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Home Buyers Guide from the Mega Agent Real Estate Team at RE/MAX Advantage

Home Buyers Guide from the Mega Agent Real Estate Team at RE/MAX Advantage

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    Mega Agent Real Estate Team Home Buyers Guide Mega Agent Real Estate Team Home Buyers Guide Document Transcript

    • www.MegaAgents.com
    • Love it or Leave It! Guarantee Does your agent offer a Love it or Leave it! Guarantee when you buy your home from them? The Mega Agent Real Estate Team Delivers... Satisfaction Guaranteed! That’s right. If you purchase your next home from the Mega Agent Real Estate Team and it for free* (for up to six months after Closing). *Listing agent commission only. Why does the Mega Agent Real Estate Team make such an offer? new home isn’t everything you expected it to be. You have nothing to lose... If your home is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation. Advantage Each Office Independently Owned and Operated2 Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com
    • Meet Our Team COLLIER Collier Swecker is a founding partner of the Mega Agent Real Estate Team at RE/MAX Advantage. Collier leads the team’s listing division. Collier and his Mega Team are among the most successful Real Estate Agents in the Birmingham Alabama real estate market. As a Realtor®, he has been able to utilize his legal and marketing skills to help clients save thousands of dollars and avoid costly contractual mistakes. Collier graduated from Auburn University (B.A., 1998), Cumberland School of Law (Juris Doctor, 2002) and Washington University School of Law in St. Louis (Masters of Law in Taxation, 2003). Collier was the principal partner in a law practice, Swecker and Sparks, for 3 years in Auburn, Alabama. Collier is married to Amanda Capps Swecker and lives in North Shelby County. Collier & Amanda are the proud parents to a beautiful daughter, Julia Abigayle. They also have 1 dog named Kramer. (205) 249-3535 collier@megaagentrealestate.com MARK Mark Carlisle is a founding partner of the Mega Agent Real Estate Team. Mark leads the team’s buyers division. An extremely strong business background, exceptional real estate knowledge, and compassion explain why so many people have chosen Mark Carlisle as their Realtor® of choice in Greater Birmingham, Alabama for over 12 years. Mark is a strong believer that his personal priorities that are: God, Family, & Business (in that order!) In his personal time, Mark enjoys spending time with his family, coaching his son’s sports teams, and playing sports including golf, tennis, basketball, and softball. He also enjoys singing and playing the guitar. Mark is an active member of The Church at Brookhills in Birmingham, AL. Mark is married to Crissy Buchanan Carlisle. Mark and Crissy have one son, Nicholas. (205) 908-8698 mark@megaagentrealestate.com Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com 3
    • Meet Our Team SHANNON Shannon Harper is an Associate Broker and Listing Agent for The Mega Agent Real Estate Team at RE/MAX Advantage. Shannon has over 20 years of experience in residential real estate sales and management. Her experience and constant willingness to stay on top of the latest market trends has made Shannon an invaluable resource for Birmingham area home buyers. Shannon enjoys spending time with her husband Greg and their 3 children Madeline, Hallie, and Hutson “Speed.” She enjoys photography, tennis and also enjoys being the Wedding Coordinator at Riverchase Baptist Church where she has been a member for over 25 years. (205) 965-6343 shannon@megaagentrealestate.com KEN Ken Williams is a Buyer’s Agent for The Mega Agent Real Estate Team at RE/MAX Advantage. He studied Political Science at Mississippi State University, where he developed a passion for serving and helping others. Ken approaches his business with the heart of a teacher, ensuring his clients understand and are comfortable with every aspect of the home buying process. In his personal time, Ken enjoys spending time with his wife and playing sports including fencing, basketball and ultimate Frisbee. Ken is an active member at Trinity United Method- ist Church in Homewood, AL. Ken is married to Brooke, and they have one dog, Ace. (205) 413-6066 ken@megaagentrealestate.com4 Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com
    • Meet Our Team SHANTE Shante Ross is a Buyer’s Agent for the Mega Agent Real Estate Team at RE/MAX Advantage. Shante has over 15 years of sales and management experience. Her passion for a 5 Star Client Experience makes Shante the perfect advocate for home buyers in Greater Birmingham. From first-time home buyers to those in pursuit of their next home, Shante enjoys assisting them in their home buying journey. Shante enjoys spending time with husband Michael and two sons Jajuan and Michael III. She is an active member of Revelation Knowledge Bible Church,and is passionate about helping people in the community and loves to travel. (205) 643-1331 shante@megaagents.com TRISTA Trista Ehlers is the Director of Property for Mega Agent Rental Management LLC. Trista has years of sales and man- agement experience along with keen attention to details and organization. Trista enjoys spending time with her husband James and their two children, Laine & Bryne. Trista’s hobbies include reading, traveling, making jewelry, watching moves, and walking her two dogs Boris & Luda. Trista is a member of Helena United Methodist Church and is an active volunteer with their youth group. (205) 267-1520 trista@megaagentrealestate.com Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com 5
    • Meet Our Team DIANNE Dianne Daniels is the Client Care Coordinator for the Mega Agent Real Estate Team. An Iowa native, Dianne has called Birmingham home since 1995. Having honed her administrative skills in a variety of roles over the past several years, she’s proud to be part of the team. In her free time, Dianne is very active in local theatre as an actor and director. She currently serves as secretary on the Executive Board of South City Theatre, a non-profit theatre in Shelby County. (205) 991-1500 dianne@megaagentrealestate.com JULIE Julie May is the Marketing Director for the Mega Agent Real Estate Team and owner of Anything Creative, a creative design firm. Julie has partnered with the team to create compelling advertising and sales material for our programs and listings. She brings more than 10 years of design and marketing experience to The Mega Agent Real Estate Team. Julie graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in Com- munications and a minor in the Computer-Based Honors program. She is married to Jordan and has one daughter, Abigail. (256) 717-3423 julie@anything-creative.com6 Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com
    • So What is a Realtor “Team” Anyway?This is a very common question we get, and to better explain what a team is,let me give you a brief history of the real estate industry...In the mid 1970’s, the real estate industry went through a major shift. Priorto that time, agents essentially worked “for” the brokerage much like atraditional sales based company, like stockbrokers. The brokerages paid thevast majority of an agent’s expenses, and almost all advertising andpromotion was to promote the brokerage, not the agent.In the mid 1970’s the industry transformed into being agent-based asopposed to company-based. The costs for doing business were transferredfrom the company to the agents, and agents began to market and brandthemselves as opposed to the company with which they were affiliated.This shift caused many agents to become tremendously successful and havefar more business than they could actually handle themselves, which is whythe “team” concept was created. By assembling a team of Realtors workingtogether with the same clients, an agent can provide a higher level of serviceand grow their business far beyond what they could just do by themselves. Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com 7
    • Is There a Benefit to Hiring a Realtor Team as Opposed to an Independent Agent? Absolutely! There are two HUGE reasons why hiring a team is the way to go... 1. You are always working with a Specialist – There are many, many things that go into a real estate transaction with a buyer or a seller, and different people are better suited for different tasks. For example, an agent may be outstanding at helping you search for, select, and negotiate a home to buy, but they may not be very good at the important detailed follow-up that it takes to get a home from contract all the way to closing. We have absolutely fantastic people on our team, each with different skills and abilities, and we match each job duty to the person that is best fit to handle it. 2. Someone is always Available to help you – Our administrative team members are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 5:30, and we keep all of our files in the office. Your questions can be answered immediately, instead of having to wait for your independent agent to call you back, and then wait for him/her to get back to his office. After-hours and on weekends, you can always call your Mega Team agent to get any information that you need. The Step-By-Step Home Buying Process Step 1: Be qualified by a lender Being pre-approved by a lender before you make an offer on a home can save you thousands of dollars later. When you call us to set up our counseling session, we can recommend a top lender for you to contact before our consultation. Step 2: Your consultation We will quickly go over the basics of buying a home and provide you with Alabama’s Real Estate Broker Services Disclosure Form. Next, we’ll ask you many important questions to help us get a clear picture of what your needs, wants, and desires are. This takes about 30 to 45 minutes.8 Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com
    • The Step-By-Step Home Buying ProcessStep 3: Choose your systemAt your consultation, you’ll be asked to decide which system for finding a home your prefer.The first is called Window Shopping. With this system, we provide you with all of the photos, addresses,and directions of those homes that match your criteria. This way you can drive by the homes beforeyou tour them. Many people like this system because they get a feel for the home’s location and condi-tion without having us present. When a home of interest is found, we are contacted for entrance intothe house.The second system is called Agent Previewing. This is a more traditional system for house hunting.We review all the homes that are available for you and will narrow the selection down to no more thanseven “cream of the crop” properties, according to your criteria and our experience. On apredetermined day, we will go out together to find the home you’ll buy from the ones we’ve selected.At the end of our consultation, you will sign a Buyer Agency Agreement, and the search will be on!Step 4: Find your new homeOnce we know all your particulars, we utilize the latest technology to search the Birmingham MultipleListings Service, as well as other resources, for homes that meet your needs. When we go out to see theselected homes, bring your checkbook! Don’t be surprised when you fall in love with a home your veryfirst day...it happens all the time!Step 5: Draft your purchase agreementOnce we have found your dream home, we’ll go back to our office and complete a residential salescontract. A sample copy of this is given to you at your consultation.Step 6: Write earnest money checkAt this time, you submit an earnest-money check to go with your offer. This check is usually writtenfor an amount equal to at least $1,000. We take the check and the sales contract to the seller’s agentand negotiate the sale on your behalf. If the seller accepts your offer by signing the sales contract, youwill have “mutual acceptance.” PLEASE NOTE: when your contract is accepted by the seller, yourearnest money check will be cashed. Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com 9
    • The Step-By-Step Home Buying Process Step 7: You bought your new home This point is often the hardest part of the home-buying process. Why? Because buyer’s remorse may set in. Although a majority of our buyers are very excited, some still feel a bit of buyer’s remorse. This happens because it’s time for a decision, commitment, and legal documents. So remember, the butterflies you feel are normal. Step 8: Formalize your financing Now that the paperwork is signed, complete a formal loan application if you haven’t already done so. Expect to pay for an appraisal and an extensive credit report, which costs about $450. You’ll sign a Verification of Employment form. If you have asked for an inspection to be done on your new home, you’ll need to pay the inspector at the time of the inspection, usually in the range of $300 to $400. You will also want to have the septic tank inspected, if the home has a septic tank. (this usually costs around $400). Step 9: Prepare to move Your closing and possession dates will be determined when you write the offer to purchase and are agreed upon by both the buyer and seller. We work hard to make sure that everything runs smoothly and to make it as easy and pleasant for you as possible. We’ll coordinate your inspectors, appraisers, and lenders; identify problems; and find solutions. Please feel free to call us at any time during the home-buying process. Although we work hard to make sure that you are informed, there may be information that needs further explanation. You now know more about the “real world” buying process than 90% of those who are looking to purchase a home!10 Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com
    • The Step-By-Step Home Buying Process1 Seek pre-approval for a mortgage Typical time frame: 1 to 2 days 8 Schedule and Attend Closing Typical time frame: 1 week after receiving Final You must know how much you can Loan Approval spend before you spend it. 8 The Real Estate Agents involved in the transaction will Start Here 1 2 generally set the date and time for closing at a local law firm or title insurance company. The Buyer will need to have Certified Funds for any cash that he / she is required to bring to closing 2 Find a Home: Typical time frame: 1 to 3 months Depending on what you are looking for, the length of your search will vary. The average person sees 15-20 homes with their Agent before 7 Title Loan Approval Typical time frame: 7 deciding on one. Internet-savvy buyers save time by doing their homework before their search. 2 weeks The average number of homes viewed before The Purchaser will receive buying by our internet buyers is 8-10. final loan approval from Lender with final loan 3 terms and conditions.3 Mortgage applications Negotiate typically cannot be on the Home: processed without an Typical time frame: Time Line Guide executed contract. If the home is going to be for Purchasing 1 to 3 days financed, as most are, the Everything is negotiable so Seller will want to know inquire about fixtures, the that you have received final approval for your loan. roof, HVAC Systems, Here are the steps youll take to find and close on the perfect home. furniture, curtains, appliances, closing costs, HOA dues, etc. Homes should be delivered to you in 4 6 Step 7 6 a swept clean condition. As a result of a successful Survey & Septic negotiation, the parties will have a fully executed Sales 5 Inspection Typical time frame: Occurs Contract with all terms and 4 after Home Inspection and conditions fully negotiated. Home Inspection: takes no more than 1 day 5 The quicker the contract can Appraisal: be signed, the better. A Typical time frame: Within 7 to 10 The only deadline on these business days after finalized contract Typical time frame: 7 days activities is closing. Septic contract is binding only after both parties sign it. (See our If the home is contingent on a satisfactory home The appraisal is ordered by the Lender and Inspection occurs only in cases list of closing costs inspection, any repairs that need to be usually only after a home inspection is where home is serviced by a associated with buying and negotiated as a result of the inspection are completed to the satisfaction of the Buyer. septic tank. selling a home in Birming- typically negotiated within 3 to 5 days of the The Buyer may have to pay the Lender ham, Alabama.). actual date of the home inspection. upfront for the Appraisal. Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com 11
    • The Best Advice...Get Pre-Approved Most real estate agents and lenders highly recommend that you, as a home buyer, get pre-approved with a lender before selecting a home to purchase. This way, you will have the information about the best price range for your pocketbook. 9 Great Reasons to Get Pre-Approved: 1. Pre-approval determines which loan program best fits your needs. 2. You won’t waste time considering homes you cannot afford. 3. You are ready to write and present an offer on the home you really want when you find it. 4. You buyer specialist can give the seller a pre-approval letter for you. 5. In today’s market, with multiple offers on properties, pre-approval puts you in a much bet- ter negotiating position. 6. You will know the amount needed for down payment and closing costs. 7. If you are a first-time or repeat buyer, you may be able to qualify for a special programs that may allow you to afford more home for your money. 8. If you feel you would like and can afford a higher mortgage payment, other options may be available. 9. Peace of mind.12 Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com
    • Items Needed at Loan Application•Most recent pay stubs (1 month )•Copies of the last two years W-2’s and Federal Tax Returns•Names and addresses of employers (past 24 mos.)•Last 3 months bank statements or addresses and account numbers•Name and address of landlord (past 2 yrs.)•Copy of real estate sales contract•Copy of Divorce decree, separation or child support papers (if applicable)•All bankruptcy and discharge of bankruptcy papers (if applicable)•Bring checkbook /money for appraisal and credit report feesCalculating your monthly paymentIf your interest rate is: Your PI factor is: If your interest rate is: Your PI factor is: 6.00% 6.00 8.00% 7.34 6.50% 6.32 8.50% 7.69 6.75% 6.81 9.00% 8.05 7.00% 6.65 9.50% 8.41 7.25% 6.33 10.00% 8.78 7.50% 6.99 10.50% 9.15 7.75% 7.17 11.00% 9.52Divide your purchase price by 1,000. Multiply that number by your PI factor to get yourPrincipal and Interest Payment. Then add your monthly taxes, HOA Dues, Insurance andMortgage Insurance if applicable. Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com 13
    • Home Inspections: What You Need to Know Why you, as a buyer, need a home inspection. A home inspection gives you more detailed information to help you make a wise decision. In a home inspection, a qualified inspector takes an in-depth, unbiased look at your potential new home to: • Evaluate the physical condition: structure, construction, and mechanical systems. • Identify items that impact the habitability of the home that will need to be repaired or replaced. • Estimate the remaining useful life of major systems, equipment, structure, and finishes. What goes into a home inspection? A home inspection gives you an impartial, physical evaluation of the overall condition of the home and items that need to be repaired or replaced. The inspection gives a detailed report on the condition of the structural components, exterior, roofing, plumbing, electrical, heating, insulation and ventilation, air conditioning, and interiors. Be an informed buyer. It is your responsibility to be an informed buyer. Be sure that what you buy is satisfactory in every respect. You have the right to carefully examine your potential new home with a quali- fied home inspector. You may arrange to do so before signing your contract, or may do so after signing the contract, as long as your contract states that the sale of the home is contingent on a satisfactory home inspection. Most buyers choose to have home inspections done at their expense when purchasing their new home. In fact, most offers are subject to a home inspection. The home inspection will allow you to buy your home with confidence.14 Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com
    • Home Inspections: What You Need to KnowSome items that your inspection report will include:ExteriorExterior walls, windows, and doors; porches, decks, and balconies; garage.RoofRoof type and material.Interior Plumbing SystemHot and cold water system; the waste system and sewage disposal; water pressure and flow; hotwater equipment.Electrical SystemType of service; number of circuits; type of protection; outlet grounding; load balance.Central Air SystemEnergy source; type of cooling equipment; capacity; distribution.Interior Walls, Ceilings, Floors, Windows, and DoorsWalls; floors; ceilings; stairways; cabinets; countertops.AtticStructural; the trusses; insulation; ventilation information.FireplaceNotes about the chimney, damper, and masonry.GarageDoors; walls; floor; automatic garage door opener.AppliancesIncluded could be a wide range of built-in and other home appliances listed in the sales contract.Lot and LandscapingGround slopes away from foundation; condition of walks, steps, and driveway. Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com 15
    • Understanding Closing Costs Application Fee: Fee charged by the lender to offset fixed costs related to mortgage loan processing such as appraisal, credit report, and underwriting. Closing Fee: The fee charged by the closing agent who prepares the closing documents and closes the loan on behalf of the lender. Commitment Fee: This is often called an origination fee. Discount Points: Each point is equal to one percent of the mortgage amount. The lender uses points to adjust the yield on the mortgage when it is sold to an investor. By paying more points, the borrower can obtain a lower mortgage interest rate. Funding Fees: Normally applicable to VA loans only, equal to approximately two percent of the loan amount. The fee is due at closing or may be added to the loan amount and financed as part of the mortgage. Homeowner’s Insurance: A one-year premium is due in advance at time of closing. Mortgage Insurance: Insurance that is required by the lender when the down payment is less than 20 percent. In the case of loan default, this insurance reduces the loss to the lender. Pre-Payables: Adjustments to escrow accounts from the date of closing to the date of the first pay- ment. Interest is paid through the end of the month of closing. Taxes are paid through the end of the month of closing plus the following month. Two months of PMI (Principal Mortgage and Interest) are collected. Two months of homeowner’s insurance must be provided along with a receipt showing that the first year’s premium is paid. Processing Fee: Fees charged by the escrow processor, either working for the closing attorney, title company, or real estate company for administrative services performed from the point of contract through closing. Recording Fee: Fees charged by state, county and/or municipal entities for recording the mortgage and deed into the public record. Survey Fee: The title company checks the survey for encroachments from within or from outside the subject property. Title Insurance: Provides protection for lenders and homeowners against financial loss resulting from legal defects in the title. Underwriting Fee: Practices vary from lender to lender. The underwriting fee is paid to the lender for determining whether the borrower and property fall within loan program guidelines and they verify that all of the information that you have given to your loan officer. Check the good faith estimate for the amount of the underwriting fee.16 Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com
    • Frequently Asked QuestionsQ: I went to an open house, and A: No! We belong to the Birmingham Areathe listing agent said that he Multiple Listing Service, so we can show you homes listed with any agent. In addition, since we representcould represent me better and you and not sellers, we regularly show homes that“fairer” than any other agent, so are For Sale By Owner and For Sale By BuilderI really didn’t need a buyer agent. that are not listed in the MLS.Is that true? Q: Isn’t the agent who shows meA: Of course agents try to be fair and nice to the the home representing me?buyer since they want to make the sale. But, becausethey are bound by Alabama Real Estate License A: If you walk into an open-house, or a new-Laws, the Law of Agency, and their Code of Ethics, construction-site model home and any agent tellsthey can only do so much without jeopardizing their you that they are the only one who can “write” uplicense to practice. For instance, the listing agent the paperwork... don’t believe it! Agents who listcannot tell you if a property is overpriced or how to properties enter into a signed contract with the sellernegotiate the best purchase price. Ask yourself...if to represent them in the sale of their property. Ourthe seller has representation, shouldn’t you? As your advice is that unless you have previously interviewedbuyer agent, we will always negotiate only in the best the agent and have entered into a written Agencyinterest of you, the buyer. Agreement wherein they have promised to represent only your best interest and you trust him/her, walkQ: Is there a contract or some away. You may find yourself working with an agentother kind of paperwork associat- who is obligated to act in the best interests of theed with a buyer agent like there seller.is with a listing agent? Q: If you work for the buyer and you negotiate the price down,A: For years, sellers have been entering intocontractual relationships to “list” their aren’t you also lowering theproperties with real estate brokers. They are called amount of commission you willlisting agreements. You establish a contractual make? Isn’t that a conflict ofrelationship with us by signing a buyer agency agree- interest?ment, just as a listing agreement makes the listingagent legally accountable to you and not to anyseller. The buyer agency agreement is also a written A: The difference is minimal. If we save youcommitment to you of services that we will provide. $5,000 on the purchase price of your home, we would only earn approximately $150 less in commission. Your goodwill and word-of-mouthQ: Do “listing agents” prevent advertising will be much more rewarding. We also“buyers agents” from having full have a legal obligation to represent your bestaccess to all the available proper- interest.ties through the Multiple ListingService? Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com 17
    • Frequently Asked QuestionsQ: I’m moving to another city. Can you A: The advantages are the same as those for purchasing afind me a buyer agent at my resale home. Your agent:destination? • Serves as your personal real estate consultant. • Guides you through the process with professionalA: Yes. As soon as you find out that you are moving, call representation.us and we will provide you with the name and phone number • Provides you with valuable insight into the market.of an outstanding agent nearest your destination. We will • Helps you find the perfect home quickly.screen agents for you absolutely free! • Offers you expertise in contract writing, negotiation, and closing assistance.Q: If someone from your team is my • Gives you advice regarding all builder’s products.buyer agent, how is he/she paid for • Finds the best match for your specific needs.their services? The builder has a professional real estate representative watching out for his interests, and you need and deserveA: There are several ways that we can earn our fee. It is the same expert representation watching out for yours. Italways your choice. The typical fee paid to us at closing is is extremely important that your interests be professionallypaid by the seller and is usually divided between the listing represented when you enter into a contract for abroker (the company who has the home listed for sale) and semi-custom or a build-to-suit home. These transactionsour broker. Unless there are some unusual circumstances, are very complex. The contract details must be exactly inour portion of the commission comes from the seller’s order to protect you and to ensure that you get precisely theproceeds of the transaction. home you want.Q: If I sign an Agency Agreement with Q: Do I save money if I buy directlyThe Mega Agent Real Estate Team at from the builder?RE/MAX Advantage, does it really mat-ter? Does it really make a difference? A: There is absolutely no financial advantage for you to buy directly from the builder. You do NOT save any money! Builders have a “single price” policy, meaning that you areA: Absolutely! Yes! Let’s put it this way: If you had to go charged the same price whether your interests are repre-to court, would you use the other person’s attorney? The sented by a buyer specialist or not. Just as in any resale, thesecond you enter into a contract with an agent, he/she has seller pays your agent’s fee. It pays for you to haveresponsibility and accountability duties. Real estate agents someone looking out for your personal interests. Remember,who act as seller agents must negotiate in the best interest of the builder requires that your buyer agent accompany youtheir clients (the sellers) and may not withhold information on your first visit to the builder’s sales center. Always callfrom them and must present their properties only in a our office and request that your buyer agent show you allfavorable manner. Buyer agents negotiate in the best inter- builder products that interest you. If you do go to a builderests of the buyer, do not disclose confidential information model/sales center without your buyer agent, please give theabout the buyer, and reveal all facts that affect the value of builder’s representative our business card and always tellproperties to the buyer. the builder that you are working with The Mega Agent Real Estate Team. Then, be sure to let your buyer agent knowQ: Why should I use an agent to buy a so that he/she can assist you regarding the builder and theirbuilder’s new-construction home? product.18 Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com
    • Glossary of TermsAbstract of Title: The summary of the public records relating to the ownership of a particular piece ofland. It represents a short legal history of an individual piece of property from the time of the first recordtransfer to present.Acceptance: Consent to an offer to enter into contract.Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM): A mortgage in which interest and payment rate vary periodically, basedon a specific index, such as 30-year Treasury Bills or the Cost-of-Funds index.Adjustments: Money credited or debited to either/or both buyer and seller at closing, including real estatetaxes, association fees, garbage fees, rents, etc.Agency: A mutual-consent, legal relationship in which a seller or buyer engages a broker-agent in the saleor purchase of property.Agent/REALTOR: A licensed person who represents the seller (and/or buyer) and who provides marketassessment, offers sales or buying strategy, recommends various services and sources important to theseller or buyer, is a member of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), and subscribes to NAR’sstrict Code of Ethics.Amortization: A method by which monthly mortgage payments are equalized over the life of a loan,despite the fact that the proportion of principal to interest changes.Annual Percentage Rate (APR): The total finance charge (interest, loan fees, points) expressed as apercentage of the mortgage amount.Appraisal: A professional and unbiased written opinion of a property’s value that is based on recent, com-parable sales; quality of construction and current condition; and style of architecture.Appreciation: Increase in value to any cause.Asking Price: The price at which a property has been placed on the market for sale.Assessed Value: The established value of a property for tax-assessment purposes, which may or may notreflect market value.Assumption of Mortgage: The taking of title to property by a grantee, wherein he or she assumes liabilityfor payment of an existing note secured by a mortgage or deed of trust against the property, becoming aco-guarantor for the payment of a mortgage or deed for trust note.Balloon Mortgage: A short-term mortgage, generally at a fixed rate of interest, to be paid back inpredetermined, equal monthly payments with a large final payment for the balance of the loan to bepaid at the end of the term.Broker: A person licensed to represent home buyers or sellers for a contracted fee. Brokers manage realestate offices and employ licensed agents to sell properties. Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com 19
    • Glossary of Terms Bridge Loan: A short-term mortgage made until a longer-term loan can be made; it’s sometimes used when a person needs money to build or purchase a home before the present one has been sold. Building Codes: State and local laws that regulate the construction of new property and the rehabilitation of existing property. Cap: A limit on the total amount an interest rate can be increased in a specified time and over the lifetime of an adjustable-rate mortgage. Capital Gains: The taxable profit derived from the sale of a capital asset. A gain is the difference between the sale price and the basis of the property, after making appropriate adjustments for closing costs, fix-up expenses, capital improvements, allowable depreciation, etc. Closing: The final settlement at which time the title is transferred from seller to buyer, accounts are settled, new mortgages are signed, and all fees and expenses are dispersed or satisfied. Closing Costs: All fees, taxes, charges, commissions, surveys, lender fees, inspection fees, and other costs paid by the buyer and/or seller at the closing. Commission: A previously agreed upon percentage of the home’s sale price paid to the listing and selling agent(s). Comparables: Similar properties in type, size, price, and amenities that have sold recently, been adjusted, and are used for comparison in the appraisal report. Condominium (Condo): Real estate ownership in which a property owner has title to a specific unit but shared interest in common areas. Contingency: A condition that must be satisfied before a contract is binding. Contract: An agreement to do or not to do a certain thing. Contract for Deed: A contract ordinarily used in connection with the sale of a property in cases where the seller does not wish to convey title until all or a certain part of the purchase is paid by the buyer. Contract of Title: A summary or digest of the conveyances, transfers, and any other facts relied on as evidence of title together with any other elements or records that may affect the marketability of the title. Conventional Mortgage: Most popular home financing form not insured by Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or guaranteed by Veteran’s Affairs (VA). Available from many lenders at varying rates, terms, and conditions. Conversion Clause: Clause in an ARM permitting conversion from an adjustable loan to a fixed-rate loan. Counteroffer: An offer made by a buyer or seller to the other party, responding to the asking price or a subsequent adjustment to that price to complete a purchase of sale.20 Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com
    • Glossary of TermsCRV: Certificate of Reasonable Value. A document of appraisal issued by VA establishing their opinion ofthe maximum value.Curb Appeal: A term used by REALTORS that encompasses all that a buyer sees from the street thatmay induce the buyer to look more closely at the property .Deed: A legal “instrument” that conveys the title to a property from seller to buyer.Disclosure Laws: State and federal regulations that require sellers to disclose such conditions as whether ahouse is located in a flood plain or if there are any known defects that would affect the value of the prop-erty.Discount Points: Additional charges made by a lender at the time a loan is made. Points are measured as apercent of the loan, with each point equal to one percent. These additional interest charges are paid at thetime a loan closed to increase the rate of return to the lender so as to approximate the market level.Down Payment: The buyer and lender determine the down payment requirements during thepre-qualification process. The down payment is usually expressed as a percentage of the purchase price:e.g., 0%, 5%, 10%, 20%, 25%, 30%.Earnest Money (Escrow Deposit): Money paid by the buyer at the time an official offer to purchase issubmitted to the seller, intended to demonstrate the good faith of the buyer to complete the purchase.Earnest money is applied against the purchase price when the sale is finalized. Under certain conditions,the earnest money may be forfeited if the buyer fails to complete the purchase under the terms of the salescontract.Easement: A right to use the land of another.Encroachment: A condition that limits the interest in a title to property such as a mortgage, deed restric-tions, easements, unpaid taxes, etc.Equity: The difference between the sale price of a property and the mortgage balance owed on theproperty.Escrow Account: A third-party account used to retain funds, including the property owner’s real estatetaxes, the buyer’s earnest money, or hazard insurance premiums.Exchange: The trading of equity in a piece of property for equity in another property.Fair Market Account: The highest price an informed buyer will pay, assuming there is no unusual pressureto complete the purchase.Fannie Mae: The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) is a privately owned corporationcreated by Congress to buy mortgage notes from local lenders and provide guidelines for most lenders touse to qualify borrowers. Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com 21
    • Glossary of Terms Fee Appraisal: The act or process of estimating values of real estate or any interest therein for a fee. FHA-Insured Mortgage: A loan made by a local lending institution and insured by the Federal Housing Administration, whereas the buyer pays the premium. Firm Commitment: A lender’s agreement to make a loan to a specific borrower on a specific property. An FHA or Private Mortgage Insure (PMI) agreement to insure a loan on a specific property, with a designated purchaser. Fixed-Rate Mortgage: A mortgage with a set interest rate for the entire term of the mortgage. FHMA Loan: A loan insured by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), a federally controlled and operated corporation to support the secondary-mortgage market. Foreclosure: A legal procedure whereby mortgaged property is seized and sold as payment for a debt in the event of default. Freddie Mac: The nickname for Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), Freddie Mac is a federally-controlled and operated corporation to support the secondary-mortgage market. It purchases and sells residential conventional home mortgages. Graduated-Payment Mortgage: This mortgage offers low initial monthly payments that increase at a predetermined rate and then cap at a final level for the duration of the mortgage. Home Inspection: A formal survey of a home’s structure, mechanical systems, and overall condition, generally performed by an inspector or contractor. Home Warranty: A policy available to the buyer or seller as insurance against unanticipated home repair costs. Homeowner’s Policy: A hazard insurance policy covering, at the very least, the appraised value of a house and property. Inspection Contingency: A written stipulation contained in an “offer to buy” that makes the sales contract predicated upon the finding of a professional home inspector. Installment Debts: Long-term debts that usually extend for more than one month. Interest: The predetermined charge or fee paid to a lender by the borrower for the use of monies loaned. Investor: The holder of a mortgage or the permanent lender. Any person or institution that invests in mortgages. Joint Tenancy: Joint ownership by two or more persons with right of survivorship; all joint tenants own equal interests and have equal rights to the property.22 Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com
    • Glossary of TermsLand Contract: A contract ordinarily used in connection with the sale of property in cases where the sellerdoes not wish to convey title until all or a certain part of the purchase price is paid by the buyer.Lease Purchase Agreement: The buyer makes a deposit for the future purchase of property with the rightto lease the property in the interim.Lien: A legal claim against a property that must be paid when the property is sold.Listing: A contract through which a seller agrees to terms and fees with an agent who will sell the propertyto a buyer.Loan Commitment: A written promise by a lender to make a loan under certain terms and conditions.These include interest rate, length of loan, lender fees, annual percentage rate, mortgage and hazardinsurance, and other special requirements.Loan-to-Value Ratio: The relationship between the amount of a home mortgage and the total value of theproperty.Lock-In Rate: A commitment made by lenders on a mortgage loan to “lock in” an interest rate pendingmortgage approval. Lock-in periods will vary.Market Price: The actual price at which a property is sold.Market Value: The price that is established for a property by existing economic conditions, propertylocation, size, etc.Marketable Title: Merchantable title, free and clear of objectionable liens or encumbrances.Mold: Mold is a superficial and often woolly growth produced on damp or decaying organic matter or onliving organisms. See www.epa.gov/iag/molds/moldguide.html for a guide that provides information andguidance for homeowners and renters on how to clean up residential mold problems.Mortgage: A legal claim received by the lender on a property as security for the loan made to a buyer.Mortgage Broker: An independent, third-party, licensed broker who arranges loan transactions betweenlenders and borrowers by facilitating the application and approval process.Mortgage Insurance Program (PMI): The consideration paid by a mortgagor for mortgage insuranceeither to the FHA or a PMI company. On an FHA loan, the payment is one-half of one percent annuallyon the declined balance of the mortgage. It is a part of the regular monthly payment and is used by theFHA to meet operating expenses and provide loss reserves.Mortgagor: The borrower of money or the giver of the mortgage document. Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com 23
    • Glossary of Terms Multiple Listing Service (MLS): A system through which participating brokers agree to share commissions on a predetermined percentage split on the sale of properties listed on the system. Origination Fee: This fee is a supplemental fee paid buy buyers to lenders, usually stated as a percentage or as points. Personal Property: Any property which is not real property: e.g., money, savings accounts, appliances, cars, boats, etc. PITI: Common real estate acronym meaning “Principle, Interest, Taxes, Insurance.” Point: A single percent of the loan principal, often charged by the lender in addition to various fees and interest. Prepayment: When a borrower pays off an entire mortgage before the scheduled payoff date. Prepayment Penalty: A fee included in the mortgage agreement that is required of the borrower in the event the loan is paid off before the due date. Look for a clause that says, “There shall be no prepayment penalty.” Prequalification: An informal estimate of the “financing potential” of a prospective borrower. Principal: The amount of money borrowed against which interest and possibly fees will be charged. OR: One of the parties to a contract. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): Insurance issued to a lender by a private company to protect the lender against loss on a defaulted mortgage loan. Its use is usually limited to loans with high loan-to-value ratios. The borrower pays the premiums. Promissory Note: A written contract that contains a promise to pay a definite amount of money at a specific time in the future. Pro-ration: Proportionate division of expenses based on days or time occupied or used by the seller and/or buyer. Purchase Agreement: A written, legally binding contractual agreement between a buyer and a seller for the purchase of real estate. Qualification: Ability of a borrower to satisfy a lender’s mortgage-approval requirement. Radon: A colorless, odorless gas formed by the breakdown of uranium in sub-soils. It can enter a house through cracks in the foundation and is considered to be a hazard. Real Property: Any land and whatever by nature or artificial annexation is a part of it.24 Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com
    • Glossary of TermsReferral: The recommendation by one agent of a potential buyer and/or seller to another agent eitherlocally or long distance.Refinancing: The process of applying for a new mortgage to gain terms or use of equity.RESPA Statement: The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act requires a precise listing of all closingcosts for both sellers and buyers.Return on Investment (ROI): The profit gained as the result of money spent on an improvement oraddition to a home or property.Settlement Disclosure Statement: A statement for list providing a complete breakdown of costs involvedin finalizing a real estate transaction prepared by the lender’s agent prior to closing and reviewed at closingby the buyer and seller.Short Sale: Occurs when a negotiation is entered into with the homeowner’s mortgage company to acceptless than the full balance of the loan at closing. A homeowner is “short” when the amount owed on his/herproperty is higher than the current market value.Survey: The process by which a parcel of land is measured and its area ascertained. Title companies studythe survey to check for encroachments.Title: A legal document that defines the property, right of ownership, and possession.Title Defect: An outstanding claim or encumbrance on property that affect marketability.Title Insurance: An insurance policy that protects the buyer against errors, omissions, or any defects inthe title.Title Search: A highly detailed search of the document history of a property title for the purpose ofidentifying any and all legal encumbrances to the property prior to title transfer to a new owner.VA Mortgage: The Department of Veterans Affairs has made guaranteed mortgages available throughbanks and other lending institutions to active military personnel, veterans, or spouses of veterans who diedof service-related injuries.Variance: A special suspension of zoning laws to allow the use of property in a manner not in accord withexisting laws.Walk-Through Inspection: The final inspection by the buyers, usually in the company of the buyers’ realestate sales agent, to ensure that all conditions noted in the offer to purchase and all seller-relatedcontingencies have been met. This inspection is often completed immediately prior to the closing and afterthe seller has vacated the premises.Zoning: Virtually all local communities have established specific restrictions for land use, newconstruction, and remodeling activity. These are available to you through a local regulatory departmentsuch as the Building Inspector’s Department or the Planning and Zoning Board. Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com 25
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    • Helpful Phone NumbersPest Control POST OFFICESKnox Pest Control (205) 365-0901 Toll-Free USPS (800) 275-8777Cahaba Valley Pest Control (205) 699-2307 Alabaster (205) 833-4333 Birmingham (Main) (205) 521-7950LIBRARIES Cahaba Heights (205) 969-3072Alabaster (205) 664-6822 Chelsea (205) 678-2915Birmingham (205) 226-3610 Homewood (205) 871-0641Calera (205) 668-3514 Hoover (205) 982-1734Chelsea (205) 678-8455 Meadowbrook (205) 437-0910Columbiana (205) 669-5812 Mountain Brook (205) 803-5041Helena (205) 664-8308 Trussville (205) 661-0373Homewood (205) 332-6600 Vestavia (205) 979-2195Hoover (205) 444-7800Mountain Brook (205) 445-1101 NEWSPAPERS North Shelby (205) 439-5500 Birmingham Business Journal (205) 322-0000Pelham (205) 620-6418 Birmingham News (205) 325-2222Trussville (205) 655-2022 Over The Mountain Journal (205) 823-9646Vestavia Hills (205) 978-0155 Shelby County Reporter (205) 669-3131Wilsonville (205) 978-0155 BOARDS OF EDUCATIONCAR TAGS & DRIVER LICENSE Birmingham (205) 231-4600Jefferson County Driver Licenses (205) 325-5171 Homewood (205) 870-4203Jefferson County Car Tags (205) 252-7445 Hoover (205) 439-1000Shelby County Driver Licenses (205) 620-6600 Jefferson County (205) 379-2000Shelby County Car Tags (205) 620-6606 Mountain Brook (205) 871-4608 Shelby County (205) 682-7000HOME / Security Trussville (205) 228-3000ADT (888) 242-0739 Vestavia Hills (205) 402-5100Broadview Security (888) 395-8584 30 Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com
    • Many agents think their most important job is satisfyingthe customer. I don’t think that’s true. I believe thatsatisfying the customer is simply the minimum requirementfor staying in business. We work constantly to improve oursystems, processes, and services to go well beyond thestandard level of “service” provided by most agents.Simply put, our objectives are to get you the best value,in the least time, and with the fewest hassles. We want toprovide the absolute best service in the industry. Period.We want to make sure that you are so satisfied that you boughtyour home with our team, that you will refer us to all of yourfriends and family. Mark Carlisle Co-Founder The Mega Agent Real Estate Team RE/MAX Advantage Mega Agent Real Estate Team • (205) 908-8698 • www.MegaAgents.com 31