Hi. I’m Leora Hartman. If you would like to meet over coffee, please click here to contact me.
As a homebuyer you want to know you are good hands. I’ve been a Real Estate Agent for 37 years. I’ve never gotten out when the going got tough. I’ve seen all kinds of markets, the good and the bad. There’s never a bad time to buy a home. I’m reachable on social media, as well as through email and of course, the phone.
So I’ve put together some information, basically it’s designed to answer the questions most homebuyers have about the home buying process and how I can help you. Please feel free to read through it, or give me a call with specific questions.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM ME:
My goal in the home buying process is to help you achieve your goals. I’ll educate you about the entire process up front. I’ll introduce you to lenders that can handle your mortgage and financing needs so you can choose the right lender for you! Once you have chosen a lender, the lender will help me give you an estimate of the cost involved with buying and financing your new home.
I’ll guide you through each step of the buying process and I’ll advise you with my market knowledge and experience in the process, to help you make more informed decisions.
I will protect your interests above all other parties in the transaction. I will use all the tools and technology available to give you a competitive advantage.
I will communicate with you in a timely manner, and I’ll complete all the paperwork and make sure all deadlines are followed and I’ll be present to answer any and all questions for you throughout the entire buying process.
THE BUYING PROCESS:
Everyone knows that buying a house involves looking. But before you start driving neighborhoods looking at properties, you need to decide on someone to represent you. There is a small amount of paper work to complete to get an agent set to represent you. Once that’s done, the next step is getting qualified with a lender. This means actually sitting down and talking to a lender, getting all the paperwork they ask for, and they will ask for a lot.
Don’t be discouraged if the lender comes back and asks for more paperwork. If you were going to lend someone hundreds of thousands of dollars, you would be careful too.
Once you have been qualified, the lender will provide you with a letter. Now that we both know what you qualify for, it’s time to go looking for a new home. I will sit down and talk to you about what you want in a new home, where you want to live, and other important items to consider. Then I will create a customized search to find all the homes on the market that meet your needs. You decide which ones you want us to go look at together and I set up appointments for us to go see them.
Once you find a home you want, we’ll make a formal offer. This may involve some negotiation, but that’s what I’m here for. It’s my job to negotiate the best possible deal for you. Once the price and the terms of the deal are agreed to, you will need to provide an Earnest Money check. Earnest money is basically a deposit that holds the property until closing (this money will be credited towards the purchase price at closing). It is at this point, once earnest money has been provided and the contract is signed that you are considered ‘under contract.’
It is at this point, when the inspections occur. You will want to have a home inspection done. This allows you to have the home inspected to see if you want the seller to fix any issues before you purchase the home. I have a list of numerous qualified inspectors that I have done business with if you are needing some ideas of who to call.
You may also choose to have a radon inspection. If the home has a basement, it’s usually a good idea to have a radon inspection.
While this is happening, the lender will be proceeding with the loan approval process. This may include pulling a new credit report, having the house appraised, verifying all the information you provided to the lender, including verifying paycheck stubs, verifying that you still have a job, verifying your bank accounts, etc. At the beginning of the process, the lender will have provided you with an estimate of your closing costs. It is at this point in the process when they will confirm your closing costs and down payment. Once everything is done, you will get a loan approval.
During this time, the title company will also be doing their searches. The title company facilitates the transaction for both sides and is responsible for recording the ‘official’ ownership documents when the transaction has been completed.
The title company will assemble all the closing costs; they will coordinate with the lender and make sure all the documents are ready at the closing.
On the actual closing day, you and I will meet with the Title Company Representative and you sign your paperwork, and officially buy your home. Be prepared to sign your name a lot and be ready for a lot of paperwork. But once it’s done, you are a homeowner and you can officially move in!!
This is informational. The State of Colorado has four definitions for what kind of relationship you can have with a Real Estate Agent. However, you need to be aware of it. There are four kinds of relationships available:
Seller’s Agent: A seller’s agent (or listing agent) works solely on behalf of the seller to promote the interests of the seller with the utmost good faith, loyalty and fidelity. The agent negotiates on behalf of and acts as an advocate for the seller. The seller’s agent must disclose to potential buyers all adverse material facts actually known by the seller’s agent about the property. A separate written listing agreement is required which sets forth the duties and obligations of the broker and the seller.
Buyer’s Agent: A buyer’s agent works solely on behalf of the buyer to promote the interests of the buyer with the utmost good faith, loyalty and fidelity. The agent negotiates on behalf of and acts as an advocate for the buyer. The buyer’s agent must disclose to potential sellers all adverse material facts actually known by the buyer’s agent including the buyer’s financial ability to perform the terms of the transaction and, if a residential property, whether the buyer intends to occupy the property. A separate written buyer agency agreement is required which sets forth the duties and obligations of the broker and the buyer.
Transaction-Broker: A transaction-broker assists the buyer or seller or both throughout a real estate transaction by performing terms of any written or oral agreement, fully informing the parties, presenting all offers and assisting the parties with any contracts, including the closing of the transaction without being an agent or advocate for any of the parties. A transaction-broker must use reasonable skill and care in the performance of any oral or written agreement, and must make the same disclosures as agents about all adverse material facts actually known by the transaction-broker concerning a property or a buyer’s financial ability to perform the terms of a transaction and, if a residential property, whether the buyer intends to occupy the property. No written agreement is required.
Customer: A customer is a party to a real estate transaction with whom the broker has no brokerage relationship because such party has not engaged or employed the broker, either as the party’s agent or as the party’s transaction-broker.
WHY I PREFER TO BE A BUYER’S AGENT:
As a Buyer’s Agent, I work only for you, to protect your interests above all others, including my own. I will advocate only for your side of the real estate transaction. I will give you my expert real estate and negotiation advice. I can give you information you might not know to ask for. To act as a Buyer’s Agent requires a written agreement for a specific term. The length of the agreement is negotiable.
WHY YOU WANT A BUYER’S AGENT:
A Buyer’s agent represents only you. As a Buyer’s Agent, I can show you any property. That means any property! I can show you homes with another company’s for sale sign, or a new homebuilder’s home, any for sale by owner, and any property for sale. All you have to do is call me, and I’ll get you the information you need.
ABOUT THE LENDER:
The lender is a critical part of the success of the new home purchase. Any lenders that I suggest to you are lenders I’ve worked with and know they are knowledgeable and reputable and do quality work and complete it on time. I have confidence that these lenders will provide you the same high quality customer service that I do, and will find you the best mortgage to fit your specific needs because they have done it time and time again for my past clients.
YOU MUST GET PRE-APPROVED!
It is critical that when you make an offer to purchase a home, you have a strong lender letter that shows you have done your homework and you are actually financially qualified to purchase the home you are making an offer on. A lender letter will provide the sellers with assurance that you are qualified to purchase the home you are bidding on.
TECHNOLOGY & FINDING THE RIGHT HOME:
Technology is a great tool to have, when looking for a home. However, websites like Zillow.com and Realtor.com largely have old information! Instead of relying on public websites, let me set up a customized portal for you that will give you access to all the homes in the Denver MLS system that meet your specific criteria.
This portal will allow you to receive properties daily that are brand new to the market and specifically meet your criteria. In this portal you can mark your favorites, and mark others to disregard. This way, you are actually getting current information about homes coming on the market.
YOUR JOB IN THE PROCESS:
Your job in the home buying process is as much about eliminating properties as it is about finding the right one. It’s completely acceptable to rule out houses and even neighborhoods. Remember the most successful buyers are the ones that are actively engaged. If you see a home you want or think you want, you can always drive the neighborhood to look around.
The easiest way to let me know you are engaged with the process, in the portal, mark the homes you like with a heart. Mark possibilities with a light bulb. Of course, mark the ones you don’t like as well. Don’t worry; I’ll explain all of this again, when I get the portal set up for you.
WHAT NOT TO DO DURING THIS PROCESS:
After you apply for your mortgage, don’t open any kind of credit! Nothing! If you are offered a deal, if you open a credit card, don’t do it! Don’t buy furniture! Don’t buy a car! Don’t take out or consolidate student loans! Don’t make any large deposits! Don’t make any large withdrawals! Don’t do anything that can disrupt your financing for your new home. If you are in doubt, call me!
THE NEGOTIATION PROCESS:
Just as you have me to negotiate for you, the seller’s also have broker that will negotiate for them. It’s my job to talk to their broker and negotiate for you. At no time should you talk to the seller’s broker. If for some reason the seller’s broker calls you, refer the call to me. That’s my job.
FINDING A HOME:
Did you know that most people buy one of the first houses they see? Also most people look at less than 15 houses before they purchase a home.
My job is to talk to you about the home, after each showing. I’m not trying to be pushy. It’s all about comparisons. If you are out driving around and see a home you like, sometimes there are flyers at the home, with specifics I need in order to make the bidding process easier. It would be helpful for me to grab this information at the time. If there aren’t any flyers, just provide me with the address of the home you like and I can research it for you.
I may ask you what you thought of the home compared to the last home or the first home. Again, I’m not trying to be pushy; I’m trying to help you eliminate homes and clarify which one is your favorite, as well as helping you keep the homes straight.
Remember, as the Buyer’s Agent it’s my job to protect your interests. That’s what I will do. It’s my job to negotiate. It’s my job to take care of the paperwork. It’s my job to take care of deadlines and make sure the transaction is as smooth as possible. You will have questions. Feel free to give me a call and ask. I’m here to help you.
OTHER THINGS YOU NEED TO REMEMBER ABOUT THE LENDER:
The lender’s goal is to get you final loan approval as quickly as possible. Remember, the lender is going to be verifying your information through this process. That means they may ask for more paperwork. It’s normal.
The lender may ask you to prove:
Your annual income or ask for your tax returns.
They may ask for your employment history and a contact number for your boss.
They may ask for information about any current mortgages you have.
They might ask to verify bank account balances.
They may ask where your down payment is coming from.
The lender may ask for you to provide additional documentation if you are using the V.A. for financing.
Feel free to ask questions of the lender.