Hancock Real Estate

Buyer Packet

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309 E Milam Street
Jasper, TX 75951
(409) 384-4337 office (409) 384-4299 fax
Benstimberland@gmail.com
Benhancockrealestate.com

About Buyers Rep

What is a Buyer’s Representation Agreement? Why should you sign it?

A Buyer Representation Agreement is a legal document that formalizes your working relationship with a particular buyer’s representative, detailing what services you are entitled to and what your buyer’s representative expects from you in return. While the language used in the document is formal, homebuyers should view it as an important and helpful tool for clarifying expectations, developing mutual loyalty, and most importantly, elevating the services you will receive.

  • Receive a higher level of service. If you’ve formalized an agency relationship with a buyer’s rep, you can expect to be treated like a client instead of a customer. What’s the difference? Clients are entitled to superior services, relative to customers. While the details vary from state to state, and from one buyer’s agent to another, you can generally assume that being a client means that you’ve formed a fiduciary, or agency, relationship with your buyer’s rep.

  • Get more without paying more. In almost every case, home sellers have already agreed to pay a buyer’s agent’s commission. If they haven’t, you can ask your buyer’s rep to avoid showing you any such homes. Or you can still view the home, knowing that you’ll need to factor your agent’s commission into any offer you may write.

  • Avoid misunderstandings. A Buyer’s Representation Agreement clarifies expectations, helping you understand what you should and shouldn’t expect from your buyer’s rep, and what they will expect from you, which usually centers on loyalty.

  • Agency relationships are based on mutual consent. While most representation agreements specify a time period, they can be terminated early if both parties consent. Most buyer’s reps are willing to end the agreement early if the working relationship isn’t going well.

  • Strength as a team. When you and your buyer’s rep work together within a formalized agency relationship, you have created a team dedicated to helping you achieve the best possible home-buying experience.

Key Points

KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER:

Key Point 1: Research your loan originator’s background carefully. Financial glitches are the number one reason that homes sales stumble or fail. Poll your friends and colleagues about their experiences when they purchased. Verify that the individual is licensed to practice in Texas and check out reliable sources for reviews, such as The Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List and others.

Key Point 2: If anyone else is making an offer on the property, work with your buyer agent to present an offer that is high enough to help you avoid a bidding war.

Key Point 3: Until your offer is accepted IN WRITING, the seller has the right to negotiate and accept any other offer, regardless of what you have been told verbally.

Key Point 4: If you choose to be represented by the attorney who will also be representing the bank at the closing, vet her carefully as her loyalty will be split between you and the bank through which you’re getting your loan.

Key Point 5: The signing can be done electronically, but the listing office must receive and deposit the check to complete this step of the process.

Key Point 6: Don’t leave anything out of your conversation with the loan originator and feel free to ask him any questions you wish. Make notes before meeting. By law, he must hold all information you share with him confidential. Let him-not you- decide which aspects of your financial picture are relevant to your ability to qualify and purchase.

Key Point 7: A few days prior to your commitment date, talk with you loan officer or have your buyer agent do so. If any extension of time is needed, get it in writing and get the seller’s seller signature on it. If you fail to do so and do not receive your commitment by the date on your Offer to Purchase, it is assumed by the seller that you’ve received your loan and are ready to proceed to closing.

Key Point 8: Sellers frequently don’t have all of their stuff out of the house at the final walk-through. When this occurs, a cash “holdback” from the seller’s proceeds, decided by the attorneys, is the most common procedure to insure, that, once their stuff is out, the house will be in good condition.

Key Point 9: The time line presented here is typical based on many years of experience with real estate transactions. As human beings are involved in every sale, there are myriad combinations of pieces that make up the puzzle.

WHY HIRE A REALTOR

WHY YOU SHOULD HIRE A RELATOR

Real estate agents have an advantage over self-sellers in that they are involved in a network with other professionals in the business. Not only do they communicate easily with buyer’s agents, they also can recommend various services to handle legal issues or necessary repairs and improvements.

Real estate agents are skilled negotiators. They remain unemotional while maintaining confidentiality and professionalism in the transaction.

Finally, a professional will be able to handle the reams of paperwork that often are riddled with confusing language. Even the smoothest closures can bring issues down the road. A good agent will be available to assist you long after the dust has settled around your sale.

Kindest regards,

Ben Hancock
Real Estate Broker
Hancock Real Estate

Get To Know Ben

"Experience and Integrity.”

When you want a business man of strong character and faith, Ben Hancock is the man to turn to. He started selling in Nacogdoches, Texas in 1991 and just one year later, in 1992, he was named Rookie Realtor of the Year. By 1993, he became a mortgage banker with the second largest lender in the real estate mortgage industry, Northwest Mortgage Company, based out of Des Moines, IA. After this, Ben started working at Lufkin Federal Savings and Loan. Ben has a long history of financial knowledge and experience and he currently specializes in timberland and acreage (having sold 8,000 acres of timberland in 2006!) and yet Ben has a keen interest in residential and commercial sales. Why? Because as a local business, he is invested in the strength and growth of his community.
As an active member in the Jasper Lion’s Club since 1995, he is always searching for new or reinvented businesses to speak and introduce themselves to the town at the club meetings. He strives to partner with these businesses as vendors to lift them up and help them thrive. His favorite line is “Always come from a place of contribution.” Ben’s goal for his clients as well as his vendors is to create a relationship that cultivates harmony within the community. With 20+ years of experience, Ben’s quiet determination and integrity has helped build the foundation to create a community of persistent openhandedness. This same effort is put into every individual he works with as their Realtor.
His clients are walked into every step of the process so that there are no misgivings or unanswered questions. With Ben’s attentiveness and his staff, clients come out with a well-rounded education on what actually goes into the process of buying, selling and/or investing in real estate. They sign the closing documents with confidence in knowing that they have a newfound friend and their dream home.

To Ben his business is not about how much money he can make: he is in business to find you a home, to foster a supportive community and a lasting relationship with those he works for and with. That is what makes Ben stand out in the average marketplace.

Basic Steps Of Closing

Basic Steps of Closing

Step 1 Starting the process

A sales contract is signed by the buyer and seller, and delivered to the closing agent, usually with a deposit check. The escrow is accepted by the escrow agent, often by written notation on the contract. The escrow agent starts the closing process by opening a title order. The file begins to be processed. Tax information, loan payoffs, survey (if necessary), homeowner/maintenance fees, inspections/reports, and hazard and other insurances as well as legal papers are ordered. A title search is ordered.

Step 2 Title search and examination

This is a search made of the public records. Records searched include deeds, mortgages, paving assessments, liens, wills, divorce settlements and other documents affecting title to the property. Title examination is the examination of the documents found during the title search that affect the title to the property. This is when verification of the legal owner is made and the debts owed against the property are determined. Upon completion of the search and examination, a title commitment/preliminary report is prepared, and reviewed and sent out to interested parties.

Step 3 Document preparation and/or request to produce

The closing agent reviews the new lender’s instructions and requirements, reviews instructions from other parties to the transaction, reviews legal and loan documents, assembles charges, prepares closing statements, and schedules the closing.

Step 4 Settlement or closing the transaction

The escrow or settlement agent oversees closing of the transaction. The seller signs the deed and closing affidavit. Buyer signs the new note and mortgage. The old loan is paid off. Seller, real estate agents, attorneys and other parties present at the closing of the transaction are paid.

Step 5 Post-closing

After the signing has been completed, the escrow or settlement agent will forward payment to any prior lender, and pay all parties who performed services in connection with your closing (if they have not been paid). The transaction documents are recorded in the county in which the property is located. Title insurance policies are prepared and sent to the new lender and to you. This all happens without any further actions by the buyer or seller.

Insider Guide To Buying

An Insider’s Guide to the Buying Process

Buying a home is a complicated dance with more steps than the tango. As a Realtor, I’ve found that everyone, even repeat buyers, is more relaxed when they have a good understanding of the process and the number of days–approximately 60 days for the whole shebang is to take. So here’s my insider’s guide to the buying process, from offer to closing.
Before the countdown toward home ownership begins, you have to warm up with several steps. You need to figure out how much you can afford to spend on a home, get pre-approved with a mortgage professional/loan originator, and find a terrific Realtor to partner with you in your search. (Note: if you’re purchasing a bank-owned, “short sale” or a court-ordered sale, the time line is usually longer and significantly more complicated than the one I’ve outlined here.
Day 1: Congratulations! You’ve found the home that satisfies 80% of the items on your “must have” list and you’re ready to make an offer. Meet with your Realtor or buyer agent and prepare a serious offer that has a good likelihood of being accepted. Starting out on the right foot is important. It sets the tone for the transaction. If you’re a serious buyer, your initial offer has to engage, not alienate the seller. Keep it simple. You’ll be attaching an “earnest deposit” check to your offer–in my market area, the usual amount is $1,000. A personal check is usually fine. This check will be deposited once you and the seller have agreed to and signed the final offer.
Day 3: You and the seller agree on price, inspection, loan commitment and closing dates, and which appliances are included and which chandeliers are not. ASAP, see a signed copy (electronic or hard) of the final offer and review it carefully. Your $1,000 check is now deposited into the escrow account of the listing office. Book your home inspection, if you choose to have one (and most people do), with a reputable, experienced, competitively-priced company. Again, talk with folks around you and listen carefully to their stories. An overly-alarmist inspector can turn you away from the home that’s right for you. Conversely, a slip-shod inspector can OK a home that might cause you misery down the road.
Day 5: Hire a Realtor. Most of my clients wait until after the home inspection to actually engage a realtor. Go with an experienced realtor whose practice includes a good amount of real estate. Again, poll your friends, talk on the phone with at least two realtors, and choose one with whom you feel good chemistry. This person will be by your side until you meet at the closing table, so be sure you have confidence in and good communication with him or her.
Day 10: You’ve had the home inspected and it went well. The seller has agreed to complete a couple of small repairs prior to your closing date. Contact your Realtor and put her in touch with your buyer agent, who will connect her with the Realtor on the seller side. The Realtors will negotiate a Purchase and Sale Agreement (P&S) acceptable to both parties.
Day 13: All terms in the P&S are acceptable to you and the seller. Write a check for (in my marketplace) 5% of the purchase price, less the $1,000 you paid when you made your offer, and bring it with you when you meet with your buyer agent to sign the P&S. Your agent will transmit the Agreement to the seller’s agent immediately, along with your check, and return a copy to you once the seller has signed it.
Day 14 (or earlier): Meet with your loan originator and complete your mortgage application. If you’re a first-time homeowner, allow a couple of hours for this meeting.
Days 14-20: The bank receives your mortgage application and starts the approval process. An appraiser is hired to visit the property and as certain that the price you’re paying is in line with other values in the area. Delays in the appraisal process are common reasons for loan commitments being delayed. Appraisals are usually scheduled within a few days of your mortgage application being submitted to the bank. Once they visit the home, depending on their workload, appraisers generally get their paperwork to the bank within a week at the most.
Days 20-45: The mortgage processing department at the bank reviews the appraisal, contacts you if any additional paperwork is needed (could be a W-2 form, paycheck stubs, tax forms, rent receipts, etc.) and, with a little bit of luck, your loan is approved within the time frame set forth in your Offer to Purchase.
Day 45: You receive your Loan Commitment letter from the bank, detailing the terms of your loan. CELBRATE!!! If you have even the slightest question, review it carefully with your loan officer, and let your buyer agent know you’ve received your commitment. Then jump up and down and hug your partner and/or your dog, or even your cat. Occasionally, the seller asks to see a copy of the Commitment letter. If you’re willing to do so, send only the front page (via your buyer agent) and block out any personal financial information you do not wish to share. In these post-mortgage-market-meltdown times, sellers and sellers’ agents are asking for proof of commitment more often. Don’t take it personally–remember: this is business. Have your insurance binder completed then start getting your insurance in place.
Day 50: Contractor visit (optional, of course–most P&S Agreements allow up to three of these). Your kitchen counter person needs to get into the property to measure. Your buyer agent contacts the seller agent and the visit is arranged for a mutually agreeable time. If you can’t be there, your agent should be glad to meet the contractor.
Day 59: Final walk-through. You’re closing tomorrow!!! Arrange with your buyer agent and the seller’s agent to go through your future home once the seller has removed all of their stuff. On this visit, you’re evaluating the condition of the property compared to how it looked the last time you saw it: whether the heating system works, if the water is running and heating up as it should, if the appliances and other items that were agreed upon in the P&S are indeed present, and whether the repairs mentioned in the P&S have been made. If needed you need to have your temporary residential lease completed. When you’ve completed your FINAL walk-through (after you’ve gotten the keys), a simple call or text message to your buyer agent, who will then contact the closing title company, is sufficient to give the “all clear.” In the rare instance where there’s a defect in the property that becomes apparent only after the sellers have completely vacated, that cash holdback is used for or contributed to the correction of the defect.
Day 60: Iron that one button-down shirt you still own and show up at the closing. Many times we close at the title company. Wherever you meet, have your signing arm in good shape, because there’s a small mountain of paper for you to sign and pass around (thus the term “passing” that is sometimes used instead of “closing”). As the buyer, you have a lot more paperwork than does the seller, so don’t be alarmed if the seller, or their agent, doesn’t show up until you’re almost done with your stack of documents. Once you’ve signed yourself into a happy stupor, the closing agent or a “runner” will make sure your transaction gets recorded at County Clerk’s Office. NOTE: Always check back with the closing company within 2 to 3 hours after to make sure you have signed it all! Technically, the property isn’t really yours until those papers are recorded. When the key is placed into your hand at the end of the closing, however, you can pretty much call yourself a homeowner and head over to your new place. Remain relaxed and positive; choose your team carefully; don’t forget that purchasing a home is a business transaction and one in which emotions can run high. If you keep your eyes on the big picture–the many years of happiness you will have in your new place–your buying process will be successful, not stress-full!

Why Hire A Realtor pt2

When you hire a real estate professional, you don’t need to know everything about buying and selling your home. Also, you will be free to spend your time on other activities. The key is to find the right person.
“A good agent will field the calls and will be able to separate the serious buyers from those who just want to look.
“A good agent who doesn’t know the immediate answer will know where to find it. Realtors can identify comparable sales and then deliver the information to you. They also understand market fluctuations and can guide you in setting your price.”
Here are at least 10 reasons why you should trust a professional real estate agent with the sale of your home:

1. They can list your home in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), which is open only to licensed real estate brokers and agents. In this way, your home will get a lot more exposure, not just locally, but across the country.
2. You might waste your money on newspaper ads and other marketing tactics. A good Realtor will know when, where and how to advertise your property. Your agent should aggressively advertise and market your property and will know when and where to advertise.
3. You may be limited in your resources. The National Association of Realtors studies show that 82 percent of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients and referrals.
4. Your pool of potential buyers is limited. Due to a reduction in commission or perceived difficulty in dealings, buyer’s agents typically will avoid showing their clients “FSBO” or homes listed for sale by owner.
5. People who do their own selling tend to overprice their homes. A real estate agent can provide a current market analysis and other information regarding competitive sales.
6. You might not be aware of what makes a home marketable. A real estate agent can provide improvement tips and services that will make your home more competitive.
7. Potential buyers spend less time in a for-sale-by-owner home than when they tour with an agent. They might refrain from asking the homeowner questions that they might ask an agent. And, they will be less likely to make an offer directly to the seller.
8. Selling your own home could lead to a legal chaos. An experienced real estate agent knows how to work through the tangle of legal requirements and documents.
9. You might not possess the necessary negotiating power that a real estate agent has. These might include price, date of possession, necessary repairs, and investigations of the property.
10. The closing process is intimidating and difficult. A Realtor knows how to guide you through the process.

Pre Approval Process

Potential buyers benefit in several ways by consulting with a lender and obtaining a pre-approval letter:

First, they have an opportunity to discuss loan options and budgeting with the lender. Second, the lender will check on their credit and alert the would-be buyers to any problems. Third, the buyers learn the maximum they can borrow and therefore have an idea of their price range. However, all buyers should be careful to estimate their own comfort level with a housing payment rather than immediately aiming for the top of their spending ability. Lastly, home sellers expect all buyers to have a pre-approval letter and are more willing to negotiate with people who have proof that they can obtain financing.

 1. Proof of Income
“No verification” or “no documentation” loans are a thing of the past, so all borrowers need to be prepared with W-2 statements from the past two years, recent pay stubs that show income as well as year-to-date income, proof of any additional income such as alimony or bonuses and your two most recent years of tax returns.

2. Proof of Assets
You will need to present bank statements and investment account statements to prove that you have funds for the down payment and closing costs, as well as cash reserves. An FHA loan requires a down payment of as low as 3.5% of the cost of the home, while conventional home loans require 10% to 20%, depending on the loan program. If you receive money from a friend or relative to assist with the down payment, you will need a gift letter to prove that it is not a loan.

3. Good Credit
Most lenders today reserve the lowest interest rates for customers with a credit score of 740 or above. Below that, borrowers may have to pay a little more in interest or pay additional discount points to lower the rate. FHA loan guidelines have tightened in recent months, too, so that borrowers with a credit score below 580 are required to make a larger down payment. Most lenders require a credit score of 620 or above in order to approve an FHA loan. Lenders will often work with borrowers with a low or moderately low credit score and suggest ways they can improve their score.

4. Employment Verification
Your lender will not only want to see your pay stubs, but is also likely to call your employer to verify that you are still employed and to check on your salary. If you have recently changed jobs, a lender may want to contact your previous employer. Lenders today want to make sure they are loaning only to borrowers with a stable employment. Self-employed borrowers will need to provide significant additional paperwork concerning their business and income.

5. Documentation
Your lender will need a copy of your driver’s license and will need your Social Security number and your signature allowing the lender to pull a credit report. Be prepared at the pre-approval session and later to provide (as quickly as possible) any additional paperwork requested by the lender. The more cooperative you are, the smoother the mortgage process will be.

Once you have gathered all the required documentation, it is time to look and apply for the best mortgage rates in your area.

6. Pre-Qualified
Getting pre-qualified is the initial step in the mortgage process, and it’s generally fairly simple. You supply a bank or lender with your overall financial picture, including your debt, income and assets. After evaluating this information, a lender can give you an idea of the mortgage amount for which you qualify. Pre-qualification can be done over the phone or on the internet, and there is usually no cost involved. Loan pre-qualification does not include an analysis of your credit report or an in-depth look at your ability to purchase a home.

The initial pre-qualification step allows you to discuss any goals or needs you may have regarding your mortgage with your lender. At this point, a lender can explain your various mortgage options and recommend the type that might be best suited to your situation.

Because it’s a quick procedure – and based only on the information you provide to the lender- your pre-qualified amount is not sure thing; it’s just the amount for which you might expect to be approved. For this reason, being a pre-qualified buyer doesn’t carry the same weight as being a pre-approved buyer who has been more thoroughly investigated.

7. Pre-Approved
Getting pre-approved is the next step, and it tends to be much more involved. You’ll complete an official mortgage application (and usually pay an application fee), then supply the lender with the necessary documentation to perform an extensive check on your financial background and current credit rating. (Typically at this stage, you will not have found a house yet, so any reference to “property” on the application will be left blank). From this, the lender can tell you the specific mortgage amount for which you are approved. You’ll also have a better idea of the interest rate you will be charged on the loan and, in some cases, you might be able to lock in a specific rate.

With pre-approval, you will receive a conditional commitment in writing for an exact loan amount, allowing you to look for a home at or below that price level. Obviously, this puts you at an advantage when dealing with a potential seller, as he or she will know you’re one step closer to obtaining an actual mortgage.

The other advantage of completing both of these steps; pre-qualification and pre-approval; before you start to look for a home is that you’ll know in advance how much you can afford. This way, you don’t waste time with guessing or looking at properties that are beyond your means. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage also enables you to move quickly when you find the perfect place. When you make an offer, it won’t be contingent on obtaining financing, which can save you valuable time. In a competitive market, this lets the seller know that your offer is serious – and could prevent you from losing the home to another potential buyer who already has financing arranged.

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