Buying or selling a home? Shannon Wade Henley can help.

With some up-front planning, purchasing a home isn't too complex, but the event can be stressful for a lot of people. I like to give buyers an overview of the whole deal so they know exactly what to expect. These are my nine steps to buying a home. Should you have questions regarding any of this information or if you're prepared to get started, you can contact me here or e-mail me at .

Step 1 – Prepare to buy a home
There are several things you'll want to consider before commencing your home search. When you begin your search, you'll probably want to put together an outline of must-have features, plan for what neighborhoods and school districts you want to live in, and begin planning around your budget. Keeping your mortgage payment less than a third of your net monthly income is a good rule to adhere to.

Step 2 – Get in touch with a real estate agent
This is where Shannon Wade Henley comes in. We can plan a time to meet so we can talk about your real estate needs and get an idea of your future plans. We'll talk about everything from neighborhoods, school districts in the Mary Esther area, the mortgage industry, to any other economic factors that may affect your purchase today or in the future.

I can also help you begin the loan process. There are some great mortgage professionals in Mary Esther, and I partner with a lot of them, so you're in great hands. They will assist you in figuring out which type of loan is best for you and help you get qualified.

Step 3 – Start looking
After our first meeting, I'll start looking for houses on the market that are a great fit for you. I'll research many of the houses and throw out the bad ones, and then we'll set up appointments to tour the homes when it's most convenient for you.

When we tour houses, I'll point out good features, as well as bad ones. I'll also ask you what things you like and dislike. Oftentimes, buyers change their must-have list as we tour homes and some items become more essential than others. If that's the case, I'll look through the listings another time and narrow it down to the home you've been waiting for.

Step 4 – Know the market
Your agent's understanding of the Mary Esther market is a crucial component in your home search. And I assure you I'm familiar with all the school districts and neighborhoods, and I can alert you to some neighborhoods are "hot" and call for immediate action and others that are "cold" and allow for thoughtful examination.

As we view houses, I'll make sure to communicate if the seller's list price has room for negotiation or if I believe the home is "priced to sell." Trust your instincts and be sure to ask plenty of questions, as any REALTOR will convince you they truly understand the home market. If things don't add up, contact me at 850-217-4530 or e-mail me at , and I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. My understanding of the market will help you stay a step ahead throughout the entire deal.

Step 5 – Find the home of your dreams
I'm confident we'll find the house of your dreams in Mary Esther. When we do, I'll thoroughly develop your real estate purchase offer. The offer will be tailored exactly to your needs and the home, including many contingencies, such as obtaining financing, carrying out the inspection, and a clear title.

Upon sending in your offer, you'll need to submit "earnest money." This is a cash deposit submitted to the seller to secure the offer to buy the property. The amount is usually put towards the closing costs. If the seller accepts the offer, we should close on the property about 30 to 60 days after. This allows plenty of time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate
A lot of deals aren't closed on the first offer. It's widely common to receive a counter offer. But don't let this intimidate you. We'll talk about whether or not to take the counter offer, propose our own counter offer, or reject the seller's offer and move on.

Market conditions will play a vital role in how aggressively we negotiate the deal. In addition, we'll work within your financing budget. And at the end of the day, we'll create a contract that's best for you.

Step 7 – Obtain a loan
Upon finishing the contract, you'll begin working with your mortgage lender to close the loan. This shouldn't take long at all if you're already pre-qualified, but you'll want to stay in close contact with your mortgage lender. And I'll sort out all the property information your mortgage lender needs to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
You'll get a Loan Estimate (LE) outlining closing costs from your mortgage lender within three days of getting your application. The estimate depends on the loan amount, and RESPA requirements require that it has to contain all closing costs and fall within a tight range of accuracy. I'll study the estimate and let you know if everything looks adequate.

Then we'll close on your house. This will most often happen at a title company or escrow office and will probably be a smooth and peaceful affair.

Step 9 – Move in
Congratulations! It's time to move into your new home. Enjoy it. And if you need anything or have any questions, make sure you call me at 850-217-4530 or e-mail me at .

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