Information for Home Buyers

Making sure your purchase closes smoothly and efficiently is one reason to choose an established company with a long history in the real estate process. Information on the process from the buyer's perspective is provided in this site below. Desjarlais Law & Title's professional staff is there to make sure your needs are met fully and accurately. For title and closing services that are unparalleled in the industry, insist on Desjarlais Law & Title.

It's always a good market in real estate -- when you know what you're doing. Structuring transactions, arranging financing and finding the right buyers are some of the keys to success.

Real estate has become a very complicated business. Selling or buying a home can be one of the most important financial transactions in your life. That's why it pays to work with a professional who specializes in this field -- a real estate attorney, a licensed real estate agent or broker.

Mary Lynn Desjarlais can assist the Buyer and Seller with drafting the contract for sale and purchase of real estate, ordering title insurance, acting as closing agent and handling the closing from beginning to end.
 

Why use a Real Estate Agent?

Why It Pays to Use a Professional

* When you use an agent, you'll get the benefit of professional experience from the moment you consider buying your house. Your agent will help you establish a fair ... Read more
When You Make Your Purchase
A vital part of any sale is title insurance. Lenders usually require a loan policy to protect their interests, and buyers need an owner's policy to protect their equity. Be ... Read more
If You Are Buying a Home

For most of us, a home is the single biggest purchase in our lives. The enormity of the financial transaction aside, finding the right home to fit our particular needs and wants is no easy undertaking. Just as you wouldn't buy a car, computer or cellphone without doing some ... Read more

What To Expect

What To Expect In A Residential Transaction
Buying a home involves several stages. Below is a list of the more common steps during a residential transaction.
Your situation may vary and it is best to contact your real estate professional for more information.
Common Steps for Buying a Home

Initial Meeting

  • Select attorney / real estate agent
  • Determine needs and wants
  • Determine financial eligibility

Loan Qualification

  • Discuss finances
  • Obtain pre-qualification

Find a Home

  • Select an affordable property that fits your needs
  • Discuss offer with attorney / agent
  • Buyer reviews contract with attorney / agent
  • Attorney / Agent presents offer to selling side

Present and Negotiate Offer

  • Buyer prepares "earnest money" deposit
  • Seller accepts offer (Seller can accept your offer, counter your offer, or reject your offer)
  • Send a copy of the contract to Desjarlais Law & Title

Open Escrow

  • Deposit "earnest money" into escrow with the real estate broker or Desjarlais Law & Title
  • Desjarlais Law & Title will order Preliminary Report and Open Permit/Code Enforcement Report for your title insurance

Submit Loan Application

Contingency Period

  • Conduct Physical Inspection of property by a qualified inspector
  • Approve seller's Disclosure Statement
  • Approve Preliminary Reports for title insurance
  • Conduct property appraisal
  • Obtain loan approval from lender
  • Perform termite inspection and certification
  • Schedule closing date and time with Desjarlais Law & Title

Obtain Homeowner's Insurance

  • Select insurance company and coverage
  • Insurance will be in effect at time of closing

Down Payment

  • Need wired funds prior to closing date

Closing

  • Deposit down payment and closing costs to Desjarlais Law & Title
  • Lender sends balance of purchase price to Desjarlais Law & Title
  • Closing documents signed, bring two forms of picture identification
  • Deed and/or Mortgage is recorded in the County’s Public Records
  • Make sure you have electrical, water and sewer connections turned on
  • Get your keys and move in!


Financial Responsibilities

Purchasing Your Home: Costs and Fees

There are various costs and fees involved in purchasing a home. The following list depicts an example of the costs you may be responsible for. Keep in mind that responsibility for some of these charges can be negotiable and the responsible party may vary from area to area. Ask your attorney / real estate agent about applicable costs in your area.

  • Title insurance premium (according to contract)
  • Escrow fees (according to contract)
  • Document preparation (if applicable)
  •  Read more

Relocation Tips - Moving Check List

The following check list will assist in making the relocation process more organized. An important aspect of a successful move is pre-planning.

Find out what to do before the move and things you may overlook on moving day. Also, prepare yourself with the minimal necessities during the moving process. Finally, plan ahead and prepare your new residence for your arrival.

What to do before moving day:

Schedule rental truck and/or moving company at least six weeks in advance.

Begin gathering packing supplies and start packing early.

If you are renting, notify your landlord or management company at least 4 weeks in advance.

Contact utility companies and schedule shut off dates. These include water, electricity, gas, cable, trash service, telephone, etc.

Call your local phone company at least two weeks before your move to either transfer your number or request a new number for your new home.

Have gas, electric and water services connected at your new residence the day before you move in. Have services scheduled to be turned off at your old address the day after you move.

Arrange for cable installation at your new address.

Notify post office of new address and mail change of address forms at least one month in advance.

The following will be forwarded at no charge for the period indicated:

  • First Class, Priority and Express Mail: 12 months unless otherwise requested by mailer.
  • Newspapers and Magazines: 60 days.
  • Packages weighing 16 ounces or more: 12 months locally (you pay forwarding charges if you move outside the local area. If you do not want this class of mail forwarded, contact your local Post Office).
  • Mail Address Change Notification cards to people and businesses who send you mail.

If you have pets and/or plants, you need to arrange for their transfer. Most moving companies cannot move them for you.

If you need to dispose of hazardous products, call 1-800-cleanup.

Specific Tasks You Don't Want to Overlook

If you are traveling a great distance, have your car serviced 2 weeks in advance.

Make hotel reservations if you are traveling long distance or are unable to move in to your residence right away.

On moving day carry hard-to-replace items with you, such as jewelry, family photos, etc.

Make sure to back-up your computer files before you disconnect and pack it away.

Last Minute Tasks for the Day of the Move

Pack a survival kit with enough essentials to tide you and your family over for at least 24 hours:

Personal needs - eyeglasses, medication, extra clothes, etc.

Bathroom needs - towels, soap, toilet paper, etc.

Cleaning needs - sponges, cleaners, broom, dustpan, etc.

Kitchen needs - snacks, drinks, disposable utensils, cups, and plates, etc.

Basic tools - hammer, screwdrivers (phillips head & flat head), knife, tape, etc.

Payment for movers.

Keys and directions to your new home.

Responsibilities at your future address:

Arrange to register your children in new school(s).

Familiarize your children with their new environment.

Put together your children and your own health records - keep these handy during your move.

Look for new doctors and dentists.

Update or open new bank accounts.
 
 

Neighborhood Tips

Keep Your Children Safe in Their New Environment

* Educate Your Children

Encourage your children to memorize their new address and phone number prior to the move. Make sure you practice with them every opportunity you have and reward them. Visit their new school the day before their first day to familiarize them. As a result, they will feel more comfortable on their first day.

* Become Familiar with the Area

It is important to familiarize your children with surrounding streets, stores, parks, playgrounds etc. Walk through the neighborhood to show them acceptable routes they are allowed to travel and acceptable places they may visit, such as a park or a playground. To help them learn quickly, practice the name of the streets and pick a landmark to associate the street with. Discourage your children from taking shortcuts. Encourage them to always stay on the main roads. Finally, establish a safe place or person they can go to for help in case you are not available to assist them.

* Meet the Neighbors

Introduce yourself and your kids to the new neighbors. By doing this, you establish a favorable beginning relationship and create the opportunity of introducing your kids to their kids.

* Instruct Your Children to Check First

Your kids will most likely make friends in the area. Instruct them to ask permission before they go anywhere with their new friends, including in their homes.

* Establish an Emergency Plan

Create a list of emergency phone numbers and place in a designated area. Include emergency numbers such as fire, police, poison control, hospital, etc. Also create a list of your pager, work, and cellular phone numbers. Designate two other people to contact for help if your children cannot contact you.

* Reinforce "Home Alone" Rules

Your kids should never open the door for someone you don't know, whether or not you are home. In addition, they should make sure that all doors and windows remain locked.

If a stranger should telephone and ask for personal information, warn your children against revealing any personal information. Instruct them to tell the caller you are not available and take a message.

* Reinforce the Rules

Your children will follow these rules if they are reminded on a regular basis.

Walk the neighborhood with your kids now and then.

Have them recite and spell their name, address and phone number a few times a week.

Have them point out the location of emergency numbers.

As long as these rules are adhered to, your family will enjoy a safe and comfortable environment!

House Hunter's Scorecard

Nothing's quite so frustrating as forgetting why you liked two or three particular homes after weeks of looking. With this scorecard, you can keep a record for yourself.

Not only does this list include most of the features you'll be needing in a home, it takes into account the importance of the surrounding community.

Maybe even more important, it allows you to set up a priority list ahead of time, a ranking order of features from the most vital to insignificant. Since most home purchases are compromises, this should help make your decision easier. The priority list can also help a realtor get a better picture of what you are looking for in a house to select those houses available that best meet your requirements. When you are visiting different homes, there's no need to feel embarrassed about pulling out this check list and making notes. After all, you have a big decision to make, and it is in your best interest to take every precaution.

Click here to access the Scorecard.

About Interest Rates

Playing the Waiting Game on Interest Rates

This practice may cost Home Buyers (first time and move-up ) more than they think...

"The sooner, the better" may be the best strategy for buying houses. That's because lower interest rates can actually mean higher costs for those who delay the purchase of a home too long.

When there are fluctuations in mortgage rates, Americans have a habit of waiting just a little while longer, hoping to save thousands of dollars as the rates dip lower. But, even if the rates do fall further, that waiting strategy, says a housing expert, can actually cost you more.

John Pfister, vice president of Market Research at Ticor Title and Trust Company, says home buyers tend to forget that as mortgage rates drop, housing prices tend to begin rising.

"Very often, the savings projected by lower interest rates are more than offset by the simultaneous rise in home prices," adds Pfister.

To illustrate the point, here's an example of what might typically happen:

A $150,000 house is purchased with a down payment of $30,000 and the balance is financed at a fixed 8.75 percent rate over 30 years. Monthly principal and interest payments come to $944.05.

If the buyer chooses to wait until interest rates drop to 8.50 percent and, in the meantime the cost of the house climbs a modest 2 percent, which is a common increase in an interest-driven market, the monthly payment would rise to $945.78.

Payment differences between a 9.25 percent rate and rates a quarter percent lower down to 7 percent are shown in the following table based on housing price increases of 2 and 4 percent.

At Ticor Title Company, Pfister tracks housing statistics from coast to coast. His research shows that the cost of financing a home has outrun housing inflation in only three of the last 20 years. The 20-year average increase in housing inflation is 7.4 percent; for the cost of the money, it is a mere 1.4 percent.

Here's an Example

Cost Now2% Increase4% Increase
Home Price $150,000 $153,000 $156,000
Down Payment $30,000 $30,000 $30,000
Mortgage Amount $120,000 $123,000 $126,000

Interest Rates -- Monthly Payment, Principal & Interest(on a 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage)

Mortgage Amount$120,00$123,000$126,000
7.00%$798.36$818.32$837.29
7.25% $818.62 $839.08 $859.56
7.50% $839.05 $860.03$881.02
7.75%$859.69 $881.15$902.69
8.00% $880.52$902.54 $924.56
8.25%$901.53$924.07$946.61
8.50%$922.71$945.78$968.85
8.75%$944.05$967.66 $991.27
9.00%$965.56$989.70$1,013.84
9.25% $987.22 $1,011.91 $1,036.60

Housing costs do not always offset lower interest rates. However, Pfister warns that in those markets where housing values remain high and keep growing, "waiting for interest rates to bottom-out" is a gamble. The bottom may not be the best time to buy. Talk to your local real estate agent or broker today to determine the best fit in housing and interest rate costs for you.