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Buyer Representation

There are many facets to buying a house.  We'd like to guide you through them and be your representative during this process.  There are some things we'd like to mention that can help in the process.

  1. Are you ready?  That's not a knock on you.  Buying a house is a major financial and emotional commitment.  What are you goals for the next few years?  Are you interested in putting down some roots?  Are you married?  Do you have children?  Are you and your partner on the same page on this  Are you looking for a starter home?  Might you have to relocate for work in the near future?

  2. Are your finances in order?  Buying a house is probably the biggest financial decision that you, your partner, your family, etc will make.  You will want to make sure that your finances are in order and solid.  You will want to determine your budget based on your income, other debts, down payment amounts, location, and other financial factors.  You will want to check this home affordability calculator.

  3. Your credit score.  Check your credit score.  A higher credit score is the single most important way to each a lower interest rate on your potential mortgage.  This is even more important as mortgage rates fluctuate with the current prime interest rates, local market fluctuations, treasury bond rates, etc.  For information on what is a credit score and understanding it, check out the CFPB web site.

  4. Know your mortgage options.  There are a tremendous number of mortgage options.  We are do not provide mortgages ourselves.  You will want to work with a mortgage professional regarding the best mortgage option for you and your specific situation.  This list of mortgage types and options is only a starting point.

    1. A conventional loan.  A conventional loan is one that is not backed by the US Federal Government.  Conventional loans typically require a credit score of 620 and a 20% down payment.  ​Conventional loans also will typically require  private mortgage insurance if the loan down payment is less than 20%.

    2. Fixed rate mortgage. A fixed rate mortgage is a home loan with an interest rate that stays the same for the term of the loan.  That means that the loan rate listed in the closing disclosure is the same during the entire repayment term.  The 30 and 15 year mortgages are common types of mortgages.  Fixed rate loans allow you to budget your housing costs based on stable and predicted amounts.

    3. Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM). An ARM is a mortgage loan that has a variable interest rate.  Instead of staying fixed, it will change over term of the loan.  ARMS tend to start off with lower rates than fixed rate loans, but over time, they will go higher as they adjust.

    4. High-balance loans.  A high balance loan is another type of conventional loan.  The loan will exceed the standard conforming loan limit, however, it is still consider to be confirming.  A high balance loan stays within the Federal Housing Finance Agency loan limit in areas/regions/locales that are recognized as high cost areas.

    5. Jumbo mortgages.  A jumbo mortgage is a larger loan that is considered to be a conventional loan.  It is usually used to purchase luxury homes.  A jumbo loan amount is more than a conforming loan limit and usually requires a down payment of more than 20%.

    6. FHA loans.  The Federal Housing Administration backs mortgage loans which cater borrowers with credit blemishes and have limited down payment funds.  In general, an FHA loan requires a 580 credit score and minimum of 3.5% down payment.  If you have a credit score between 500 & 579, you will need a 10% down payment.  In 2022, the FHA loan limit for single family homes is approximately $420,000.  In high cost regions, the FHA loan limit is approximately $920,000.  FHA loans will require mortgage insurance premiums.

    7. VA loans.  Thank you to all military service members.  In light of your service to our country, Military service members, veterans, and eligible spouses may qualify for a loan backed by the US Department of Veteran Affairs.  VA loans do have a minimum credit score.

    8. USDA loans.  The USDA (US Department of Agriculture) insures loans for low to moderate income buyers that are looking to purchase homes in designated rural areas.  There are income limitations, however no down payment or mortgage insurance is required.

    9. Second mortgages.  A second mortgage is a loan where the homeowner will borrow against the equity that they have already built up in their home.  A second mortgage is secured by your home, so it is similar to a first mortgage.  The biggest difference is that a second mortgage takes a subordinate position to a first mortgage.  This means it is repaid after a first mortgage is repaid first in a foreclosure sale.

    10. Reverse mortgages.  For homeowners that are age 62 and older may qualify for a reverse mortgage.  A reverse mortgage is a loan type that differs from a traditional forward loan.  Instead of an owner making payments to a lender on a regular basis, in a reverse mortgage lender makes payment to the owner in a lump sum or monthly.  This payment is based on the available equity in the home for the owner.

  5. Mortgage providers.  A single list of mortgage providers is well beyond the score of what we can provide.  The following is a short list of area mortgage providers.​

    1. Real Estate Finance Group.

    2. Mortgage Investors Group.

    3. Movement Mortgage.

    4. Go Mortgage.

    5. Knoxville Mortgage Broker.

    6. Google Search for Knoxville Mortgages

  6. Create a wish list.  What are you wanting to buy?  Are you looking at a starter home?  A home you can live in for years to come?  Are you looking for a condo?  What about a townhome?  Are you looking for a move-in ready home?  Do you want to have a fixer-upper?  In this wish list, you need to look at things as a must have and a nice to have.​

  7. Ideal Location.  What is your ideal location?  Do you want to be close to your work?  Do you want to be where the best schools are at?  Is downtown important?  Do you need to be near Pellissippi State?  For independent info on public schools in Knox CountyFor independent info on private schools in Knox County.

  8. Get preapproved for a mortgage.  You know and understand your budget.  You've looked at the calculators to see what you can afford.  Now, it is time to go shopping for your mortgage provider.  With a mortgage preapproval, you will know and understand better regarding what you can afford and it will allow you to work with us and the seller in a much easier fashion.​

  9. Let's start looking.  This is the fun time.  You get investigate online.  You get to walk through homes.  You can go see if the location is just right for you.  You can see if you like the view.

  10. Make an offer.  You have found what you want.  Now is the time to make the offer.  Let us help you at this point of offers and counter offers.  We can work with you to determine what is important and not important.  It is here that you will most likely need some earnest money to "make the down payment on the down payment."

  11. Get your mortgage.  Now, you can actually get your mortgage.  You will choose your lender and work with the loan officer.  There will be a lot of data that they want.  This data will center around

    1. Sources of income.​

    2. Federal tax returns.

    3. Bank statements.

    4. Current debt status.

  12. Home owners insurance.  Most lenders require that you get home owners insurance to get a loan.  Check with your lender regarding how that will work.​

  13. Home Inspection.  A home inspection helps you find issues that you will most likely have as well as help you find any necessary repairs.  This inspection will cover visual aspects, the foundation, the roof, and everything in-between.  Is there mold, radon, or something else.  Does the pool work properly?  How about the septic/sewer?  What is the status of the retaining wall(s).  You can use the home inspection to negotiate with the seller regarding  any necessary fixes/repairs.

  14. Closing!  This is the last step.  You will get your closing disclosure from your lender three days before closing.  You can compare it with the loan estimate to determine with any closing costs have changed.  You can do a final walk through, sign, and begin the move-in process.  Congratulations, you did it!

We've walked through the basics of the process and provide some ideas.  How can we help you?  Let's talk about what we can do.  We don't do everything, but we can be really helpful, especially on all of the paperwork.  Let's look at what we can do

  • Find homes for sale.  We can help find the homes in the price range that you can afford.

  • Area information.  We can give you the info on schools, neighborhoods, and maybe some back roads to make things just a little bit easier.  Want to know about knox county property taxesKnoxville city property taxesHow about zoning?  We can do that to.

  • Set up tours.  Looking at photos is great, but don't you want to walk through a potential home for you?  We can help set that up for you.

  • Help you make offers.  What is important to you?  What important contingencies do you need?

  • Help you negotiate with the seller.

  • Refer you to other professionals.  We know a few people.  If we don't know who to talk to, we know enough people to find the right people.

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