A Guide to Understanding Escrow

The process of buying a home is made up of several stages. After preliminary stages like getting pre-approved, searching for homes, and finding a buyer’s agent, various contracts and buyer-seller agreements will enter the fold as the purchase of a home is finalized. Escrow is a pivotal point in the buying process that will ultimately lead to you, the buyer, receiving the keys to your new home. Here is your guide to understanding escrow and how it works.

A Guide to Understanding Escrow

What is escrow? 

Escrow is a vehicle for temporarily holding the funds in a real estate transaction and making sure they distribute properly when the deal goes through. The funds and documents are held by a third party “in escrow” until the terms of the agreement have been filled. Escrow accounts protect the buyer’s “good faith deposit” (also known as “earnest money”) to ensure it goes to the seller as outlined in the real estate contract. These funds show that the buyer is serious about staying true to their offer and does, in fact, intend to pay the seller.

The seller accepting your offer is your cue to begin the escrow process. Your first step is to open an escrow account. Then, you’ll go about securing a mortgage and obtaining insurance for the home. When the deal goes through, the funds in will go towards your down payment and closing costs. Sometimes, the escrow funds are held in the account after the sale of the home has been finalized. This is known as an “escrow holdback.” This situation can often arise if a buyer discovers an issue with the home in their final walkthrough that wasn’t present during an earlier inspection. If the home is in a worse condition than what shows in the contract, then the good faith deposit will go back to the buyer, and they are released from the contract.

 

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How does escrow work?

Once all the I’s have been dotted and the t’s have been crossed, an escrow officer will issue a deed with you listed as the new property owner. Then, you’ll order a wire transfer for the funds to be allocated. Once closing is complete, the third party holding the escrow funds will distribute them per the terms of the agreement. This distribution of funds make up a part of the total closing costs for buyers, which include, among others, real estate agent commissions, title and insurance fees, and any HOA dues that may apply.

Escrow evolves after the purchase of a home. Once you’ve bought your new house, your lender will open a mortgage escrow account, through which you’ll pay for your property taxes and homeowners insurance. Held by your lender, the money in this account is added to your monthly mortgage payment.

To not get overwhelmed during the escrow process, it’s important to read your documents carefully and ask questions to make sure you understand them. When it comes time to close on the home, read through everything carefully to make sure you haven’t missed anything before the deal goes final. For more information on the required financing throughout the home buying process, read our blog post on the different types of home loans available to buyers:

The Different Types of Home Loans for Buyers

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The Different Types of Home Loans for Buyers

Financing terms are the nuts and bolts of a successful home purchase. Once you’ve decided you’re ready to buy a house, it’s a matter of making the numbers work. So, which home loan is the right one for you? Knowing the different types of mortgage loans available to you will allow you to pinpoint the one that best fits your needs and is financially viable.

The Different Types of Home Loans for Buyers

Conventional Loans

Conventional loans are the most popular type of home loan issued to borrowers. Offered by private lenders, they are not backed by the government. Conventional mortgages divide into two subsets: conforming loans; which adhere to Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA) guidelines, and non-conforming loans; which do not. Due to the added risk taken on by the lender, non-conforming loans typically have higher rates. A jumbo loan is an example of a non-conforming loan, due to its loan amounts being higher than the amount limits laid out in the underwriting guidelines. The two most common conventional loans are 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages.

15-Year and 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgages

The terms of your loan will drastically impact all aspects of your mortgage. With a 30-year mortgage, you’ll have lower monthly payments and a higher interest rate than you’d have with a 15-year mortgage, meaning you’ll pay more in interest over the life of the loan. With a 15-year mortgage, you’ll pay less interest, but you’ll have a higher monthly payment. Compared to a 30-year mortgage, a 15-year mortgage can save you money over the life of the loan, simply because you’re in debt for half the time; however, the higher monthly payments may be unaffordable for some.

 

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Government-Backed Loans

Whereas conventional loans are not backed by a federal entity, there are several unconventional loans that are backed by the U.S. government. These unconventional loans can often provide a path to homeownership for borrowers who don’t have the credentials to qualify for a conventional loan.

FHA and USDA mortgages are two common types of government-backed loans. Instead of having to make a 20% down payment on a conventional loan to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI), an FHA loan allows buyers to qualify for a mortgage with a down payment as little as 3.5%. USDA loans enable buyers to purchase a home with reduced interest rates. VA loans offer several benefits for active service personnel and veterans looking to buy a home, including not having to purchase mortgage insurance.

Fixed-Rate vs. Adjustable-Rate Mortgages

Fixed-rate mortgages allow you to lock in a specified interest rate for the life of the loan. With an unchanging monthly mortgage payment, a fixed-rate mortgage makes financial planning easier. Adjustable-rate mortgages’ interest rates will go up and down based on market conditions. Many ARMs will start with a fixed-interest rate period followed by a variable interest rate until the loan amount is paid off. Keep in mind that a sudden change in your financial situation could make your monthly ARM payments unaffordable, which could result in a loan default.

Other Home Loans

There are other more niche financing options available for prospective home buyers. For example, a construction loan can be useful if you’re planning on building a home. Balloon mortgages and sub-prime mortgages can make homeownership feasible for those who aren’t financially prepared for the typical repayment structure of a mortgage. These loans, however, come with greater risks. Talk to a mortgage broker to understand the terms of these agreements before making a final decision.

 

For more information on financing your next home purchase, read our blog post on bridge loans:

What is a Bridge Loan?

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7 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Home

Making the leap from renter to homeowner doesn’t happen overnight; it requires steady planning to put yourself in a good position to buy your first home. Prospective first-time home buyers can often feel like they’re waiting for a sign to indicate they’re ready to start making offers, when really, it’s a combination of factors. Here are seven signs that you’re ready to buy a home.

7 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Home

1. You Know Which Homes You Can Afford

To know whether you’re ready to buy, you need to identify your price range. If you’re unhappy with your pre-approval, or need more money for your desired location, there are ways you can increase your buying power. Once you know which homes you can afford, you can work with your agent to find the right home and prepare an offer.

2. You Understand Your Local Market Conditions

The dynamics of the market in which you’re buying will play a role in determining whether you’re ready to buy. The local market conditions will dictate what kinds of offers you can expect to compete against, what tactics other buyers may employ, and whether the buyer or seller will have the leverage during negotiations. Therefore, it’s important to understand the difference between a buyer’s market and a seller’s market so you and your agent can strategize accordingly.

3. You’re Comfortable with the Responsibilities of Being a Homeowner

Having a mortgage instead of paying rent isn’t the only difference between owning a home and renting. You’ll be responsible for maintaining the property, making repairs, and completing remodeling projects. That doesn’t always mean you can’t predict a future need. The best way to prepare for unexpected projects on any home is to get a home inspection before you buy so that you know every inch of the property and can start to save for larger expenses that might come down the road.

4. You Have Funds Available for Home Buying Costs

The costs of buying a home are more than just your down payment and monthly mortgage. Before you move into your new home, you’ll have to pay closing costs, moving expenses, and appraisal and inspection fees, to name a few. Property taxes can sometimes be part of the mortgage and depending on the time of year may need to be paid before you move in. Once you’re settled, homeowners insurance will enter the fold. If you can afford these costs, it’s a sign that you are ready to buy.

5. You’re Making Progress on Your Debt

Having zero debt is not a realistic expectation for every first-time home buyer. But, if you have a plan in place for paying off your outstanding debt and can show evidence of the progress you’re making, it will strengthen your buying credibility. Lenders will factor this into their assessment of your financial health during the pre-approval process.

6. You Have a Strategy for the Down Payment

It is true that lenders view a twenty percent down payment as favorable and won’t require you to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI), but it’s not game over if you can’t make a lump sum payment of that size. With a lower-than-twenty percent down payment, you may incur higher interest and fees over the life of the loan, which could put a greater strain on your finances long-term than waiting until you can pay more principal down. Whichever route you choose, make sure you have a solid plan in place to repay your loan.

7. Your Life Aligns with Buying a Home

Buying a home means you’ll be putting down roots, so it’s important that you and your household are ready to establish yourselves in one area before you buy. There’s financial logic behind this line of thinking, as well; in general, the longer you stay in one home, the more equity you’ll build. Career and income stability also play a role in determining whether you’re ready to buy. Landing a job with long-term prospects may be just the thing you need to green-light your decision to buy your first home.

To learn more about buying your first home, connect with an experienced Windermere Real Estate agent today by clicking on the button below.

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Must-Haves and Nice-To-Haves Lists

Finding your dream home may not be easy, but there are things you can do to make it easier, like creating a “Must-Haves” list and a “Nice-To-Haves” list. These lists allow serious homebuyers to save time, energy, and ultimately, money as they prepare to buy a home.

A Must-Have List is exactly what it sounds like, a checklist of the details that are non-negotiable for your new home. It’s essential to sit down and think about the things you need in order to feel comfortable there for the next 7-13 years.

Your “Nice-To-Haves” list is a checklist of details that you’d like to have, but you can live without. This list is great for those things that you’ve always dreamed of but may be out of reach for reasons such as your budget or location. This list may include things like fireplaces or gas appliances, a pool, or other non-essential items.

Your “Must-Haves” list focuses your search and helps your agent narrow down which homes are worth your time. Your “Nice-to-Haves” list will help you determine what you’re willing to sacrifice, which will ultimately solidify your must-haves.

These lists can also help manage your expectations regarding price. Take your lists to your real estate agent, along with your pre-approval from a lender, and you’ll be able to work together to determine what is a reasonable ask within your budget and your desired location.

Creating Your “Must-Haves” List

The first step is to think about the essentials. If things like location and number of bedrooms and bathrooms are a priority, then you’ll want to include them in your must-haves. Consider where you live now and use that as a starting point; what do you love and what are you missing? You may need more storage space, or an extra room to work remote, or a larger backyard for the newest member of the family.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you build your “Must-Haves” list:

  • Where do you want to live? (Be as specific as you can.)
  • What do you have now that you can’t live without?
  • What are you missing now that you may need for the next several years?

If you’re struggling to determine what it is you need to have, you can start working on your “Nice-To-Haves” list. This can also help you determine what is essential. For example, it may be nice to have five bedrooms when in reality, a three-bedroom house with a flex space that works for an office or guest room would do the trick.

Creating your “Nice-To-Haves” List

While you’re working on your “Nice-To-Haves” list, you’ll be thinking about the parts of a home that would be great to have but aren’t as important for you. You might also want to take into consideration what is reasonable in your area and if it’s a common amenity.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you build your “Nice-To-Haves” list:

  • What home upgrades are you willing to make?
  • What is something you’d like to do in your house more often?
  • What do you have in your current home that you love, but don’t need?

Searching for Your Next Home

These lists will help guide you and your real estate agent as you search for your next home. During this process you might realize some aspects aren’t as important to you as you thought, and vice versa. Keep your agent in the loop as you update your lists so they can continue to search for the perfect home for you.

Looking for a real estate agent who can help guide you through the home buying process? Connect with an Agent:

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10 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Home

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or have purchased a home before, the same mistakes can rear their head at any point in the buying process. By working closely with your agent, you can identify these pitfalls ahead of time and adjust accordingly. Mistakes in the buying process can lead to higher costs, added stress, and even terminated contracts. Here are ten common mistakes to avoid when buying a home.

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Home

1. Not getting pre-approved

Getting pre-approved is a key component of the early stages of the buying process and will help to maximize your chances of getting your offer accepted. Getting pre-approved will give you a concrete idea of how much you can borrow, how much house you can afford, the estimated monthly costs of your mortgage and its corresponding interest rates. It also communicates to sellers that you are a serious buyer.

2. Not identifying your price range

Pursuing listings you can’t afford is a surefire way to start your home buying process off on the wrong foot. Buying a home that’s outside your budget will put added pressure on your finances and increases your chances of foreclosing, should your financial situation take a turn for the worse. Use the general rule that your house payment should never be more than 25-30% of your take-home pay, and as you prepare for talks with your lender be sure to account for all the expenses you will incur, including private mortgage insurance (PMI) if applicable.

3. Taking on new credit

Opening new lines of credit at any point in the home buying process will slow things down and can affect your chances of getting a home loan. Adding another credit card to your collection or taking out a loan will change your credit score, causing a ripple effect that can bring the buying process to a halt. Because new credit changes your debt-to-income ratio, lenders will likely want to review your mortgage approval and your risk of non-payment. This forces sellers to wait around for your application while competing buyers speed ahead of you in line.

4. Not purchasing adequate homeowner’s insurance

It’s understood that a home is a valuable asset that needs to be protected, but it is still all too common for homeowners to be under-insured. A homeowner’s insurance policy covers your home, your belongings, living expenses and injury or damage to others that occur on the property in the event of a disaster. Work closely with your insurance broker to make sure you have adequate coverage for the most common risks in your area like flood, earthquake, and more.

5. Not looking for other loans

With a little resourcefulness, you can tap into new sources of financial support that will help to ease the burden of making a home purchase. VA Loans can be a lifesaver for active service and veteran personnel, offering zero down payment and lower-than-average mortgage rates. Other government loan programs such as USDA and FHA loans can greatly aid homebuyers with favorable loan terms. Be sure to thoroughly review the qualifications of these loans before applying.

6. Misunderstanding the down payment

When it comes to down payments, it’s not twenty percent or bust. Granted, with a twenty percent down payment your lender won’t require you to purchase mortgage insurance; but even if you’re short, there are a number of alternatives to private mortgage insurance (PMI) available to you, such as Lender-Paid Mortgage Insurance and a piggyback loans strategy. Work with your agent to identify trusted lenders in their network that can help you secure the right loan.

7. Not working with a buyer’s agent

A buyer’s agent will help you to identify which homes you can afford, work with you on formulating a competitive offer and preparing for negotiations with sellers and listing agents. Buyer’s agents will also handle the paperwork when it comes time to close the deal. A home purchase is an intricate transaction with many moving parts and having an experienced professional by your side who can navigate each step is invaluable. Typically, the buyer’s agent splits the commission of the sale with the listing agent, which is paid by the seller, so generally their services come at no additional cost to you.

8. Underestimating repair and remodeling costs

Regardless of whether you’re buying a fixer-upper or a home that needs a few simple upgrades, you can usually expect some repair and remodeling expenses once the home is yours. Before you start swinging hammers or tearing up drywall, take time to assess the scope of the projects and whether you can do them yourself or need a professional. Talk with your agent about which remodeling projects have the highest resale value for comparable homes in your area.

9. Buying a home without an inspection

Buying a home without having it inspected opens the buyer up to added risk. Without a home inspection, you forego the ability to negotiate repairs and concessions with the seller. Getting a home inspection is a small investment and alerts you of any potential home disasters that may be on the horizon. However, this mistake comes with an aside. In a seller’s market where a high number of buyers are competing for a limited number of available listings, waiving the inspection contingency is a common tactic for buyers looking to make their offer stand out. Work with your agent to figure out what’s best for you and your situation.

10. Forgetting about moving costs

It’s easy to get so focused on the purchase of the home that you forget about what it will cost to move there. Moving expenses can add up quickly, especially if you’ll be traveling across state lines or across the country. If you’re buying and selling a home at the same time, there’s also the question of where you’ll live in between closing on your current home and closing on your new one. If these costs aren’t accounted for, you can quickly be over budget before you set foot in your new home.

 

For more information on how to make the buying process smoother, read about how you can Increase Your Buying Power.

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Is Co-Buying Right For You?

For some buyers, purchasing a home independently may be out of reach. Co-buying is an alternative approach to homeownership where two or more individuals purchase the property together and take on a joint mortgage. Get to know the benefits and drawbacks of co-buying before deciding whether it’s right for you.

How Does Co-Buying Work? 

Just like a traditional home purchase, lenders use the buyers’ debt-to-income ratios and credit scores to determine their mortgage eligibility and formulate the terms of their loan. The lender will use the lowest median credit score to determine whether the co-buyers qualify. Before you purchase with a co-buyer, work with a real estate attorney to flesh out the details of the agreement including the distribution of shares, the responsibility of each party for the down payment and subsequent mortgage payments, and the home’s title. There are two main options for taking title to a home with a co-buyer.

Tenancy in Common (TIC)

  • When co-buyers hold a title as tenants in common, shares of the property can be divided equally or unequally. You and a co-buyer can decide to split ownership to reflect the amount invested. However, even if these amounts are unequal, no one individual may claim sole ownership of the property. If a co-buyer dies, their ownership passes along to their designated heir. With Tenancy in Common, a co-owner may sell their shares of the property at any time, without the need for approval from other co-owners.

Joint Tenancy

  • Joint Tenancy—or Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship (JTWROS)—requires that all co-buyers hold an equal interest in the property and that they all come into ownership through the same title at the same time. If one co-owner dies, ownership passes to the other co-owner—this is known as Right of Survivorship. Unlike Tenancy in Common, co-owners must receive approval before selling any property shares.

Pros and Cons of Co-Buying

Pros of Co-Buying

For those who don’t have the buying power to purchase a home on their own, co-buying presents an opportunity to combine assets and enter the market. Since lenders will be factoring in both of your incomes, you and your co-buyer will increase your chances of being approved for a mortgage and securing a low interest rate. Both of you will build equity over time as you pay back your joint mortgage. Even after the down payment and mortgage payments, there are a handful of costs that come with being a homeowner. Co-buying allows you to split these costs, saving money on bills, utilities, maintenance costs, and the like.

Cons of Co-Buying

Co-buying a home means you are relinquishing some control over the homeownership costs. At the end of the day, you can’t control your co-buyer’s finances. If a sudden life change leaves them financially unstable, the burden will fall on your shoulders, and you’ll have to make up the difference. Similarly, your credit score could take a hit if your co-buyer is unable to make their mortgage payments, even if you’ve consistently made yours. 

 

Before entering a co-buying agreement, it’s important that you and your co-buyer are on the same page about the terms of ownership and your expectations as joint homeowners. Working closely together will help maintain the health of your finances, and most importantly, your relationship.

For more information on purchasing a home, visit the buying section on our blog:

Blog – Buying

To begin your home buying journey, connect with an experienced Windermere Real Estate agent on our website by clicking on the button below. 

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Understanding Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Buyers are constantly looking for ways to streamline the buying process, whether that’s working with their agent to identify how they can increase their buying power, getting pre-approved, or being as cash-ready as possible. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), though it is an additional expense, can be a gateway to homeownership, and for some buyers, may be their only choice to secure the required financing for a home.

 

What is PMI?

Understanding PMI begins with understanding down payments. A down payment is a lump sum payment made by the buyer early on in the process of obtaining a mortgage. The magic number lenders prefer to see paid down is usually twenty percent of the home’s purchase price. If a buyer doesn’t have that secured, the lender will typically require the buyer to purchase Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), which protects the lender against the possibility of the buyer defaulting on the mortgage.

 

Image Source: Getty Images

 

The Benefits of PMI

Fortunately, it’s not all-or-nothing when it comes to the twenty percent down payment—if you don’t have that amount on-hand, you can still purchase a home. Private Mortgage Insurance creates a pathway to home ownership for buyers who find themselves in this situation. Although PMI can raise the buyer’s monthly costs, it allows them to move in and start building equity immediately. For this reason, PMI may be a saving grace for buyers who are looking to leave their days of renting behind them and become a homeowner.

 

Alternatives to PMI

Saving up enough money to make a twenty percent down payment is the most direct way to avoid private mortgage insurance, but a down payment of this size may not be feasible for some buyers, especially in markets where prices are on the rise. Here are some alternatives:

Piggybacking

A common alternative to PMI is to take out a second loan to pay back the twenty percent down in addition to the primary mortgage. This is known as piggybacking, which rearranges the loan into an 80/10/10 split, where the first loan accounts for 80 percent of the total property value, the “piggyback” or second loan covers the next ten percent, and the down payment covers the remaining ten percent. (There are other loan structures besides 80/10/10, this is just one example.) This can be an effective strategy for those who are ready to purchase a home but do not have the savings to make the full down payment. However, buyers should be aware that the second loan will likely come with higher interest rates.

VA Loans

VA Loans are a helpful resource for active service personnel and veterans looking to purchase a home. Not having to purchase mortgage insurance is included among the list of benefits VA Loans offer to qualified buyers, however, they require a one-time “funding fee” that functions similarly to mortgage insurance.

Lender-Paid Mortgage Insurance

LPMI may be a viable option for buyers in certain cases. Not to be confused by the name, LPMI is a restructuring of the loan in which the lender pays the mortgage insurance premium upfront. LPMI will remain in place for the life of the loan and usually comes with higher interest rates. Buyers should consider the terms of LPMI and how they differ from standard PMI to decide which is right for them.

Other

Other types of loans offer an alternative to conventional mortgages. FHA loans have their own mortgage insurance, as do USDA loans. The mortgage insurance premium (MIP) on FHA loans may be favorable, but buyers should keep in mind that in most cases they will be paying two different insurance premiums—the upfront rate and an annual fee. To be eligible for a USDA loan, there are several requirements that both the buyer and the property must meet.

 

To navigate the process of home financing and learn about the options around obtaining Private Mortgage Insurance, it helps to work closely with a great real estate agent who can help their clients identify lenders in their network that they know and trust to secure the right loan. For more information on purchasing a home, visit the buying section of our blog: Windermere Blog – Buying

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National Homeownership Month – First-Time Buyers

In recognition of National Homeownership Month, we’re shining a spotlight on the home buying process. Each home buying journey is unique, as are the challenges that people face en route to becoming a homeowner. These three stories of first-time homebuyers showcase the importance of working closely with an agent to navigate the buying process and find the perfect home.

 

Maria and Alvaro – Windermere Agent Team: The Brazens

Being first-time homebuyers, Maria and Alvaro knew they would have to adjust to the changes in the market. They were among a large influx of buyers buying during the pandemic, so they were aware that sellers had high expectations when it came to accepting an offer. A confluence of factors, including the pandemic, low interest rates, and many buyers’ desire for homes with more space, were igniting bidding wars left and right, with houses often going well above asking price. This also drove up listing prices on comparable homes in the area. These factors forced Maria and Alvaro to be flexible when it came to location and what they had previously considered “must-haves” for their ideal home at the beginning of their search.

They worked closely with their agents Taylor Brazen Tagge and Randi Brazen of The Brazens—a family-led real estate team based in Bellevue, Washington—to find the right competitive balance in what they were able to offer before hitting the market. This meant, in some cases, adjusting their expectations about what the “perfect” home was for them and having the patience to wait until they found it. They knew that when they time came; they would have to be aggressive in their approach.

Maria and Alvaro relied on Taylor and Randi throughout the buying process. The Brazen team’s knowledge of the Bellevue area provided the guidance and advice they were looking for to help them make informed decisions. The Brazens met with them at several showings, walked them through neighborhoods, and made themselves available to answer any and all questions they had along the way. The trust they formed in the early stages of working together laid a foundation for a friendship that translated to a successful experience navigating the market. They eventually found the home of their dreams, and although Maria and Alvaro miss working with the Brazens, they are grateful for the ultimate success of their home buying journey.

For Maria and Alvaro, homeownership is not just a financial investment; it is the start of a new chapter that will eventually provide the means for them to grow their family. They encourage buyers to be patient in finding their perfect home. It may be challenging at times, but the reward is so worth it.

 

Jocelyn – Windermere Agent: Nick Odermann

During her yearlong home search, Jocelyn’s expectations were quickly replaced with the reality of the hot housing market amid the pandemic. While touring homes, she realized that many listings were in worse condition than the photos implied, so she adjusted her expectations to remain levelheaded through the process. She experienced the pandemic buying frenzy first-hand when she was outbid multiple times and saw several homes sell for significantly higher prices than what they were listed for.

Luckily, Jocelyn had a trustworthy agent at her side by the name of Nick Odermann, who is one half of the Odermann Brothers team in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Together with his brother Steve, Nick helped Jocelyn navigate the challenges of finding a home in a seller’s market. Jocelyn was living in Southern California at the time, so she relied heavily on Nick’s judgement as he toured homes on her behalf. She had a specific vision of her dream home and Nick stayed true to it, quickly pointing out which homes would not suffice. When Jocelyn began to lose hope, Nick stayed positive. He was sure the perfect home was out there—and he was right.

For Jocelyn, homeownership is her path to adulthood. Now that she has a home, she looks forward to growing her pet care business. Becoming a homeowner was a major life goal of hers, and now that she’s achieved it with the help of her Windermere agent, she couldn’t be happier.

 

Jake – Windermere Agent: Taylor Hinds

It’s common for first-time homebuyers to learn as they go through the process, and Jake quickly discovered that information was the key to overcoming challenges. For example, he had no idea what earnest money was or that it was something he had to factor in on top of his mortgage. Learning that helped him work with his Seattle-area agent, Taylor Hinds, to form a strategy for making an offer.

Like the buyers above, Jake was buying in a hot seller’s market during the pandemic. He was surprised by how cash-ready sellers expected buyers to be. Luckily, he had a team behind him who were communicative and transparent throughout the whole process. When it came time to write a competitive offer, he leaned on Taylor’s expertise and advice to make the offer as attractive as possible, which eventually made all the difference in securing a home.

To Jake, homeownership means having a place to call your own, a place to be proud of. He looks forward to creating memories in his new home and building equity over time.

 

To begin your own home buying journey, connect with an experienced Windermere Real Estate agent today:

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