Buying a Home?
I look forward to helping you select your dream home and will listen to your needs and desires. Uncomfortable with the language of real estate, the processes and procedures? Let me help you navigate the maze of tasks and make it easier for you to achieve your goal. I promise to listen!
Buying a home is an exciting time in one's life. Making the smart move of choosing the right REALTOR® is your first step to ensuring that your new home and community meets your needs. My services and experience range from financial aid to helping you find the home that best suits you and your family. For your convenience, I also provide listings by email. I pride myself on repeat business and hope you'll come to understand why.
Before You Start Looking For Your New Home:
- Check your credit rating. Straighten out any errors before its too late.
- Determine a comfortable monthly budget for your new purchase, including down payment and monthly payment.
- Find a loan program that meets your needs and get pre-qualified (preferably pre-approved).
- Choose a REALTOR® that you trust and who understands your needs.
- Determine what neighborhood best matches your needs.
- Identify important features you need your new home to have
How I Can Help or What I can do for you!Find out how much your closing costs could be
How I Help You!
With almost 200 agents in the Bitterroot Valley and 600 agents in Missoula, you are in the driver's seat. While you are preoccupied with the long lists of things to consider and decisions to make while selecting, financing and planning a move, the first decision is selecting the right Realtor. As an Accredited Buyers Representative, (ABR) you know are are selecting the most experienced agent, committed to listening to your needs and concerns, with local knowledge of the area, home inspection companies, lenders, repair people, title companies and the skills you need to negotiate on your behalf.
As Your Agent, I Will:
- Assure that you see all the properties in the area that meet your criteria.
- Guide you through the entire home buying process, from finding homes to look at, to getting the best financing.
- Make sure you don't pay too much for your new home and help you avoid costly mistakes.
- Answer all of your questions about the local market area, including schools, neighborhoods, the local economy, and more.
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How Much Does That Home Really Cost?
A $200,000 home costs more than a $185,000 home, right? Well, yes and no. Assuming the same type of financing for both homes, the $200,000 home does cost more initially. But many factors contribute to the overall long-term cost of a house. Here are some things to keep in mind when trying to determine the true cost of purchasing a particular home:
- How much yard maintenance is required and who will perform it?
- Are there trees that should be removed?
- What are the utility costs? Although your usage won¿t be exactly the same as the current owners, you may be able to get their utility bills for the past year from them or directly from the utility company.
- How soon will the roof need to be replaced?
- Does the house need repainting?
- Does the electrical system need upgrading to handle the load for your appliances and electronics?
- Does the home have aluminum wiring, lead-based paint, or other safety or health hazards you will want to address?
- Does the house need new carpeting or flooring?
- What remodeling projects do you see as a must?
- Will appliances need replacing? What items convey?
- What are the estimated property taxes for the property?
- Also, be sure to get a professional inspection to identify other potentially costly problem areas.
When Checking Out A House, Leave Your Emotions At Home
Homebuyers often follow their hearts, and they should. Sometimes just going with a gut feeling is the best indicator. But when it¿s house-touring time, it¿s important to set those emotions aside and replace them with clear-headed thinking and a critical eye. Otherwise, your potential dream house might just turn into a money pit.
Although you should always hire a professional inspection before you complete the sale, you can spot the more obvious trouble signs early in the process simply by knowing what to look for. You can quickly check five key areas to determine if the home has serious problems.
A new roof can cost between $5,000 and $15,000 or more depending on the type.
A quick method to determine if the roof is leaking is to look in the attic.
WARNING: Don't climb into the attic yourself, unless you know how to walk on joists; you might step through the ceiling and injure yourself. Simply open the attic access panel and look inside.
- With a flashlight, check the rafters. They should not show water stains, which indicate leaking.
- With the flashlight off, look up at the roof. Any pinpoints of light shining through indicate a worn roof.
A cracked foundation is a serious matter. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix, and, in severe cases, may not be fixable. Keep an eye out for these potential warning signs:
- V-shaped cracks (larger at the top than at the bottom) around the perimeter of the house.
- Cracks in interior walls near corners of doors or windows. Look at all the corners of windows and doors, and at joints where walls meet walls, ceilings, or doors for signs that they are pulling away from each other.
- Doors that stick and squeak.
- Leaks and cracks in and around the fireplace.
- Obvious cracks in brick and mortar.
Copper piping rarely corrodes and is the plumbing of choice these days, but many older homes have galvanized steel plumbing. After 30 years or so it tends to rust out and leak. Replacing it can cost $5,000 or more, so it's something you'll want to watch out for. Call a plumber if you have specific questions.
If a house is poorly situated on its lot, flooding can occur under the house, which can seriously damage the home.
- In the basement, check for water stains on the foundation indicating flooding during rainy periods. If you find these, call in a soils engineer to confirm the problem and suggest solutions.
All improvements to the property should have been done with permits from the local building department. Work done without permit may be substandard and, if discovered later, may need to be ripped out.
- Go down to your local building department and request copies of permits for all work that was done at the property address. Compare these with any additions or replacements done by the seller. If work was not done by permit, you may ask the seller to obtain permits for the work and bring it up to building-code standards before you purchase.
Since buying a home is one of the largest investments you will ever make, the $200 to $500 expense of a professional home inspection is well worth the cost. Most people only think of one or two questions to ask when calling an inspector. "How much is your fee?" and "When can you be there?" only scratch the surface of what a buyer needs to know.
Here's a list of suggested questions you might ask:
- What types of licenses do you hold and what kind of training do you have?
- Do you belong to a professional inspectors¿ association?
- How long have you been licensed?
- Are you a full-time home inspector?
- How much do you charge? When do you expect the fee to be paid?
- What will the inspection include? (Get specifics. The inspection should include the electrical, heating and central air-conditioning systems; interior plumbing; visible insulation; roof; walls; ceilings; floors; windows; doors; foundation; basement; and the visible structure of the house.)
- Do you inspect gas lines, swimming pools, spas, septic systems, and wells? (You can identify other atypical systems or items.) Do you charge extra for these? Do you charge extra based on the size of the home? Multiple AC units? Other?
- How much would you charge if I ask for a re-inspection after repairs are completed?
- Will you supply a written report? (The inspector should, and the report should not only detail the present condition of the house, but also what condition the house is likely to be in two to five years.)
- Can I attend the inspection? (The home inspection is an important opportunity for buyers to get an education about their new home and to have their questions answered immediately. The information will help you after you've moved in.)
- Do you go up on the roof to inspect it?
- How long will the inspection typically take? (The average time is 1 to 2 hours. Anything less is not enough time to do a thorough inspection.)
- What items off of the standard report form will you inspect?
- What instruments do you use in the inspection to check for gas leaks, electricity, HVAC, etc?
- Do you also do termite (wood-destroying insect) inspections?
- Can I call you with questions that come up later?
- Can you give me names and phone numbers of three people for whom you¿ve inspected homes recently?
The inspector may not inspect swimming pools, wells, septic tanks, and other systems and items. And many inspectors will not conduct environmental tests or wood-destroying insect inspections. The buyer will likely need to arrange for these inspections separately.
Let's talk about your financial concerns, market conditions, schools, needs and desires. I can point you in the right direction!
- Lender fees include charges for loan processing, underwriting, preparation and establishing an escrow account.
- Third-party fees include charges for insurance, title search, and other inspections such as termites.
- Government fees include deed recording and state & local mortgage taxes.
- Escrow and interest fees include homeowner's insurance, loan interest, real estate taxes, and occasionally private mortgage insurance.