IN BUYING A HOME
many of us buying a home is the single largest investment we will
ever make. Naturally, we want to make a prudent decision about the
home we buy. There are numerous factors to consider, decisions to
make, and options to explore. Buying a home generally involves these
Selecting an Agent
Determine Purchasing Power
Selecting a Home
Preparing an Offer
Obtaining Financing &
Preparing for Settlement
an experienced real estate professional is your first important
decision. A Realtor can help you navigate the home buying
ocean and bring you safely into home port. The real
estate professional that you select will help you not only find
the home that fits your needs and budget, but will also serve as
your guide through the entire home buying process. This will include
identifying geographic areas, features and types of homes in which
you are interested, as well as assisting you in determining your
financial qualifications, closing costs, and financial options.
Stuart & Maury, Inc., our agents are experienced, extremely
well trained, and successful at helping people find the right
home. Our agents have also developed vital relationships with
a wide range of professionals critical to making a real estate transaction
run smoothly, including: home inspectors, termite companies, mortgage
lenders, title attorneys and a wide range of building contractors
and service professionals. Your Stuart & Maury agent will be
a valuable resource of information as well as a source of home repair
and improvement referrals for years to come.
In the Washington, D.C. area, real estate agents are required to
provide you with an Agency Disclosure form. This form is designed
to inform you about the different types of relationships you can
have with your agent and with other real estate professionals. These
disclosures are required by law and have been developed by the area
real estate commissions for your protection.
Who Represent the Seller
Sellers Agent: For over 100 years, all real estate agents
involved in a transaction represented the seller. A sellers
agent works for the real estate company that lists (offers for sale)
and markets the sellers property and exclusively represents
the sellers. This means the sellers agent has a fiduciary
responsibility to the seller and his duty of loyalty is only to
the seller. That means the agents fiduciary duties are to
the seller and are mandated by law. This also means that the agent
has an obligation of absolute fidelity to protect and promote the
interests of the seller. The seller pays the sellers agent
fees as agreed upon in a written listing agreement between the seller
and the listing company (broker). This sometimes caused confusion
among the buying public. Buyers were often surprised to learn that
the agent they had been driving around with looking at homes, sharing
personal and financial details, and generally be befriended by,
was actually not their agent after all. This is one of the reasons
why real estate regulations now require Agency disclosure and why
the concept of Buyer Brokerage has become so popular.
Agent: A cooperating agent works for a real estate company different
from the company for which the sellers listing agent works.
The cooperating agent can assist a buyer in purchasing a property,
but again his duty of loyalty is only to the seller. The cooperating
agents fee is paid by the sellers listing company via
a fee sharing arrangement among cooperating real estate companies.
Agent: A buyer may enter into a written agreement with a real estate
agent which provides that the agent will act on the buyers
behalf in locating a property to buy. The agent is then known as
the buyers agent. That agent assists the buyer in evaluating
properties and preparing offers, and negotiates in the best interests
of the buyer. The buyers agents fee is again paid by
the sellers listing company via a fee sharing arrangement
among cooperating real estate companies. Almost all listing companies
offer the same level of compensation to both buyers agents
and cooperating agents.
what buyer agency or brokerage is all about. Buyer brokerage is
a technique savvy purchasers use to obtain representation in the
real estate transaction. Heres what a Stuart & Maury,
Inc. buyers agent can do for you:
Show you all available properties (we are members of MRIS, the largest
· Discuss and evaluate different types of financing
· Prepare detailed computer generated estimated closing cost
and financial analysis worksheets
· Provide you with valuable resale market information (comparables)
· Assist in evaluating a given home relative to comparable
· Ask relevant questions, raise concerns, and help evaluate
· Refer competent, trustworthy and reliable contractors and
· Prepare your offer to purchase and most importantly,
· Negotiate in your best interest
Stuart & Maury, Inc. agent will provide all of the above services
and negotiate the best price an terms for you -our client. We call
our buyer brokerage agreement buyer broker lite because
we require only a $1 retainer fee and our clients may cancel the
agreement at anytime. Also, under no circumstances may our clients
be charged a fee for our services. We are to be paid by the listing
company of the property you purchase. Many other firms do require
retainer fees, as well as binding contract terms for the duration
of the engagement (i.e., 30,60,90 days or more), and have in the
fine print terms upon which the client is actually liable to the
buyers agent for a commission payment! If you are interested
in seeing a copy of our buyer broker lite agreement
The possibility of dual agency arises when the buyers agent
and the sellers agent both work for the same real estate company,
and the buyer is interested in property listed by that company.
In essence, in this situation your agent becomes the
sellers agent too. Dual agents do not act exclusively in the
interests of either the seller or buyer, and therefore cannot give
undivided loyalty to either party. There may be a conflict of interest
because the interests of the seller and buyer may be different or
Stuart & Maury, Inc., we dont feel an individual agent
can represent both the buyer and the seller simultaneously and so,
as a policy, do not allow a listing agent to practice dual agency.
Our larger competitors do however, because to rescind their status
as a buyers agent would cause many complications and impact
their agent negatively from a financial standpoint. The issue of
dual agency is not a major problem for Stuart & Maury, Inc.
for two main reasons. First, we are not a huge conglomerate operating
in multiple jurisdictions with thousands of real estate agents.
Hence, the probability of one of our agents representing both the
seller and the buyer at the same time is greatly reduced. Second,
our buyer brokerage clients know that we offer a great deal of valuable
information regardless of our status as either a buyers or
real estate agent can assist you in determining your financial qualifications
for buying a home. The first step is identifying your income, assets,
and liabilities. Stuart & Maury agents have a sophisticated
computer spreadsheet that can quickly summarize your qualifications
as well as give a detailed breakdown of your monthly payments and
all the closing costs involved. Ask one of our professional realtors
to prepare a financial analysis for you.
addition, our agents have developed extensive working relationships
with local area mortgage specialists who can provide assistance
and creativity in selecting just the right loan for your needs at
the most competitive interest rates possible. Of course we are not
compensated for the referrals we give to these mortgage professionals,
but we do receive their prompt attention to our clients needs and
an exceptional level of service.
you have selected your agent and determined your purchasing power,
you are ready to begin the search for a new home. Your Stuart &
Maury agent will interview you to determine your desires in a new
home. We will also assist you in prioritizing those desires as they
relate to your budget and comfort level.
Stuart & Maury we have made a major investment in computer technology
in order to take full advantage of the newly implemented MRIS (Metropolitan
Regional Information System) computer system. This new computer
system comprises the largest regional database of properties available
for sale in the world. From the mountains of West Virginia to the
shores of Delaware our agents can surf the information
highway to locate prospective available properties.
course your search will likely be relatively narrow compared to
the scope of the available MRIS database. Our agents have all undergone
required computer training and can identify not only properties
our firm has listed in MRIS, but also properties available from
more than 100 individual brokerage firms. We cooperate fully with,
and have excellent working relationships with, all the firms who
list property in the greater Washington Metropolitan area.
you begin to look for houses, your agent will assist you with information
you need about various neighborhoods, transportation, schools, styles
of homes, and features available. Your agent will also educate you
about local real estate practices and nuances so that you dont
experience any surprises.
you have identified the home that you wish to purchase, you will
need to prepare a contract specifying the details of your purchase
of the property. Your agent will help you to prepare the purchase
contract utilizing the proper forms. These standardized forms are
used in order to address all important issues and to assure that
both you and the seller comply with the various laws and regulations
that govern the home sale and purchase transaction.
your contract has been completed and signed, your agent will present
it to the Sellers agent (often times referred to as the "listing
agent") for presentation to the Seller. At this times your
contract is considered an offer to purchase, and the Seller may
proceed in one of three ways.
your offer as presented thereby ratifying the contract
Modify your offer as presented, thereby making a counter offer
This would result in the opportunity for you to:
and ratify the contract
Modify their counter-offer, thereby countering the counter
Reject the counter-offer, thereby closing the negotiations
Reject your offer as presented, thereby declining to negotiate further
Often times the offer you make is not quite acceptable to the Seller.
Perhaps the price was too low, or the settlement date too long.
Maybe the deposit was too small, or there were too many contingencies.
The Seller will likely prepare a counter-offer. Once your contract
has been signed and ratified (delivered) by all parties, it is important
to contact a title company to begin preparations for settlement.
In order to assure a smooth and timely settlement, it is imperative
that the contract be forwarded to the settlement company so that
they may begin gathering all the information necessary to conduct
settlement. It is not necessary to await approval of your loan before
forwarding the contract to the settlement office, in fact doing
so may delay settlement.
Financing & Preparing for Settlement
after ratification of your Purchase Contract, it will be necessary
to make application for the financing of your purchase. Selecting
your lender and the loan officer who will oversee the approval of
your application for financing is crucial to the smooth completion
of the purchase. Your loan officer will be responsible for taking
your loan application and for overseeing the processing of that
application as you move toward loan approval.
with the loan officer is the loan processor. The loan processor
is responsible for gathering the information and documentation necessary
to complete your application. He or she will be responsible for
gathering the information and documentation necessary to complete
your application. He or she will be responsible for ordering your
credit report, appraisal, employment verification and several other
this information has been received it must be organized by the processor
for submission for loan approval. It is important that your Lender,
loan officer and loan processor be capable and qualified. Your Realtor
will be able to provide you with the names of loan officers with
whom they have worked in the past and have had successful transactions.
Their are multiple steps involved in the loan approval process.
Please request an outline or diagram from your loan officer in order
to keep track of your progress through this critical stage.
is the culmination of your hard work and the time when the purchase
of your home is completed. The title companys role is to coordinate
all the parties involved in the transaction, to conduct settlement
and to complete the post-settlement work. The legal aspects of your
transaction will likely be overseen by an experienced team of attorneys
employed by the title company.
of the settlement companys main duties is to review the title
to the property in order to establish proper ownership of the property,
identify the liens and encumberences that exist with the property,
and to insure that those liens are removed so that the Seller is
conveying good and marketable title to the Purchaser. As part of
the title companys service, they will offer you title insurance
which will protect you from defects and claims against your title.
Ultimately, it will be the title company that takes the required
documents to the local court house to record them among the public
order to complete the process of settlement the title company will
record the deed, deed of trust (loan documents) at the county courthouse,
audit the disbursement sheet (HUD-1), disburse all proceeds, issue
title insurance, correspond with Lender, pay off the Sellers
Lender and obtain a release of the Sellers deed(s) of trust,
and disburse any funds required to be escrowed at closing.
a new home could be the single most important investment you will
make. It is critical that you understand the process and your options
so that you can make an informed and rational decision on every
aspect of the home buying process. Your choice of a real estate
agent is as important as your choice of which home to buy. Your
real estate agent will be the one to assist you in the choice of
not only which home to buy, but your choice of lender, loan officer,
and title company, as well as any other important companies and
individuals you may need. Finding the right professionals who will
understand your needs, preferences and resources can make the difference
in whether you transaction is smooth and efficient or lengthy and
plagued with problems.