Buying a home in the Valley with Jenny McGuire, RE/MAX Advantage

Purchasing a home intimidates many people. However, with a little up-front planning, it's not all that difficult. I like to give buyers a road map of the whole deal so they understand exactly what to expect. Below are my nine steps to purchasing a home.

Should you have questions about this information or if you're prepared to get started, just contact me here or e-mail me at

Step 1 – Prepare to buy
There are several things you need to do before starting your home search. When you begin your search, you'll want to put together an outline of features you want, get a feeling for what school districts and neighborhoods you'd like to live in, and begin planning around your budget. Keeping your mortgage payment around 1/3 of your monthly income is a good rule of thumb to go by.

Step 2 – Talk to a real estate agent in the area 
This is where I can help. I'd love to schedule a time to get together with you and speak with you regarding your real estate needs and get an idea of your future plans. We'll talk about everything from neighborhoods, school districts in the Staunton area, the mortgage and housing industries, to any other economic factors that could affect your buying decision today or in the future.

I can also assist you with getting started on your loan. I partner with some of the area's best mortgage professionals, so you can rest assured that you're in great hands. They will assist you in choosing which kind of loan is best for you and help you get approved.

Step 3 – Begin looking
Following our initial meeting, I'll start searching for available homes on the market that are great for you. I'll research many of the houses and reject the duds, and then we'll book appointments to tour the houses whenever it's most convenient for you.

As we view houses, I'll identify good features, as well as bad ones. I'll also ask you to point out what things you like and dislike. It's common for buyers to change their must-have list as we view houses and some things become more important than others. If that happens, I'll look through the listings once more and narrow it down to the house of your dreams.

Step 4 – Get a grasp of the housing market
My understanding of the area's home market is a fundamental asset in your house search. I am familiar with all the school districts and neighborhoods, and I can let you know certain districts are "hot" and require prompt action and the ones that are "cool" and allow for more examination.

As we view homes, I'll be sure to tell you if the list price has room for bargaining or if I believe the house is "priced to sell." Every REALTOR® will convince you they comprehend the housing market, but keep an eye out, and be sure to ask your agent plenty of questions. If it doesn't seem like they know everything, call me at 540-294-2480 or e-mail me at, and I'd be happy to answer any questions you have. My knowledge of the market will help you stay a step ahead throughout the entire process.

Step 5 – Find the home of your dreams
I'm confident we'll find the home of your dreams in the Staunton area. When we do, I'll precisely develop your real estate purchase offer. The offer will be tailored to suit your needs, including some contingencies. A few examples are acquiring financing, finishing the home inspection, and a clear title.

Let RE/MAX Advantage guide you through finding your dream home in Staunton When presenting your offer, you'll probably want to present "earnest money." This is a cash deposit made to a home seller to secure an offer to buy the property. The amount is most often applied to the cost of closing. If your offer is accepted, we should close within 30 to 60 days afterward. This allows plenty of time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate the deal
A lot of contracts don't close on the initial offer, and it's very common to receive a counter offer. Don't let this discourage you. We'll talk over whether or not to consent to the counter offer, present our own counter offer, or decline the seller's offer and go on.

The state of the market will play a role in how aggressively we negotiate the contract. In addition, we'll work within your financing limits. And when it's all said and done, we'll put together a deal that's best for you.

Step 7 – Secure a loan
Once we sign the final deal, you'll start working with your lender to close the loan. If you've been pre-qualified, it shouldn't be a long process at all. But you'll want to stay in close contact with your mortgage lender. And I'll sort out all the property information your lender will need to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
Your lender will furnish you with a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) outlining closing costs within three days of taking your application. You'll get a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) outlining your closing costs from your mortgage lender within three days of taking your application. The estimate is formed from the loan amount, and RESPA requirements mandate that it has to include all closing costs and be within a strict range of accuracy. I'll review the estimate and let you know if it all looks permissible.

Then it's time to close on your home. This should take place at a title company or attorney's office and will likely be a smooth and relaxing affair.

Step 9 – Move in
Congratulations! Now you can move into your new house. Enjoy it. And if you need anything or have any questions, just call me at 540-294-2480 or send me an e-mail.

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