estate professional about where you want to live. Location is a huge part of any move. CENTURY 21® professionals are trained to help their clients narrow down their choices by sharing market trends and local information like neighborhood statistics and community links.
STEP 2 : FIGURING OUT WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD
Now that you know what you want, it’s time to see what you can afford. When you’re ready to move to the next step, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage. It accomplishes two important goals. First, it will tell you how much house you can afford and what your monthly payments would be. Second, it tells the seller that you can afford to buy their home. By definition, a pre-approved buyer has an approved mortgage subject to an appraisal of the property. Many times a buyer can use this pre-approved status as leverage during the negotiation process.
STEP 2A : FIGURE OUT YOUR MONTHLY PAYMENT WITH OUR MORTGAGE CALCULATOR
STEP 3 : SHOPPING FOR HOMES
Once you know what community you’d like to live in and have an idea of how much house you can afford, its time to start checking out actual properties. Beginning this search online can help save you time since it can help you target homes that meet your search criteria. Our home notifier can even email you when properties come on the market that meet your search criteria.Next, begin visiting homes in person. Ask your local real estate professional to arrange visits and attend open houses that are in your target area and price range. When comparing homes, make sure to look at all aspects of the property. Is the property tax approximately the same? Are both the houses renovated? Do they both have the same amount of bedrooms and bathrooms? Are both houses located on the same or similar streets? Does either house have any encumbrances?Remember to keep an open mind when you are looking at homes. Use a virtual home planner to help you imagine what the house could become with you as the owner.
STEP 4 : MAKING AN OFFER
Once you find the home you want, you need to make an offer for the house. Typically this is a very difficult and trying time since both parties have totally different goals. In most cases it is better to have a third party, such as a real estate professional, negotiate the offer. If you have any personal interaction with the homeowner, don’t give out any information about your move, your current housing status, financial status or your feelings about their property – positive or negative. This could hurt you in future negotiations.This might also be a good time to consider purchasing a CENTURY 21® Home Protection Plan. These insurance policies can be purchased by the buyer or seller and help protect against unexpected costs or home repairs during the listing period or in the initial years after a home has been purchased.
STEP 5 : INSPECTION AND INSURANCE
After your offer is accepted you will need to set up, coordinate and interpret various inspections, including insect, radon, building quality, oil tank, title, etc. You will also need to arrange for homeowners insurance and finalize the mortgage.This is a major step in the buying process and there are many potential problems that can be discovered during this period. These include a leaky roof, radon gas, termite damage, a foundation problem, and wall cracks, to name a few. These problems happen all the time. The difference between closing on your dream home and starting the process all over again is what occurs during the negotiations between you and the seller.Your CENTURY 21® Real Estate Professional can help make these discussions go more smoothly. In most states you will also have the option of a “walk through” before the closing. This is your last chance to make sure that all of the items that you have agreed upon were completed to your satisfaction.
STEP 6 : THE FINAL CLOSING
Before you arrive at the closing, make sure all the necessary paper work and deposits have been completed. If the mortgage, title work, homeowners insurance and other items necessary under local and state laws are not completed and brought to the closing table, the closing may not happen on time. And, depending on what the contract says, this could result in further action including financial penalties and even the loss of your rights to the home.Once you close, it’s official – you own the house! But there might be a few things you want to do before you lay out the welcome mat. These include arranging for an alarm system, turning on the electricity, subscribing to the local paper, cleaning or replacing the carpet, arranging for lawn services, etc. This could also be a good time to make some needed renovations.Be sure to turn to your CENTURY 21® real estate professional for guidance and information about many money-saving offers available to CENTURY 21® customers.
SETTLING INTO YOUR NEW HOME
Now that you are in your new home, it is time to settle in. In addition to unpacking, these “to-dos” will help you get up to speed.
- Contact utility companies and verify start dates.
- Check the condition of items as they are unloaded. Note damaged or missing items on the inventory list.
- Get necessary licenses including drivers and pet licenses.
- Resume delivery of newspapers and other publications.
- Let the local post office know that you have arrived.
- Create an emergency phone list for your new community and post on the refrigerator.
- Change batteries in smoke detectors and plan a fire escape route.
- Send a thank you note to neighbors, friends and family that assisted with the move.
- Consider changing the house locks.
- Register to vote.
- Mail “We’ve Moved” cards with your new address and telephone to friends and family.
Learn About Selling
CREATING A MARKETING PLAN
Create a marketing plan for your home that will help distinguish it in your local marketplace and attract buyers to your property. This may include advertising in the newspaper, posting your listing on the Internet, holding an open house and more. CENTURY 21® Sales Professionals often use the CENTURY 21® Customized Home Marketing System to create a personalized selling program for clients. Its purpose is to sell a home at the best price possible in the shortest amount of time.
GET A MARKET ANALYSIS AND INFO ABOUT SELLING YOUR PROPERTY
It’s important to get an accurate assessment of what your property is worth. There are many factors to consider: neighborhood, the purchase price of the home, the type of property it is, and features such as view, garage, heating and A/C systems, etc.
SHOWING YOUR HOME
Now it’s time to get your home ready for the spotlight. Start with a good cleaning, then eliminate any clutter, add a fresh coat of paint and tidy up the yard. Talk to your real estate professional about other tips that can help boost a home’s curb appeal and impress potential buyers once they’re in the door. One way to make a home more attractive is to purchase a CENTURY 21® Home Protection Plan. This insurance protects you, the seller, from paying repair or replacement costs of major items during the listing period. It also protects the buyer during their first year of homeownership.
MAKE A CHECKLIST FOR MOVING DAY
Two months prior to Moving Day
- Get estimates from moving companies if you will use a mover.
- Get costs from at least two truck rental companies if you will move yourself.
- Create a floor plan of your new home for furniture and appliance placement.
- Make an inventory of your household goods and begin to remove clutter
- Start a file for all your moving paperwork (estimates, receipts, etc.).
- Arrange to transfer school records.
- Choose a mover (or truck rental company).
Six weeks prior to Moving Day
- Obtain and fill out post office change-of-address cards.
- Subscribe to the paper in your new hometown to learn more about your new community
- Make arrangements for storage if necessary.
- Ask your doctor or health plan for referrals and obtain all medical records.
- Have antiques, pieces of art, and other valuables appraised.
- Clean all closets and drawers.
- Start using foods and cleaning supplies that cannot be moved.
Four weeks prior to Moving Day
- Contact all utilities for service disconnection at your old home and connection at your new home.
- If you are moving yourself, reserve a rental truck.
- If you are packing yourself, obtain packing materials and start packing items you won’t need until after you arrive at the new house.
- Arrange for cleaning and repair of furniture, drapes, and carpeting.
- Arrange for special transportation of your pets and plants if necessary.
- Check with your insurance company to see how your possessions are covered during transit.
- Make any travel plans necessary for your move.
- Check to see if you need any moving permits.
- Plan your moving sale.
Two weeks prior to Moving Day
- Service your car in preparation for the move.
- Return any borrowed items (including library books) and retrieve any loaned items.
- Cancel newspaper delivery.
- Notify any creditors of your move.
- Transfer prescriptions and be sure you have an adequate supply of medications on hand.
- Assemble a file folder of information to leave for the new owner of your home.
Prior to Moving Day
- Transfer your bank accounts.
- Take animals to vet for immunization if necessary.
- Close your safe-deposit box.
- Settle any bills with local businesses.
- Find new homes for plants that will not be moved.
- Confirm any travel reservations.
- Defrost refrigerator and freezer, propping doors open.
- Let movers pack your belongings (unless it’s a do-it-yourself move).
- Disconnect and prepare major appliances for move.
- Set aside anything that will travel in your car so it will not be loaded on the truck.
- Pack a box of items that will be needed first at the new
- House. Clearly mark this box “Load Last.”
- Obtain cash or traveler’s checks for the trip and pay the movers.
- Confirm arrival time of your moving van.
- If moving yourself, dismantle beds and other large furniture.
MOVING DAY TIPS
Moving day can be a hectic 24 hours, but there are some things you can do to make it easier.
- Have wrenches and other tools handy for breaking down beds and appliances.
- Move valuables (jewelry, legal documents, family photos, records and collections) yourself – do not send with a moving company.
- If you are using a professional mover, check the inventory list and make sure you agree with the condition of items. Get a copy of the list for your records.
- Load trucks or supervise the moving company. Give every room a final once over. Don’t forget to check the basement, yards, attic, garage and closets.
- Turn off the water heater and lower the thermostat.
- Get the name of the driver and give him your contact information. Also review directions to the new house and the related floor plan.
- Be sure you have the final payment for the movers and money for a tip (if you are satisfied with the job, about $20 per mover is recommended.)