A builder can help make the home-purchase process easier and faster by making arrangements to have a lender on-hand who is already familiar with the project and/or models. The question the home buyer must answer for themselves is, is this "preferred lender" the best choice for them. The most effective way to do this is probably to obtain loan terms from other lenders. With multiple Loan Estimate forms in hand, you can easily compare apples-to-apples and see what advantages the preferred lender has to offer. In addition, you should be aware of current market conditions for transactions like yours. Compare all terms carefully; if in doubt, or if some aspect of a builders offer are only available with the preferred lender, ask for clarification in writing. Should you feel pressured toward one particular lender, ask for written confirmation that no parties are receiving monetary benefits from any other parties. That is illegal under RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) regulations! The desire to close quickly is natural, but make sure your long-term financial interest and home choices are not compromised for short-term speed. .
New-home builders frequently offer additional terms to help close sales quickly; these are usually called "incentives." Incentives are frequently used at critical times, like the end of a financial period, or for particular models or lots. Here are some of the most common: Cost-reduction incentives reduct short-term or up-front costs. For example, a builder might use a cash contribution to closing, or waiver of premiums on the lot, as cost-reduction incentives. Value-add incentives provide upgrades to the home being purchased. A decorating allowance to upgrade appliances, floors or fixtures is a common value-add. Value-to-buyer incentives are not necessarily connected to the house, but they are of value to the buyer. A trip to Hawaii, a car lease, or a big-screen television are all examples of this. Time-to-close incentives speed up the process. For example, if the builder has arrangements with a lender, with details of their project and models already in place, the buying process could be accelerated. While incentives can be emotionally tempting, try to evaluate them neutrally. Would you BUY the item or addition? What will it actually cost over time as part of the mortgage? Is the price fair or inflated? With lender arrangements, ensure that the terms are still fair compared to market terms. As a final check, get advice from your real estate agent or certified new-home cobroker.
Youre ready to buy a house; how do you "Make an offer"? There is a formal process, and the real estate agent(s) will assist you. The offer will involve: Price: how much are you offering? Under what conditions? Time: when do you want to close? Move in? Financial Terms: How much are you offering in down payment? What financing details might affect the offer? Contingencies. Does the offer depend on any other events, such as the sale of your existing home? Earnest Money: what amount are you committing to show that you are in earnest about the purchase? Deadlines: how long is the offer valid? An offer will include the complete legal description of the property, and a few other formal details. Keep in mind, it is "an offer, not a deal." Buyers will frequently provide a counter-offer that changes some of the terms to meet their desired outcome.
The initial offer price and terms on a home purchase have a big effect on the final deal. Keep a few things in mind in calculating your offer: If a buyers agent is involved, working for you (the buyer), they should take the lead on this job. Remind them to keep information and decisions confidential. If a buyers agent is NOT involved, remember that the selling agent works for the seller, not you! Calculating the actual offer should factor in: The price and terms for homes in the area The price and terms for recent, similar and especially nearby sales ("comps" -- comparable homes.) The condition of the home The listing history - how long has it been on the market? Has the listing price changed over time? Your financing terms, and general financing conditions such as interest rates. The sellers situation Know what the home is worth, and what you can afford. Negotiation is common; expect the buyer to make a counter-offer and anticipate more than one back-and-forth to reach agreement on the final price and terms. If you have a buyers agent, consider their advice, but follow your own reason and goals.
Buying a home is so complex that getting started may be intimidating. Ask yourself some basic questions before getting deeply involved. Are you prepared financially and emotionally to make the long-term investment and commitments involved? Are you clear on your budget, both up-front costs and monthly costs? Have you discussed the things youre looking for in the house — space, rooms, features and the rest — in advance? Have you narrowed down the places that you think will fit your life? You will find it easier to get started after being clear on these key factors; writing them down may even help you stay objective through the many decisions to come.