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Buy a Home with Us

Buy A Home

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Fill out the form below to get started buying a home. Be descriptive about what you are looking for so we are prepared for our first conversation.

Representation is Free

The seller pays for the buyer’s representation at closing. It costs you nothing.

Informed on Options

Some of the best deals never even make it to the MLS.

Pay Less

A buyer’s agent will represent your best interests when negotiating terms

Our Team of Real Estate Agents

Designated Realtors®

When we represent a buyer or seller we do it as a team. You are not working with one agent but a team of top performing agents. This includes all of the support staff that helps us execute on your dream home with precision and speed.

Cindy Guckenberger

Listing/Buying Agent/Realtor

Tim Nye

Broker Associate

Layne Samuelson

Listing/Buying Agent/Realtor

Alison Taylor

Listing/Buying Agent/Realtor

Frequently Asked Questions

We have Answers!

There are probably few things in life that are as exciting–or as nerve-racking–as the search for a house. With
an organized home-buying plan, a great deal of the emotional impact is minimized. By determining your buying
power, your desires and needs, and having an organized search plan, your chances of a stress-free
experience increase.
Certain types of homes may appeal a bit more to some single homebuyers. For example, since most of the
maintenance will be done by one person rather than two, many single buyers prefer homes such as
townhouses and condominiums where some or all of the exterior maintenance, landscaping, snow removal,
etc. is handled by the homeowner’s association. In addition, some single buyers prefer the community aspect
of these types of homes and the sense of safety that may be conveyed by having neighbors close by.
Many single homebuyers are single parent families. A common mistake is to tailor their purchase too closely to
their current needs and not enough to future resale. For example, a one bedroom, two-bath single-family home
with a kitchen may be perfect for you, but it could be next to impossible to sell. It would be far better to have
additional bedrooms and have them sit empty (or use them as an office, exercise room, etc.) than to not have
them at all.
Gertrude Singer, a realtor with National Realty in Palm Bay, suggests that single buyers consider a few issues
when preparing for and purchasing a home. According to Singer, the single homebuyer should
· Run before walking. This is easy to do once the decision to buy a home has been made. It means rushing
off to look at homes, surfing the web, or calling on advertisements before doing some up-front preparation.
· Don’t over-buy the first time. A large and beautiful home with little or no furniture tends to be empty and
cold. A life where almost every dime of your earnings goes to the support of your house wears thin very
quickly and is a frequent cause of family stress. Leave yourself some breathing room!
· Compare mortgages. Don’t accept the first plan presented to you. Spend time comparing to garner the most
advantageous plan for your requirements and financial situation
· Get a pre-approved mortgage. Pre-qualification and pre-approvals are a necessary part of the home buying
process. It will give you an exact price range for your purchase, and the pre-approval will add more strength to
your offer
· Don’t wait for the “perfect” home. Many first time buyers make the mistake that if they search long enough,
they’ll find a home that contains 100% of their needs and wants. Instead, it makes sense to determine your top
needs and desires. Then, select a home that meets the majority of them.
· The inspection process. This can involve skipping a whole house inspection completely in order to save the
relatively small amount of money involved, or it may involve using a friend or relative with limited experience to
conduct the inspection. In either case you run the risk of not exposing potentially expensive–or even
hazardous–defects in the property. Protect yourself by investing the $200 to $500 for a professional
inspection.
John Kuehne, a realtor with Pruitt Real Estate, Inc., advised that once the decision to buy a home is
cemented, take time to prepare before you go on your home search.
· Get your financial house in order first!
· Determine what your budget will comfortably allow and stick to it.
· Get pre-approved for a mortgage.
· Get familiar with the different housing types available to help narrow your search.
· Determine your minimum requirements of a house as well as any additional desired features.
· Make a list of any items that you don’t want in a house.
· Determine the desired location (schools, work, public transportation, etc.)
· Choose an agent that you feel comfortable with and understands your needs.
Kuehne also suggests using a scorecard to compare homes as you search. He explained that, “A scorecard is
a great tool when it comes time for comparisons (and for remembering which home had which features).”
First-time buyers often find out too late that buying a home can be an emotionally charged experience. Once
they plunge into the process, they find out how addictive it can be. When the time arrives to make an offer,
they can hardly think straight.
Here are some tips on how to handle the most common emotional and family-related problems that
crop up in the home-buying process.
* PROBLEM: Should I buy or should I rent? Even if you know you would be better off financially if you buy a
home, you might still be better off renting. Here are some legitimate reasons to rent: You don’t know where
you want to live, your desirable neighborhood is too expensive, you’re at risk for a job transfer, or your
company seems to be on shaky ground. You may also be carrying a lot of personal debt (credit card, car or
school loans) and lack cash for a down payment. If you can’t deal with the potential risk of an investment in
real estate, you should also consider renting for a while longer.
* PROBLEM: I feel like I’m being talked into buying a home I can’t afford. The idea behind homeownership isn’t
to force you into bankruptcy. If it is done correctly, you can set yourself up financially for years to come.
The answer is to “under-buy.” Basically, you spend less than you can afford to spend. That will leave you more
cash for other investments and the ability to treat yourself and your family to a few meals out and perhaps a
vacation or two.
* PROBLEM: My divorce wrecked my credit. Unfortunately, rarely does a divorce end happily for all. More
likely, everyone ends up with tattered emotions.
The first thing to do is purchase a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting
agencies (Experian, Trans-Union and Equifax). Start writing to creditors and try to negotiate an end to the
finance charges and comply with a schedule.
If you haven’t canceled your joint cards, now is the time. Pay off all outstanding bills. If you owe spousal or
child support, continue making your regular payments or you could find yourself in even worse trouble.
* PROBLEM: I have a great job and lousy credit, and my spouse has great credit and a lousy job history.
Mismatched careers and credit histories are extremely common. In the real world, rarely do spouses or
10
partners generate the same amount of money. The best solution is to remain at your jobs for at least a year
and work on improving the credit history.
* PROBLEM: I don’t know how to approach my partner about a partnership agreement. Find a quiet, relaxing
time to bring up the issue of a partnership agreement. Together, you should find a real estate attorney who
can review your various options and help you outline the goals of the partnership. If the conversation becomes
uncomfortable and you find yourself unable to resolve simple conflicts, you may want to rethink your choice of
a home-buying partner.
* PROBLEM: We can’t agree on what we want to buy. You and your spouse or partner should each write up a
wish list and reality check. A wish list is everything you’ve ever wanted in a home, from size, shape and
amenities to school district and the ideal commute to work. The reality check is everything you can’t live
without. Once you’ve completed your separate lists, sit down and combine them.

Most sellers like to make all minor repairs before going on the market in order to seek a higher sales price. In addition, nearly all purchase contracts include a buyer contingency “inspection clause,” which allows a buyer to back out if numerous defects are found. Once the problems are noted, buyers can attempt to negotiate repairs or a lower price.

UNDERSTANDING LOANS

There are many forms of loans available. You want to look at the types of loans available, not just the going
rates. The below gives you a brief description on types of loans available, be sure to ask your broker for further
details and comparisons.
Fixed Rate Home Loans
Fixed rate loans are loans ideal for those looking to lock in a rate. This type of loan will have the same interest
rate for the entire life of the loan. There are a variety of repayment terms, with 15, 20, and 30 years as the
most common.
Fixed Rate Loans are ideal for people who want the current rate and want to keep it for the life of the loan.
They are ideal for homeowners who plan to stay in the home for a long time and do not plan on moving soon.
The person, who is more comfortable with certainty and a clearly set path, will find great comfort in the Fixed
Rate Loan.
The 30-Year Fixed Rate Home Loan will have the lowest monthly payment of the fixed rate loan choices. This
keeps home loan payments affordable by extending them over a longer period of time. Most of the time, you
will find that this solution offers the maximum tax-deductible interest, but always check with your account first.
The 15-Year Fixed Rate Home Loan comes with higher payments than the 30-year loan but a lower rate. Over
the life of the loan, you will save considerable money on total interest paid. The shorter timeframe allows you
to build equity in your home faster.
Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs)
Adjustable Rate Mortgages are mortgages where the interest rate adjusts from time to time. The interest rate
you pay is adjusted to keep it in line with changing market rates. When interest rates rise, your monthly home
loan payments may go up. The reverse occurs when interest rates go down: your monthly home loan
payments may go down.
ARMs are attractive because they offer start rates that are lower than the interest rates of fixed rate home
loans. This typically enables you to begin with lower monthly payments and qualify for a larger loan.
Typically people will go with the ARMs if they are planning to sell the home in a few years and are less
concerned about possible rate increases. They may also be confident that their income will raise enough in
the coming years to handle any increase in payments. As a result, they like that a lower initial rate is offered
and this enables them to afford the home they want.
The mechanics of an ARMs works like this. The initial interest rate, which tends to be lower than most current
rates, allows for a low month payment for a set amount of time, for example 5 years. After this rate comes to
an end, the interest rate is based on the performance of a financial index. For example: the average interest
rate or yield on Treasury bills. Your payment schedule is adjusted according to the index, just as your rate and
payment increases at each adjustment depends on your loan terms. A 1-year ARM adjusts once a year. At
each adjustment, the new rate is computed by adding the margin (a predetermined amount that remains the
same for the life of your loan) to the predefined financial index. Two “caps” may put a limit on the maximum
amount your rate can increase. The periodic cap sets the maximum rate to which your rate can go up from one
adjustment period to the next. The life cap sets the maximum interest rate for the life of the loan. Some ARMs
offer a conversion feature that allows you to convert to a fixed rate loan at certain times during your loan.
Fixed period ARMs
Does this type of vulnerability or fluctuation give you a sour stomach? A fixed period ARM starts with a lower

rate than standard fixed rate loans. Your rate then stays the same for the first 3, 5, 7, or 10 years, depending on the fixed period ARM you choose. At the end of that period, your interest rate adjusts like a regular ARM

according to a financial index (that’s why some lenders call them 3/1, 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 ARMs).
The fixed period ARMs are good for people who plan on living at the home for a short period of time and know
they will sell shortly.

Balloon Loans
Similar to Fixed Period ARM loans, with a Balloon Loan your rate stays the same for the first 5, or 7 years,
depending on the type of Balloon mortgage you choose. With a Balloon mortgage your monthly payment is
calculated as if you will pay off the loan over 30 years. However, this type of loan requires that you completely
pay your remaining balance (a significant percentage of your original loan amount) in a single payment after 5
or 7 years.
This loan may be suitable for those who will sell their home or refinance on or before the balloon payment
date. This loan could be suitable for temporarily relocated workers or others who are certain they will not stay
in their new home beyond the 5 or 7-year period.
Borrowers often enjoy a lower interest rate for this program because the borrower is not obliging the lender to
extend credit beyond the initial fixed period. Please note that some balloon programs offer the borrower a
Conditional Right to Reset, which effectively provide an extension beyond the initial fixed period.
Government Loans
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offer
government-insured loans. These loans enable first-time homebuyers to obtain loans more easily. The loans
consist of low down payments and flexible lending guidelines.
FHA Loan Features
The FHA loan has numerous features. Instead of the common 20% down payment, the FHA loan allows for a
3% down payment of the FHA appraisal value or purchase price, the lower of the two. There are no maximum
income or earning limitations and both fixed rate and ARM loans are offered. Insurance from the federal
government replaces private mortgage insurance.
VA Loan Features
The VA loan has its own desirable features. These include the ability for qualified veterans to get a loan up to
$203,000, with no down payment, on fixed rate loans only. They have more flexible qualification guidelines
than FHA or conventional loans.
Jumbo Loans (Loans over $417,000)
Loans that exceed $417,000 are called jumbo or non-conforming loans. They exceed the loan amounts
allowed by Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan
Mortgage Corporation). These are two government-sponsored enterprises that help facilitate the availability of
home loans by investing throughout the country.

Non-conforming loans typically have a higher rate and different requirements for your down payment.

If you are interested in buying your first home, don’t allow myths to discourage you from trying.
With home prices increasing, it’s a little more difficult for first-time homeowner simply based on price. However,
with so many options available, that doesn’t mean you can’t qualify for a mortgage loan. You just need to know
what to plan for and what questions to ask.
Studies show that many potential homeowners believe they can’t buy a house when, in fact, a strong
possibility exists that they can. Close to 15% of people living in the United States state they would like to buy
a home within the next few years but believe that it’s impossible from a financial perspective. Another 10%
state they can afford a home but for other reasons, probably won’t buy for a while.
Here are some myths:
• In order to qualify for a house, you need 20% down
• Lenders are required by law to provide you with the best possible rate for your loan
• You can’t qualify for a house if you’ve been with your current employer less than five years
• Your credit must be perfect
• Mortgage interest is not tax deductible
These are just myths. Now for the truth:
• More and more innovative mortgage packages are being created, offering the borrowers options
between 3% and 5% down. Some lenders offer zero down, if you have excellent credit. For first-time
buyers, it’s in your best interest to do some serious comparison-shopping.
• Every lender works with its own rates, based on their standards as well as the type of loan being
considered. Rates change every day, so once you’ve made the decision to buy a house, check rates
with more than one lender, and check on a daily basis.
• Job stability is important, but the five-year rule is merely a myth. For example, if you have worked in
public relations or some other industry for 10 years but have had three jobs in that time, because
you’ve stayed within the same business, lenders will often consider this as continuous employment,
especially if you’ve made advancements. In addition, solid credit and a larger down payment can
compensate for work history in some instances.
• It’s true that credit is very important when qualifying for any loan. However, if you have been out of a
bankruptcy for two years and can provide a good letter of explanation to the lender, it will usually be
accepted. If your credit is in bad shape, consider a credit counseling service to help you get back on
track. Generally, this can be done in as little as 12 to 18 months.
• As you make financial comparisons between renting versus owning, be sure to consider tax
deductions. When you buy a home, the closing costs, mortgage interest, and points are all tax
deductible.
The wisest moves a first-time homebuyer can make are conduct research and ask questions. Purchasing a
house is never easy for anyone. However, interest rates are currently lower than they’ve been since the
1960’s, so if you can buy a house, this is probably a great time.
As a first-time homeowner, there are many questions you’ll want to ask. It’s easy to focus on the size of the
rooms, the structure, and the lot, but there are other factors to consider – things you need every day to live.

Here are some examples:
• Public transportation – If you depend on public transportation, check available options.
• Aging parents – More and more families are taking care of elderly parents; therefore, you should think
about special needs your parents might have as you look at houses.
• Public safety – What is the crime rate in the area? How close are public services such as police, fire,
and hospital?
• Parking – Will there be any issues with parking? If the house you’re interested in doesn’t have a
garage, does ample off-street parking exist?
• Utilities – This is an important finance to review. Usually the seller can provide copies of the past few
months, providing an idea of budget costs.
• New communities – If the area you want is in an entirely new community, what recreational amenities
are offered? Is there a clubhouse? Pool? Playground? Exercise facilities?
• Property taxes – Some tax rules provide special benefits for veterans, elderly citizens, and even longtime
residents. You should inquire what these benefits are and whom they cover.
When you get to the point of being serious about buying a house, follow these steps to make the qualifying
and purchase process as easy as possible:
• Establish good credit habits and clean up any unfavorable reports
• Start saving for down payment, closing costs, and any hidden expenses. Don’t forget about utilities,
moving expenses, and items needed for the home.
• Research and read. Go to your local library and educate yourself about financial management and
home buying.
• Start looking at various areas where you might be interested in living. Visit some open houses and do
some comparison-shopping.
• Meet with a reputable real estate agent and start the preliminary process.
Remember, there is no reason to be afraid or intimidated when it comes to buying a house. The main concern
expressed by young couples is that they aren’t sure where to begin. There is also the fear of rejection, when in
reality: their credit situation isn’t as bad as they believe.
Home buying has become increasingly easier thanks to the Internet. Years ago, people hated the one-on-one
approach of determining if they qualified for a loan. The Internet has made it much easier where people to
check out various lenders, obtain information, and be notified online as to whether or not they qualify.
In addition, mortgage advice is readily available. Whatever questions you have can easily be asked from the
privacy of your own home. Responses are accurate, thorough, and always confidential.