Meeting your budget & criteria
Home Buyer Guide
Learn About Buying A House
Buying a home is one of the most exciting and life-changing processes you’ll experience, but it can also be stressful and emotional at times. Paris Group Realty, LLC agents understand what you may be feeling. Our approach to addressing uncertainty is with knowledge. That’s why we give you small bites of information to help prepare and equip you for every stage of your home purchase. You don’t need to wade through pages of documents to understand how the process works! Don’t get us wrong – we have lots of information if you want to go more in-depth. Just check out our Resources.
What You Need
One of the first steps in the home buying process is understanding what you want, what you need, and what you can afford. To keep this part of the process realistic, consider the following factors, which can help your agent to narrow your search:
Knowing how much you can afford to spend is the first factor in narrowing the search for your home. To kick things off, check out our mortgage calculator at the bottom of this page (or learn more About Mortgages) to evaluate monthly payment options, then connect with your lender to confirm your pre-approval.
Consider the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need, and the importance of shared spaces for now and five to 10 years from now. Think of how your needs might change if you have kids or as your kids grow up.
Type of Home
Do you dislike yard work? Maybe a condo or townhome would be a good fit. Have kids and want a fenced yard? A typical detached residential home may be on your wish list.
The right house may not be right for you if it’s in the wrong location. Will your commute be reasonable if you work in downtown Portland? Is the school district important? Do you want a green space nearby or need the ability to walk to shops and restaurants? How important is highway access?
Tour Homes That Meet Your Criteria
Visiting homes is a vital, and fun, part of the process! By touring homes in your price range, you’ll have a better understanding of what you like, what’s important to you, what you’re willing to compromise on, and whether your expectations are realistic. A few common questions:
What should I expect when touring available homes for sale?
Take advantage of virtual tours to learn as much as you can before an in-person visit. Or, if you’d rather not have an in-person visit, our agents can perform a video tour for you. With COVID-19 precautions in place, we’ll provide you Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to wear, and we’ll ensure that surfaces are wiped down.
Homeowners will not be present so you can take your time as you tour the property and ask questions freely. First impressions are important; you will likely have a gut reaction when you first tour a potential new home!
Be careful not to get too caught up in staging or other elements that might be superficial. As you see what’s available in your price range, you may want to reevaluate your requirements.
How many homes should we visit?
There’s no hard and fast rule about how many homes you should tour — there are so many different types in the Portland Metro area. It’s a good idea to view at least a few, even if you happen to find your future home right away. Seeing a couple of houses will give you a better idea of what you like and don’t like, and it’s always smart to have points of reference for comparisons.
What should I look for?
Your agent will guide you and offer feedback but here are some key elements to notice:
- Overall condition of house
- Your potential routes to work and school
- Proximity to amenities such as parks, restaurants, and shopping
- Home improvement projects that would be required
- The outside of the property
- The neighborhood – both immediate neighbors surrounding the house and any greater neighborhood data and insights that might be important
Making An Offer On A Home
It’s exciting when you find the right house! The offer process can be confusing and nerve-wracking, but your Paris Group Realty, LLC agent will be there every step of the way. You might find that the answers to a few common questions will help prepare you at this stage of the game:
What’s included in an offer to buy a home?
Your agent will help with detailing the general points of a strong offer, which include:
- Price: Paris Group Realty, LLC agents have the experience you need to determine the best offer price that is competitive, in your comfort zone, and is attractive to the seller.
- Terms: Sometimes it’s important to include requirements, also known as contingencies (see below), as part of an offer. This could include the need to sell your current home first, confirm financing, or that certain repairs be completed before purchase.
- Closing date: This is the date you expect to become the legal owner of your new home.
- Earnest money: This is an amount of money you offer as a good-faith gesture that you’re serious about buying a home. While you wait for your closing date to arrive, your earnest money is deposited into a third-party escrow account and kept safe. In the event you back out of the deal for reasons other than the home inspection or appraisal results, the seller can keep the earnest money.
What are contingencies?
Contingencies are conditions in the offer that must be completed before a home sale can be finalized. They can protect the buyer, the seller, or both parties. Contingencies most often relate to the home inspection, which protects you if a home needs expensive repairs, or to financing, which safeguards you if you’re unable to secure a mortgage within a certain time frame.
What if there are multiple offers?
The Portland real estate market is fierce. Paris Group Realty, LLC agents are always prepared for multiple offers. We’ll present your offer in the most competitive light and try to find out what will motivate the seller — whether it’s an all-cash deal, a price that’s over-asking, or waiving certain contingencies. When it comes to negotiations, you’ll be happy to have your agent in your corner.
What are counteroffers?
After the seller has reviewed your initial offer, he or she may accept it right away. Often, however, a seller will make a counteroffer that modifies the terms of your offer. These terms may be minor or significant depending on your needs, such as the closing date, responsibility for repairs, the price, or whether appliances are included. The buyer can then accept the counteroffer or make his or her own counter. Your agent will work with you to navigate this process and determine what’s possible and what’s not.
Entering Into A Home Buying Contract
Once you’ve submitted an offer on a home and the seller has accepted it, the home is under contract, even though the sale isn’t final. This period is exciting, but it can feel endless while you wait for the financing to fall into place. A few answers may help ease your worry:
What’s included in a home purchase contract?
The contract includes all the important details about your offer, such as:
- Your name and the home’s address
- Any contingencies you’re requesting, such as a home inspection or the need to sell your current house, as well as an expected time frame
- Any disclosures from the seller
- Details about what’s included with the property, such as outbuildings and acreage
- A list of the inspections to be performed
- Closing date and move-in date
What are common home contract pitfalls?
Home contracts can sometimes fall apart due to issues with the home inspection or financing problems. To avoid such problems, plan to respond quickly to your agent so you don’t miss deadlines or have unrealistic timelines for the process.
How much should I negotiate when buying a home?
Your home inspection and appraisal could reveal issues that you’re unable, or unwilling, to deal with. For example, inspections might find structural damage or other costly issues, and the seller might be unwilling to make repairs. Or the appraisal may value the home below your offer. In these instances, it’s up to you to decide how much you want the home and what you’re willing to do (or how much you’re willing to let go) in order to nab the property. Your Paris Group Realty, LLC agent will help you consider your options and decide what you’re comfortable with.
Completing a Home Inspection
Home inspections can be nerve-wracking! You might be wondering what happens if a major problem is found or how it could impact your purchase.
What’s included in a home inspection?
A home inspection evaluates the condition of your home and the systems included with it. Your Paris Group Realty, LLC agent may recommend an inspector, or you can use one of your choosing. The inspector will spend several hours checking everything out, from the basement to the attic. On conclusion, you’ll receive a report that identifies current problems, as well as anything that could be an issue in the future. The report will cover structural conditions, plumbing and electrical, safety concerns, mechanical systems, and appliances. It is the inspector’s job to point out issues with the home, and it can be overwhelming.
What do I do with the inspection report?
It is ultimately up to you to decide if any issues found during the inspection stage are deal breakers, or whether you want to include repairs as a purchase contingency. Your Paris Group Realty, LLC agent can help you navigate this process, gather estimates for future repairs, and determine whether you need an additional inspection to go over structural issues. Keep in mind, if your inspection yields a major concern, you’ll be able to back out of the deal and recover your earnest money.
Should I Consider
Securing a Home Warranty?
A home warranty is a renewable insurance policy that covers your home’s systems and appliances. For an upfront fee, your repair costs are covered, although you may be responsible for service fees. The process is pretty straightforward: When there’s a problem, simply contact the warranty company and they’ll send contractors to your property. You might be wondering:
Do I need a home warranty?
Like any other type of optional insurance, the decision on whether a policy makes sense depends on how comfortable you are with risk and how much cash you have on hand. First-time buyers, especially those with limited savings, sometimes appreciate the comfort of having a warranty. Buyers of older homes may also like the peace-of-mind they get from not worrying about replacing old appliances. Experienced homeowners, those who have savings, and those buying newer houses often find that a warranty isn’t necessary.
What’s important in a home warranty?
As with any contract, make sure to read the fine print of your home warranty to ensure you understand what’s covered, what’s excluded, and what the coverage limits are. You’ll want to know the service fees, deductibles, and response time, as well as the speed in which claims, and services handled, and how contractors are vetted. As part of your due diligence, you might also search for online reviews to understand what other customers have experienced.
The final step
Closing On Your New Home
It’s finally closing time! Your Paris Group Realty, LLC agent will be there to guide the process and answer your questions, such as:
What should I do before closing on my new home?
Your Paris Group Realty, LLC agent will help you stay organized and on top of details during this time. With their assistance, you’ll want to:
- Finalize your homeowner’s insurance
- Confirm that all contingencies have been completed
- Make sure you can easily access the down payment and closing costs
- Set up your wire transfer or cashier’s check
- Schedule a walk-through within 24 hours before the closing
- Set up utilities and change your address online
- Decide if you want to change the locks and security codes
What happens at the closing of my new home?
Make sure you stretch those hands and get ready to sign paperwork! Your agent will let you know ahead of time what to bring to the closing. Typically, it’s a government-issued photo ID, proof of homeowner’s insurance, the contract, loan paperwork, a checkbook, and the cashier’s check or wire transfer confirmation.
What happens after we’ve closed on my new home?
Congratulations — this is an exciting time! You may feel after taking so many steps to complete your home purchase that your job as a new homeowner is complete. There are just a few steps left. It’s important to collect all of the paperwork you signed and store it in a fire-proof safe. Then, finalize any of the details you might still be working on, like changing addresses and handling insurance details. Your agent will hand off the keys to you on your move-in date.
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Want More Advice?
Videos on Home Buying
Introduction to My Buyers | Paris Group Realty, LLC
Financing: A Buyer's Perspective | Paris Group Realty, LLC
Home Inspection: A Buyer's Perspective | Paris Group Realty, LLC