Jack and Jill…Keep an Open Mind: The Home Buyer Checklist You’ve Been Looking for (6 of 15)

goldfish jumping out of the water

We return to our characters Jack and Jill, with Jack returning from his monthly visit to the doctor.  “Jill, I’m back., Jill.”  shouted Jack as he entered their tiny condominium. “Yes, Jack I know your home, I could hear you when you walked up, through these paper thin walls.”  said Jill crossly “SooOOO, get on with it, how was your appointment with Doctor Foster?”  enquired Jill  “He told me that yes, indeed, I have a brain and it appears to be mended.  ANNNNNND, no more monthly visits.”  Jack smiled.  “Perfect, Jack it’s time for us to dive into our next check point.”  said Jane eagerly.  And this is what they read:

#5 Keep an Open Mind

When you are searching for your next home you MUST keep an OPEN MIND.  Unfortunately, your next home will not come alive and tell you “I’m the perfect home for you”, while trumpets play and confetti falls from the sky.  You will pick your next home by taking the time to research and visit the homes.  It is kind of like an interview process…you will interview many before you find the best fit for your needs.  Home buying has also been called home buying through elimination.  What do you NOT like about this home?  Do you absolutely HATE the front elevation (how the front of the home looks)?  Will a couple of cans of paint or some different landscaping change your opinion of the front elevation?  If NO is your answer don’t take another step, this is not the home for you…strike it from your list and move on.  Homes come on the market daily so be open minded to all possibilities.

Home searching overload has hit more than one home buyer and it could hit you, but here are some tips to help you keep an open mind.  Don’t visit too many homes in one day.  Everyone processes information differently, so take notes.  The worst thing you could do is create a SUPER HOME in your mind based on bits and pieces of homes you have seen that day.  Five homes a day is the magic number.  Also keep in mind that the home market is NOT standing still while you search for a home.  If you view a home today, it could have had five showings yesterday and two written offers already.  Because the home market is always moving; when you give your REALTOR your list of homes to view give him more than five.  One of the homes could already be under contract, while one home is sick with the flu, and another could be hosting a birthday party.  Here’s another tip:  the photos you see on the multiple listing service and videos the listing agent has made: are to peak your interest to set an appointment, but they also can be used to eliminate a home.  No photos or limited photos, something is up…don’t waste your time.  It’s hard to let go of that mystery home that says that it has the right number of bedrooms, square footage, location and price, BUT let it eliminate itself because it doesn’t have any or enough photos to deserve your attention.  Here’s another way to think of it….up to this point you have done everything to prepare yourself to make an offer.  You have a pre-qualification letter, you have a REALTOR, you have the desire to be a home buyer….now the homes have to have the equal desire to be sold, so if you see anything that may be deceptive in the marketing of a home, strike it from the list.

Everything happens for a reason, again BE OPEN MINDED, you are looking to eliminate homes.  If it is to be it is up to you.  The one home you cannot find enough to strike it from your list, that is the one that YOU will call HOME.

Jack and Jill now had a clearer picture of how to search for their home on the hill.  “Jill, I don’t know about you, but I’ve had an open mind once or twice.”  Jack said with a wink.  “Yes, Jill interpreted, I remember bandaging that mind more than once with vinegar and brown paper.”  “Well, I like this new type of open mind much better.”  Jack said as he leaned in to give Jill a kiss.  Jill returned his kiss with a blush as they eagerly awaited the next check point entitled:

“Jack and Jill…Will This Home Suit Our Needs?  The Home Buying Checklist You’ve Been Looking For (7 of 15)”


We hope that you’re enjoying our series and that it helps you on your way to…………………….

Live Life to the Fullest,



Jack and Jill Search and Search Some More: The Home Buyer Checklist You’ve Been Looking for (5 of15)

House hunting“Come on Jill, can’t we just mark off some of these checkpoints?” asked Jack  “Can’t we just move on?  After all we KNOW how to search for a home.” Jack said in frustration.  “We, as in you, may THINK we/you know how to search for a home, but I don’t see us living in one.”  Jill quickly responded.  “Jack, it’s time you play the part of the wise old owl and listen, do not speak while I read to you”

#4 Search & Search & Search Some More

Homes that are FOR SALE are marketed in many, many, many different ways.  Ok, so here’s just a few: magazines and the internet.  The homes you find on the internet or in magazines may have already been sold.  The ads for a real estate magazine are typically gathered a month before it hits the shelf at your local grocery store.  You would think the internet would be up to date because….”if it’s on the internet it must be true and accurate”.  The problem with that is a lot of the websites that post homes for sale don’t move the homes from Active(available to be bought) to NOT AVAILABLE(sold or under contract).  This can make for a very frustrating home search.  The best way to combat this is to contact a REALTOR.  They have access to the most current information that is not available to the general public, which includes those fancy, national real estate websites.

Another way homes are marketed is through an OPEN HOUSE.  You’ve seen the signs and you may have even seen the reality Real Estate shows on television.  It’s a good way to view a home, but you should not depend on it as your only way to search for a homes.  Not all open houses are posted on the internet or listed in the local paper, some are just a sign in the yard and that’s it.  You could waste a lot of gas looking for an open house to view.  Again, your best bet is to contact a REALTOR and they will be able to provide you witht he most current information.

When you meet with that potential REALTOR ask if they can set up a home search that meets your needs.  When they say “of course” take the time to discuss the things that you have to have in your new home…….location, school, size, price(as determined by your visit with a lender), bedrooms, etc.  Some REALTORS even have a mobile search website for your smart phone.  But don’t just rely on that search!!!!!  Search and Search and Search some more.  You can always drive the neighborhood before you call your REALTOR for the most updated information.  Do the neighbors take pride in their homes?  Did you hear a train near-by?  Is that a plane flying overhead…really low?  Search, search and search some more.  You heard from a co-worker who had a friend that told them that a home in such and such neighborhood was for sale and it wold be great for you.  Give your REALTOR that subdivision and let them provide you with a list of the homes for sale in that subdivision.  Lastly it’s ok to change your search criteria, that’s why it’s ok for you to continue to search, while your REALTOR created search is specific to your needs when it was set up.  You may decide that you “can’t live without” a study or that you “really, really” want a hard counter surface for the kitchen.  Use all your tools available and keep your ears and eyes open……your next home may be right around the corner.

“Can I speak now?” Jack said timidly “Yes, Jack, I was only trying to make a point.”  smiled Jill  “You know I have been seeing a lot of FOR SALE signs lately Jill.  I didn’t realize that it was because we are in the process.”  Jack stated.  “I’ve noticed the same thing, signs, television ads, even REALTORS names on cars.”  Jill responded.  “I wonder how we will find our home?”  said Jack  “We will find our home by looking together my dear, and looking and looking and looking.”  Jill whispered.  And they fell asleep with dreams of home searching dancing in their heads and they were eager to read the next checkpoint entitled:

“Jack and Jill Keep an Open Mind: The Home Buyer Checklist You’ve Been Looking for (6 of 15)”

We hope you’re enjoying our series and that if helps you on your way to……………………………

Live Life to the Fullest,



Jack and Jill Learn What COSTS Are Involved: The Home Buyer Checklist You’ve Been Looking for (4 of15)

Costs InvolvedJack and Jill are entrenched in the home buying process and everyday they are noticing new “For Sale” signs in yards, mortgage companies television ads, and other Real Estate related happenings.  They are in the zone, it wasn’t that their were more homes on the market or that the mortgage companies had bought more television time….Jack and Jill were now paying attention.  So they were excited to read about:

#3 Learn What Costs are Involved in Buying a Home

It’s important to understand the closing costs for buying a home, early in the home buying process.  You can get that information from your lender or your REALTOR.  They both will use different tools to illustrate your closing costs and should be pretty close to what ends up on your closing statement(the final documents your sign before you get your keys).

Your lender can provide you with an INITIAL FEES WORKSHEET when you work with them on your prequalification letter.  After your offer on a home has been accepted by the seller it’s time for your REALTOR to send a copy of that contract to your lender.  Once the lender has the copy of your contract you can formally apply for a mortgage.  The government (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) requires that the lender provide you with a GOOD FAITH ESTIMATE within three days.  The GOOD FAITH ESTIMATE is just what it says….it is their estimate on what it would cost for you to buy a specific home using their lending services.  By understanding the Title Company fees, attorney fees, Homeowner Association Fees and Home Owners Insurance it puts your home buying in a real light of what is paid now to own a home AND what will be paid on a recurring basis (Home Owners Association, Home Insurance, etc)

Your REALTOR can also provide you with an Estimated Cost Worksheet that can give you a good starting point.  It will give you basically the same information as the lenders INITIAL FEES WORKSHEET and is just an unofficial estimate.  Home Owner Association yearly fees and yearly taxes are posted on most Multiple Listing Services Information Pages, so you may have access to a lot more information than you originally thought.  Not all REALTORS provide an ESTIMATED COST WORKSHEET, and that’s ok, your lender is the money person, your REALTOR is the negotiation and home information finding out person and so on.

 “Well Jill did we learn anything from this point on our checklist?”  asked a puzzled Jack.  “Jack is your head bothering you again?  Come on now you need to focus, ” scolded Jill.  “Of course we learned something.  We learned that there are fees involved in buying a home and that we should learn about them by talking with our lender and our REALTOR.”  said Jill calmly.  “Yea, I got that too, I guess it will make more sense once we have an INITIAL FEES WORKSHEET in our hands,”  smiled Jack.  And with that being said they eagerly awaited the next check point entitled:

“Jack and Jill Search & Search Some More: The Home Buyer Checklist You’ve Been Looking for (5 of 15)”

We hope you’re enjoying our series and that it helps you on your way to……………………………

Live Life to the Fullest,