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      New Homebuyer's To Do List: Part 2

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      Now that you have located the home you want to buy and you have successfully negotiated a purchase price, what is next? Congratulations, you now have a Purchase and Sales agreement; this is a legal and binding contract between a buyer and a seller. In most contracts there are deadlines for each prescribed step when purchasing a home. It will go something like this:

      1. Earnest Money. This is a deposit you put down as a show of good faith to the seller that you promise to purchase their home. The earnest money is your money and will be applied to the purchase price of the home at closing. It is normally 1% of the sales price, but this can vary, check with your Realtor.
      1. Loan Application. Next according to your contract, you will have a certain number of days the sit down with your lender and make application for the money you want to borrow, usually 5 days. All borrowers to be included on the loan will need the following documents:
      • Signed Purchase and Sales contract including disclosures (Realtor)
      • Existing deed for house (Realtor)
      • 2yrs of W-2s (buyers)
      • Bank and investment documents for the last 30 days (buyers)
      • Other debits owed e.g. Child support, personal loan, etc. (buyers)
      • Signed 4506-T form (lender)

      Additional documents needed for special circumstances:

      • If a borrower receives a gift toward the down payment: provide a letter from the "giftor" that declares the gift isn't a loan. A copy of the giftor's bank account statement showing the funds, a canceled check and the borrower's own statement showing the deposited funds.
      • If you are self-employed or own rental properties you may have to provide these additional documents: Income tax returns for 2 yrs, Profit & Loss statement, Rental income statement (an appraisal of the properties may be needed at your expense)
      1. Inspections. Most P&S contracts will allow 10 days for inspections to be
      completed. Your Realtor can recommend a licensed home inspector to inspect the home. Buyers can opt to use a contractor, but they do not test water, air, septic, etc. Buyers may even want to hire a surveyor to perform a MLI (aka site survey). Buyers should make every effort to attend these inspections, because this is always very informative about the systems and the structure of the home. This is also an opportunity for you to ask questions about home maintenance in general. Inspectors usually get paid at time of service and charge $300 -$500 depending on inspections or tests performed at the home. It is highly recommended that buyers take advantage of this opportunity to inspect the home, because a costly repair could be uncovered and most of the time something can be negotiated with the sellers for the repair or mitigation to be made.

      1. Re-Negotiations, if needed. Sometimes a deficiency in the home is discovered during inspections, this is to be expected when buying an older home. If a repair or mitigation is needed a contractor can be asked to give a written estimate and this will be used to re-negotiate the contract. Your Realtor will write up a proposed addendum stating the deficiencies with the inspections and a possible solution. You will work with your Realtor to establish the solution. Sometimes it is as simple as asking for the repair or mitigation to be completed, and sometimes it is asking for a cash consideration so the buyer can pay to have the problem taken care of after closing. Or sometimes the cost of the repair is shared between buyer and seller.
      1. Negotiations are done, whats next? Buyers will contact an insurance agent to get an estimate on the home and provide this information to their lender. Buyers will continue to work with the lender and Realtor to complete the next phase of gathering information and documentation needed to close the loan. If there are repairs or mitigation to be completed and the buyer has some or all the responsibility in this, buyers will work with a contractor to see that these are completed before the lenders appraisal. Before closing you will receive a copy of the HUD statement take time to go over this with your lender &/or Realtor, sometimes errors are made and this is the time to rectify them.
      1. Closing is finally here! Your loan has been approved! You have a clear to close. Your Realtor will arrange a walk-through of the property, usually the day before closing, and you should find it broom clean. The home will be vacant and it gives one last time before the purchase to notice anything amiss. If a problem is noticed your Realtor will help you navigate the issue and get it taken care of. Day of closing items to bring with you to closing: drivers license, cashiers check for prorations of fuel, and the file you have on this purchase (just in case).
      1. Congratulations! You have purchased your first home and will leave the day of closing with the keys to your new home! Always remember your Realtor is working for you, so if any questions arise during the process or after closing ask for their advice.

      home buying pic 2

      Written by Deborah Johnson, Assoc. Broker, C21 Baribeau Agency


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                Great article. Thanks for the info, you made it easy to understand. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out a Form 4506-T, I found a blank form here http://goo.gl/QRlu7E. This site PDFfiller also has some tutorials how to fill it out and a few related tax forms that you might find useful.
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                  Great article. Thanks for the info, you made it easy to understand. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out a Form 4506-T, I found a blank form here http://goo.gl/QRlu7E. This site PDFfiller also has some tutorials how to fill it out and a few related tax forms that you might find useful.

                  New Home Buyer's To Do List:

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                  Buying a home is accomplished with a few well thought out steps. Most new home buyers start thinking about purchasing a home of their own when they realize they plan to be settled into a particular town or area, because of jobs, schools, or family. Approximately 95% of new homebuyers start the search for their new home online. This allows them to zero in on a few neighborhoods and a style of home that interests them. New home buyers frequently make the mistake of looking for a home before they get their financing in order!

                  You wouldnt go shopping for a car without knowing your budget same goes for a home!

                  new homebuyer photo

                  Follow these few steps:
                  1. Putting down roots. Decide whether or not you are going to live in one area and one house for at least 7 years. On average it takes at least 7 years to reach a break-even point in buying and selling a home that was purchased at fair market value. If you think you may move sooner than 7 years it may be wiser to rent.
                  2. Money, money, money. How much money can we afford to spend on a home? Many first homebuyers put the cart before the horse and start looking at houses beforetheypre pre-qualified for a loan. Check with your local lender. This process costs nothing * and will allow you to get a real picture of the budget you have to spend on a home.

                  Caution: do not rely on just an online mortgage calculator, these do not provide an accurate picture of your finances. An experienced loan officer can give you a snap shot of your buying power and you will know how much house you can afford.

                  *Note: Banks all have different lending institutions that they use, some even loan their own money, so shop around for the best terms on your loan. Also mortgage bankers are an option; they have many more lenders to choose from and often can offer the most competitive terms. Neither of these institutions are paid until you close, so there are no up-front costs to you.

                  1. Realtor or no realtor; that is the question? Realtors are trained professionals who are educated in the art of buying and selling real estate. They also study and know the market in the areas that you are interested in buying in. They too do not get paid until they close your sale. Competent, experienced Realtors are able to guide you through the process of buying your first home. They help locate a home to buy, using the criteria youve established. Based on factual data of the local market, they work with you to negotiate a selling price. Relators sign an oath to work for you; most will have you sign a Buyers Representation agreement, which establishes their duties to you as their buyer client.
                  1. Eureka! Weve found it! Finding your new home can be exhilarating and fun, but also exhausting! Each time you view a home let your Realtor know what you do and do not like about the home, this will help your Realtor narrow the search. On average, new homebuyers view 12 homes before they purchase. Once you have found the home that suits your needs, let your Realtor guide you through the negotiating process. In the end this should be a win-win, for both you the buyer and the seller.

                  Written by Deborah Johnson, Assoc. broker C21 Baribeau Agency


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                                                Curb Appeal on a Dime: Getting the Outside Ready to Sell

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                                                As spring approaches take a critical look at the outside of your home. Look at your home as if you were a buyer, what do you see? Take a look at the front and back of your yard. Is it inviting? Do you need to de-clutter? Is it time for a yard sale? If so get er done by taking some trips to the thrift shop and dump, and while youre at it, ask your neighbors if theyd like to join you for a neighborhood yard sale.

                                                staging exterior yard sale pic

                                                Is there an old shed in the backyard?

                                                shed needs painting

                                                If it looks like this give it a coat of paint and organize the inside. If you don't have paint to match your house, visit your local Restore, Habitat for Humanity store and choose a neutral paint to spruce it up!

                                                On the other hand if your shed looks like this

                                                falling down shed

                                                Tear it down and remove it! If the floor is still solid you might consider repurposing it as a raised wood patio.

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                                                A couple of outdoor chairs a fire ring or table a few potted plants will make this area a sweet outdoor oasis!

                                                Now that youve de-cluttered the yard, its time to focus on the exterior of your home. Either pressure washing or repainting the exterior of your home is well worth the cost and effort. Pressure washers can be rented at your local hardware or building centers. But if you have never done this before ask for a detailed demonstration. Use caution, pressure washers when used on too high a setting can damage surfaces. There are also professionals who you can hire and many handymen have this skill as well. If cleaning a painted exterior you may find you need to repaint when finished with pressure washing. Look at the value power washing or painting to add to your home!

                                                after power wash

                                                Before and after powerwashing your home!

                                                Finally, adding greenery & plants are an inexpensive way to soften, enhance, and make the outside of your home inviting. Invest a few hours in trimming, weeding, and mulching and often that is all it takes to create that curb appeal!

                                                trim in front of home mulch and plant before and after planting

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                                                Remember, if you don't have gardens you can always addpotted flowers to entryways or the front of your home!

                                                Plus, you can take them with you when you move into your NEW home!


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                                                  Oh No! Mold in my bathroom!

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                                                  What is the best way to clean mold from the bathroom ceiling or other painted surfaces in a bathroom? And ensure you wont have it return???

                                                  ceiling mold photo

                                                  First step prep; by cleaning the mold. The best product to clean mold is not bleach; it is Pine-sol, believe it or not. Use original Pine-sol in a spray bottle. In a well ventilated space spray the Pine-sol directly onto the moldy areas. Let set for 30 minutes or more and wash off using a damp absorbent cloth. Let the ceiling dry overnight.


                                                  Day two; paint prep. Definitely take the time to seal the effected area and possibly the entire ceiling, with Kilz or other mildew resistant primers. Most interior paints are advertised as having primers built in. for this application I would seal the mildew stains with a heavy-duty primer for the best results. These dry in 30 min. or less.

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                                                  Once you have a single finish coat of paint on the ceilingyou are done! Mold gone! To keep it gone make sure your ceiling fan is working well. Be sure to clean out any dust build-up in the cover of the fan and make sure everyone in the family is using it when they shower! If you dont have a fan, crack a window open a few inches each time you shower. I hope these few tips will keep your bathroom mold free for many years!

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                                                                      Check Your Maine Home Heating Oil Tank

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                                                                      Several years ago, I had my oil tank filled just before the long Thanksgiving weekend. I dont know why I went down into my dark, damp, dirt floored basement that Wednesday night, perhaps to just check to see if the oil was delivered, but Ill always be glad I did. What I discovered was a steady drip of oil coming out of the bottom of the tank. and it was getting worse. Luckily I had a container to catch the dripping oil and called my oil company who came right over. That night, the night before Thanksgiving, they pumped all of the oil out of the tank into another one placed just outside through a basement window that was now feeding my furnace. I think they were there until after midnight. That was certainly a close call since if left undiscovered all 250+ gallons would have been spilled directly into the ground and potentially contaminating my water supply, not to mention the cost of clean up.

                                                                      Maine homeowners who rely on oil heat may want to take some time to look at their heating systems before the really cold weather sets in.

                                                                      Maine Homeowners Should Establish Regular Home Checks

                                                                      Maine Realtors and insurance professionals know that most people consider these systems only when there are problems or when theyre moving. Whats not broken doesnt require fixing, and there are plenty of repairs or renovations that warrant most homeowners attention.

                                                                      Maine Home Owner Tips | Maine Home Heating Winter

                                                                      Image by Getty Images via @daylife

                                                                      Still, there are a couple things worth considering. One is that a heating system thats working at peak efficiency will save money by avoiding the cost of wasted fuel. The other is that a well-maintained system is less likely to leak, losing fuel and possibly damaging other possessions in the process.

                                                                      Maine Home Oil Tank Testing

                                                                      Many furnace technicians will test the integrity of the fuel tank. Using ultrasonic test equipment, they can take noninvasive measurements of the thickness of the tank near the bottom. While this type of testing isnt foolproof, it can help determine when internal corrosion is making tank walls dangerously thin.

                                                                      Testing may yield surprising results. Some older home oil tanks test better than their age might indicate; the use of thicker steel in some older tanks may be the reason. So, dont assume that just because your tank is an older model, it must need replacing.

                                                                      Outdoor Maine Home Oil Storage Tanks

                                                                      Outdoor storage tanks pose special problems. In addition to the risk of corrosion, theyre also susceptible to damage from falling objects, especially ice. Butch Bowie, environmental specialist with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, urges owners of outdoor tanks to have filter protectors. The mini-shelters cost between $50 and $100 and can save the expense of equipment replacement and spill cleanup.

                                                                      The DEP receives reports on average of one oil spill every day. The department has a section on tank safety on its website; visit www.maine.gov/dep/rwm/homeowner/homeheatingoil/index.htm for more information.

                                                                      Don't miss out on helpful Maine home owner and real estate advice, subscribe to this blog to get regular updates.

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