Buying or selling a home? Northern Land & Realty Co. can help.

With a little planning ahead of time, buying a home isn't too confusing, but the event can be stressful for many people. I like to give buyers a road map of the whole deal so they'll understand exactly what to expect. These are my nine steps to purchasing a home. If you have any questions regarding this information or if you're ready to get started, just contact me here or e-mail me at .

Step 1 – Prepare to purchase
Before you start looking for a home, there are many things you'll want to take into account. When you start your search, you'll want to put together a list of must-haves, get a feeling for what school districts and neighborhoods you'd like to live in, and start planning your budget. Ensuring your mortgage payment is no more than a third of your monthly income is a good guideline to go by.

Step 2 – Contact a real estate agent in Havre
This is where Northern Land & Realty Co. comes in. I'd love to book a time to meet with you and speak with you regarding your real estate needs and get an idea of your plans for the future. We'll discuss the mortgage industry, other economic factors that might affect your buying decision today or in the future, as well as neighborhoods and school districts in the Havre area.

I'll also help you facilitate the loan process. Northern Land & Realty Co. works with some of the best mortgage professionals in Havre, so you're in great hands. They can help you choose which type of loan is best for you, as well as help you get qualified.

Step 3 – Start your search
After our initial meeting, I'll start looking for houses on the market that are good for you. I'll research most of the homes and exclude the bad ones, and then we'll schedule appointments to tour the homes at a time that's convenient for you.

As we tour houses, I'll point out positive features and negative ones. And I'll ask you what things you like and dislike. It's pretty common for buyers to change their wish list as we view houses and some features become far more crucial than others. If such is the case, I'll look through all the listings one more time and narrow it down to the home you've been waiting for.

Step 4 – Know the housing market
An agent's understanding of the Havre housing market is a leading agent in your home search. And I can assure you I'm mindful of all the schools and neighborhoods, and I will communicate which neighborhoods are "hot" and demand prompt action and others that are "cool" and allow for more consideration.

When we view houses, I'll make sure to communicate when the asking price has room for negotiation and when I trust the home is "priced to sell." When working with an agent, be mindful and make sure you ask plenty of questions, as any REALTOR will convince you they understand the market. If things don't add up, contact me at (406) 265-2253 or e-mail me at , and I'll be more than happy to answer any questions you have. My knowledge of the market will keep you a step ahead through the entire deal.

Step 5 – Find the house you've been looking for
I'm confident we'll find the house of your dreams in the Havre area. When that happens, I'll thoroughly create your home purchase offer. The offer will be tailored keeping your needs in mind and the home, including many contingencies, such as getting financing, completing the inspection, and a clear title.

When submitting your purchase offer, you'll likely want to submit "earnest money." This is a cash deposit submitted to the home seller to secure an offer to buy the property, and it's often put towards the closing costs. If your offer is accepted by the seller, we should close within 30 to 60 days afterward. This allows plenty of time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate
Unfortunately most contracts aren't closed on the first offer – it's pretty common to receive a counter offer. Don't let this discourage you. We'll figure out whether or not to agree to the counter offer, present our own counter offer, or refuse the seller's offer and move on.

How aggressively we negotiate the contract depends on market conditions. In addition, we'll work within your budget. And when it's all said and done, we'll formulate a contract that's best for you.

Step 7 – Get your loan
Upon completion of the contract, you'll start working with your lender to close the loan. If you're already pre-qualified, this won't take long at all, but you need to keep in close contact with your lender. And I'll look after all the property information your lender will need to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
You'll get a Loan Estimate (LE) detailing closing costs from your lender within three days of getting your loan application. The estimate is formed from the loan amount, and RESPA requirements dictate that it has to include all closing costs and fall within a precise range of accuracy. I'll review the estimate and let you know if everything looks all right.

Then we'll close on your house. This will most likely happen at a title company or escrow office and will probably be a smooth and relaxing event.

Step 9 – Move in
Congratulations! It's time to move into your new home. Enjoy it. And if you need anything or have any questions, simply contact me at (406) 265-2253 or e-mail me at .