Frequently Asked Questions
What makes you different from the other Realtors in your market?
I specialize in educating and informing my customers so you can make sound, successful decisions for yourself and your family. I also make sure to provide total transparency, ensuring that no customer is left in the dark during the process. I have worked with people from all backgrounds, means and cultures to provide a smooth, swift transaction from contract to closing. I have guided people through the process, even when they didn’t live in the market where they were purchasing their new property. I have also lived and sold real estate in a secondary, resort market for 15 years. It helped me realize how much people really do depend on you to assist them through the process. This helped me develop a team of several service providers at my fingertips, so I can suggest just the right person for the job when needed. I also keep you calm and solution oriented, smoothing out any potential bumps in the road.
Which customers are you best suited to help?
I love empowering young professionals, new homeowners, or those expanding families to make the best decisions for themselves. Also, I love to work with empty nesters, as they are either downsizing, or buying the home of their dreams, for their retirement years. I love helping developers who are new to the market, to define their brand and give them the tools enabling them to stand apart and create a more professional system than the competition.
How and why did you get in to real estate?
My husband and I moved to Colorado in 1995 and he was looking for a new profession. He had been an attorney in Scotland and wanted something less stressful but wanted to use his legal expertise. He decided Real Estate suited him and so he set about becoming a Realtor. I was in marketing and enjoyed it. We then decided to move up to the mountains and my new job was managing the real estate office of a new development, working with the developer, but also serving as the liaison with the real estate company listing his properties. It was at this time that my husband and employer encouraged me to take the real estate course and obtain my license so I could better equip the brokers with the tools they needed. I did, and then I became a licensed assistant to the real estate company’s top producing brokers. Over a 6-year period, we averaged $96,000,000 a year in sales volume. I got the bug to sell and the passion to empower people to make the best real estate decisions for themselves and their families...and here I am! My first full year as a Broker Associate in Oklahoma, I closed 21 deals for my customers.
I’ve had a negative experience in the past. Please tell me how you will keep me informed about the process and how often I’ll get those updates.
Timely communication is very important to me. I believe that keeping you informed with information as soon as I receive it, is one of my best practices. I’ll be asking your preference regarding how you want me to communicate with you. Finally, I’d like you to know, if you ever have a question you are welcome to contact me. I usually have my phone with me, so contact me that way. If I don’t answer the phone, please leave me a message and I will return your call as soon as I’m available.
Do you represent me?
Actually, we do not represent either party. We are simply here to guide you through the process, by providing information on the market to empower you to make educated decisions. I will listen to your needs and wishes and then try to help you find the property that best meets those requirements. I will be honest with you. I will not share your secrets. I want to make this an enjoyable experience for you and keep it as stress-free as possible.
How much do I need to put down on a home?
That depends on the type of loan you are obtaining. I suggest you get with your lender and get pre-approved. They will be able to provide you with the amount you will need for closing costs and your down payment, based on the loan and terms. Once you have that amount in place, let’s get back together and start your home shopping experience. Let me know which lender you are working with, so I can keep them in the loop too.
How will I know how much should I offer on a home?
I will be happy to give you by utilizing ‘comps’ (comparables) so you can make a decision regarding what to offer. Additionally, if I hear there are multiple offers on the same property, I inform the buyer and say, “Make your best offer and then if you are unsuccessful, you know you’ve done your best.” “If you are successful, then you will be glad you did!”
Do I have to do an inspection?
I always recommend that buyers have a home inspection done by a professional inspector. It may cost you now, but it doesn’t cost nearly as much as closing on a house and finding out you have some major defects that you are now responsible for repairing or replacing. Better to be safe than sorry! I even recommend them for new construction homes. I have found that sometimes they are like your “punch list” and they can save you, as you can have the builder fix things before you move in, should there be any problems found.
Does this area have a HOA or Restrictions?
When I’m showing property, I try to always look up the area and find out whether there is an HOA (Homeowner’s Association). And if so, what the HOA dues are, what they cover, and their restrictions. I’ve even been known to make a copy and take with me. If it doesn’t necessarily have dues, but that area does have restrictions, I try to know those, so I can inform the buyer. Again, it’s that kind of detail that makes your buying experience so much better. You feel educated and empowered about what you are getting and what you can or cannot do.
I’m new to the real estate process. How can you help to make sure I understand what’s going on?
I will walk you through each step, ensuring that you understand what’s going on before we move to the next step. I am happy to provide you will the contact information for the various service providers you will need at each step, as well.
- Step 1: Lenders. Have you been pre-qualified? If yes, then great, let me know the amount you have been pre-qualified to spend on a home. If no, then I will ask you to contact the Lender of your choice. I will provide you with some names of a few in the area if you don’t already have one. Once you have chosen your lender, I would like you to let me know who you have chosen, so I can work with them to ensure that we are shopping for the homes you can afford. I will in turn ensure that you are following up with them to provide them with the documentation they need to get you approved and keep them (and you) informed as the process moves forward.
- Step 2: Once you have been approved, we will visit about your needs and wishes. We will make a list of those and then start shopping for the home that best fits those criteria.
- Step 3: During the home shopping experience, it is good to have all parties to the contract present, so that you can both see the homes, see what they have as far as your criteria is concerned, or see what’s missing. I usually provide a sheet with disclosures on the home, which helps answer many questions about the property. This also gives you something you can make notes on about the property and then have it to discuss between yourselves when you are on your own.
- Step 4: I will pull together what we call ‘comps’ (comparables), these are properties that have sold (in that same area) during the last 6 months. This will enable you to decide on the amount to offer, so you are making an offer that stands a great chance of being accepted or at least countered.
- Step 5: After you have made your decision on the property and the price you want to offer, I will type up the offer on an acceptable real estate form, ensuring that you understand each section the contract covers. We will go through all contract documents and discuss any questions so that you feel comfortable about signing the documents.
- Step 6: Presentation of the offer to the listing associate. I will present your offer to the listing associate and ask them to present to the seller. I will communicate the response of the seller to you in a timely manner.
- Step 7: A. If the seller has accepted, them we move to the investigation period. B. If they have countered, then we discuss this option and decide whether to move forward with this purchase or terminate and present an offer on another property. Once your offer has been accepted and you have a contract, there are several things that happen in rapid succession. I will remind you of each item and point you in the right direction to accomplish these items.
- Step 8: I will remind you to get all your loan documentation to the lender and your application completed, signed and back to the lender within the contracted time period.
- Step 9: Investigation Period: This means it’s time to get busy and hire your inspectors: whole house, wood destroying insects, roof, appliances, foundation etc. There is usually a short time to get these done, so we need to get busy as soon as possible. I ask that you copy me on any information you received from these inspectors, so I will know what we are dealing with and can help you assess what needs to be addressed with the seller.
- Step 10: Come to an agreement between the Buyer and Seller on what needs to be treated, repaired or replaced, and then ask for receipts to confirm that the work was carried out. I will continue to communicate with the listing associate and keep you informed.
- Step 11: Time to pick out your title attorney. This is an attorney who is known as a real estate attorney, who will review the updated abstract and make sure it is merchantable. This means if it has requirements, they are pointed out, taken care of before closing, and there are no liens on the property title. Once this is accomplished, a Title Commitment is issued, which is Title Insurance for your lender and for you.
- Step 12: An appraisal is carried out by a licensed appraiser, one that has been assigned by a 3rd party, to ensure that it is fair. They will assess the value of the property in relation to what you have agreed to pay the seller for the property. The lender wants to ascertain that the property they are lending you money to purchase is, in fact, worth what you have agreed to pay. If it is, then we are almost finished! If it doesn’t appraise for that value or greater, then we work with the seller to come to a better price.
- Step 13: With the appraisal behind you and everyone in agreement on the property’s value, the loan can then be sent to “underwriting”, to get the final approval on your loan. If any outstanding documentation is needed, you will be asked to get that to the lender asap. If they have everything they need, we are just waiting for a “clear to close”. This usually takes place within a week of the underwriter(s) receiving all the loan documents. As soon as they release it, you will receive from the lender what is called a “Closing Disclosure” or CD. This document compares your final terms and costs to those estimated in the Loan Estimate that you previously received from the lender. You want to ensure you will be able to meet the loan terms.
- Step 14: You will need to call all the utility companies and set up accounts with them and ask them to transfer the utilities in your name as of the closing date.
- Step 14: Closing date and time will be set at the Title Company. You will be given time options and then you will be required to attend the closing, with a valid government issued ID and a cashier’s check made out to the closing company in the amount given to you from your lender, which is your portion (the down payment and your portion of the closing costs). Then you will sign your loan documents and other closing documents. You will be given plenty of time to review them and ask questions, and then you will sign.
- Step 15: The lender must release the funds to the title company on the day of closing, so that checks can be cut to the seller and any other service providers who will be paid from the proceeds.
- Step 16: The keys will be delivered to you. Many times the sellers and buyers are present at the title company and you will be able to ask the sellers questions about the home that may not have been previously answered, like garage door codes, security codes, etc.
- Step 17: I will give you my excited congratulations for a successful transaction and hope that you enjoy your new home!
So, are you ready to Get Started?