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Customers vs. Clients
Before discussing your home buying needs, all NH REALTOR's are required to present the agency disclosure form to customers upon the first business meeting before discussing any confidential information. The NH agency disclosure form and should be downloaded, printed, read and signed by all parties. The short three minute video below further explains the differences between customer and client level services.
Your Personal Goals, Finances and Communication Preferences
One of the first steps I like to take when starting to work with clients is to learn more about what they are looking in their next home, how they prefer to communicate (phone, text, email) and how they plan to purchase the property. People buy homes for many reasons and the reasons change throughout their lives. I will listen to what you want and help you find it. If you will be paying with cash, I will ask for some written verification from your bank or financial advisor. If you are borrowing, I will ask for a copy of a pre approval letter. This is to ensure when it comes time, we will be able to negotiate from the strongest position possible.
Exclusive Buyer Agency Representation
As I mentioned above, before we start to look at properties in person, I prefer to have customers become client's by entering in to an exclusive buyer's agency agreement. As your exclusive buyer's agent, I get compensated with a percentage of the commission paid by the seller at the time of closing. It signals a level of commitment to me that you are a serious, willing and able buyer and thus I can commit a higher priority level of service to you. It also allows me to provide advice and counsel which are client-level services often called for early in the home buying process. Watch the four minute video below to see five reasons to sign a buyer agency agreement.
The Listing Cart
After you have defined the criteria for your next home, we'll work together as a team to identify a running 'short list' of favorite homes. I have worked with buyers who have started watching and picking homes up to a year before they are ready to see them in person. This helps you become familiar with what is on the market. I set up a 'listing cart' for you that is a dedicated web page where you can see the status of your favorites anytime. I can setup a daily email alert based on your search criteria so we both get an email when new properties are added to the listing cart. You can then log in and review these homes, choosing to keep them on the list or remove them. You may also add listings you find through other web sites simply by sending me the MLS numbers. I have found this to be a very effective way to keep track of all your favorites in advance of seeing them in person.
Regardless of if you are flying in to New Hampshire for the first time or call NH home, depending on your timeframe for buying, you'll want to tour some or all of your short listed homes in your listing cart. I prefer to set up daily tours of multiple homes, grouped by region, especially for my out of State clients who have limited time to look. Since I cover the entire State of New Hampshire, you won't have to worry about looking out of my 'market area'. Typically we can see up to 8-10 homes in a day, depending on how close they are to each other. I find most client's end up seeing between 10 - 25 homes before finding one that meets their criteria. The more homes we see together, the more I learn what you are looking for and can help refine and focus our search. I'll help you keep track of what we have seen and help you filter out new listings so we don't waste your time looking at things that won't work.
If you are new to New Hampshire or visiting for the first time, I will be happy to provide you with resources and data on things like schools (public and private), local government information, transit and health care options, lodging, property maintenance services and just about any other service or resource you would ever need. I have called New Hampshire home my entire life and love sharing the known and not so known secrets of my home State. If you have a question, just ask!
Market Data, Comparables and Specific Property Background Information
When we start to zero in on a few homes that you might make an offer on, I will research the homes history for you to find out things like how long the current owners have owned it, what they paid for it and what the mortgage balance might be. I can find out how long it has been on the market and how many price reductions have been made. I will also research comparable sales and market trends for the neighborhood, town and/or region so we have solid information to use in negotiations. If the property is in a subdivision, association or has easements, I'll help you find those so you are armed with as much knowledge as possible on the top homes that interest you.
Negotiations & the Purchase and Sales Agreement
The purchase and sales agreement is the four page contract to purchase that binds the seller and buyer to the terms of the deal. We use the standard purchase and sales agreement provided by the NH Association of REALTORS. When submitting the P&S, an escrow deposit is made in a subjective amount and is held in an escrow account by either the listing or selling agent's office escrow account. These funds are applied to the purchase price at the closing. These funds are out of 'reach' of the seller or buying and can only be released with the written consent of both parties, should the deal fall through. There are two main contingency clauses in the P&S that you should be aware of; inspections and financing.
Inspections and Tests
The purchase and sales agreement has a section that allows you to conduct a home inspection and various other, standard tests as part of the 'due diligence' process. These inspections are typically conducted AFTER a successfully negotiated purchase and sale contract has been accepted and signed by both seller and buyer. The inspections are typically paid for in full by the buyer and if done in the correct amount of time, can allow the buyer to withdrawn from the contract and get escrow deposits refunded if the results show significant defects that were previously unknown.
If you are planning to get a mortgage on this property, you may elect to have the purchase and sales be contingent on getting this loan approved. The P&S also gives the option of waiving this financing contingency which can strengthen your negotiation position with the seller. It is your decision if you wish to enact this contingency, depending on your personal financial situation.
Title and Closing Process
Typically a closing company or attorney will be engaged after the purchase and sales agreement is signed. The title company is selected and paid for by the buyer and will do the necessary title research, loan payoffs and organize all the documents for a successful closing. Title companies have an attorney on staff and typically charge a flat fee for the closing service.