Home Buying Tips and Tools

Property Search Tool

Cathy Smith Realtor since 2000


Mortgage Calculator – Monthly Payment

Principle Total = Monthly Payment 

Principle (mo/pmnt) + Interest + Taxes + Insurance = (PITI) Monthly Housing Expense 

So, You Want to Find the Value of a Property? Plug The Address in this Property Value Tool for an Estimated Value.

Knowledge is Power!

One of the most important tools you can have as a home buyer or someone looking to purchase a property for sale is knowledge. As they say, ‘Knowledge is Power’! In this case, equipping yourself with knowledge and relying upon an experienced and a knowledgeable real estate agent, knowledge can help you to buy the right home, at the right price, in the right place, to get more money, better financing terms and most of all it will bring you peace of mind. Knowledge is at your finger tips on this website from the tools and articles as well as in what I offer to you in guidance, research and referrals.

On our real estate website, Idealproperties.net,  you will find numerous property search and research tools as well as articles that will enlighten you in your house hunt and throughout the home buying process. Even more, the personalized services and insights that I offer you from my decades of being a licensed real estate agent, your own search website to manage listings, a Comparable Market Analysis, CMA, that indicates the home’s value, and the property research and details will give you all of knowledge that you will need in order to make an informed purchase decision, will aid us in negotiations and help you move smoothly through the closing and into your home with ease. 

Idealproperties.net has a Property Search and Mapping Tool that will help you to find desirable home listings and even set up your own searches that will email you alerts of properties that match your criteria. Then you can use the Property Value Tool and the Mortgage Calculator to be sure each home continues to be in your top picks. These tools will help you in your home buying search and are free for you to use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I would like to be your free personal real estate assistant who will serve your home buying needs. Please feel free to contact me directly, so we can meet and get you started. Please, ask me about the services and research I can share with you.

The Services and Research I Offer My Buyers:

  • Purchase Process Progress Report Check List, My Professional and Knowledgeable Guidance, Tools, Research and Articles for each Step of Home Buying.
  • Your Own Property Search Website
  • A Comparable Market Analysis, CMA, Home Value
  • Detailed Property Research and Reports
  • Referrals and References to Real Estate Service Providers and Professionals
  • Help with Everything that You Need in Your Real Estate Transaction 

I will provide you with a free personalized Property Search Website that will allow you to manage the listings that match your home search criteria and you will get emails right when these listings hit the market or make a change. I will also create a detailed Comparable Market Analysis, CMA, of similar homes that have recently sold that will identify the home’s approximate value. I will provide you with detailed research and reports to aid in your purchase decisions and in negotiations. I will offer you numerous resources and referrals to area professionals that will help buying your new home be easy and enjoyable.

The Purchase Process Progress Report Check List that I have prepared for you is chock full of knowledge that explains each step of the home buying process.  It is laid out to give you a timeline of what takes place when, what needs to be considered and who is in charge of placing orders or hiring home service professionals along the way. Being equipped with these very specific insights will help you move through the purchase process with ease as well as to bring you the greatest rewards along the way and well into your future in your new home. This home buyer’s check list may seem extensive and overwhelming but as your Realtor® I am knowledgeable and experienced and will gladly help you walk through each step of the process. Please contact me anytime to get my help or if you have any questions. This printable PDF is chock full of every issue that you may have a question about, need to do or to make a decision about that pertains to buying a home or the Purchase Process Progress Report – Check List.

The purchase process can take weeks or months to find your Ideal Property. Once you have an accepted offer on your ideal property it usually takes about 30 to 60 days to complete the terms of the sale, to do the financing, the title work up, and to close on your loan and/or your home and I would be delighted to empower you and work with you every step of the way.

Real Estate Information


Buyer Tips and Tool

Home Search Map Homes for Sale

Purchase Process Progress Report – Check List

Property and Community Links and Information

Informative Links

Demographics – data.census.gov

Investigate: Population, Economic, Education, Business, Emergency Preparedness, Employment, Families & Living Arrangements, Health, Housing, Income & Poverty, International Trade and the Public Sector

Detailed City/Community Information

City and Government websites

Market Conditions, Assessments, Restrictions, Zoning, Environmental hazards

Crime Rate and Sex Offender Registry 

Local police department or the county sheriff

School Ratings

Rankings and test grades of schools in each community.


Easy access to town, to activities, schools, shopping, entertainment, restaurants, parks . . . and expressways.

Community Websites, Details and Property Searches

Lucas County

Lucas County Website

Lucas County Demographics

Lucas County Auditor

Lucas County Land Bank

Wood County

Wood County Website

Wood County Demographics

Wood County Auditor

Fulton County

Fulton County Website

Fulton County Demographics

Fulton County Auditor

City of Toledo

City of Toledo Website

Department of Public Utilities

Toledo Chamber of Commerce

Toledo Community Foundation

Old West End

Downtown Toledo

Toledo Public Schools

Washington Local Schools

“Toledo Rocks!” Marketing Brochure

Toledo Search

Toledo Real Estate Search – Find Your Ideal Property Home For Sale Toledo, Ohio


Cathy Smith IDP Key Realtor since 2000

Home Buying and Home Buyer Articles and Links

Home Buyer Information

Buyer Tips and Tools

Search Listings

Purchase Process Progress Report – Check List

Veterans Guide to Home Ownership

Home Buying Guide – Buying a Home Spring 2019

Key Real Estate Terms

10 tips to find the home of your dreams

How to buy a house stress-free​

Mortgage and Finance

Get your free credit score from All 3 credit bureaus!






Find Government and Bank Owned Properties – Remember these may be priced lower but they take longer and could take a lot of money to bring them up to parr. Often buyers who start to buy foreclosures that sat vacant and are in bad condition decide to buy owner occupied and not pay out for repairs.

Freddie Mac-owned properties – http://www.homesteps.com/

Fannie Mae-owned properties – http://www.homepath.com/

Government-owned properties – http://www.hudhomestore.com/ and http://www.treasury.gov/auctions/

Bank owned properties REOs
Home-ownership products

Buyers can add one or more of the following options to an OHFA, FHA, VA, USDA-RD or conventional mortgage loan:

Who’s the Best Mortgage Lender for You? How to Find Your Match

5 Reasons to Talk to a Lender Right Now — Long Before You Buy a Home

Who pays real estate agent commission fees

Should you get pre-approved for a mortgage before looking?

Understand the real estate market

How much does it cost to buy a house?

Interest rates impact on home ownership

How to determine how much home you can afford

Can You Buy A House When You Have Debt?

6 Ways Home Buyers Mess Up Getting a Mortgage

A Guide to Mortgage Interest Rates: Why They Go Down and Up, and What to Do

Interest rates impact on home ownership

How to Buy a bigger home

9 Hidden Home Maintenance Costs That Can Blindside First-Time Buyers

Renovations that can improve the value of your home

Home Appraisals Insights

How to Lower Closing Costs: A Guide for Home Buyers


5 big considerations when negotiating a house price

8 critical factors that influence a home’s value

9 Hidden Home Maintenance Costs That Can Blindside First-Time Buyers

Add value to your home with simple updates

Your Home – Your Community

How to make the most out of home tours

What to look for when buying a house

Condo Vs. House: How to Choose the Right Home for You

Home Buying Steps

Home Appraisals Insights

Home inspection checklist for buyers

What is homeowners insurance and do I need it?

What Is a Property Title Search? Why It Matters for Buyers and Sellers

Sources and reference links used in the infographic:


Feel Free To Give Me A Call If You Would Like Me To Research Your Ideal Property and I will Provide You With A Property Value and Details To Help You To Make An Informed Purchase Decision. My Services are completely paid for by the seller when you close on your dream home!

Home Buyers Guide

Thank you for visiting my real estate web site! I love real estate, marketing and people and am overjoyed that my career allows me to enjoy them all! I strive to provide the highest quality service to all of my clients and to utilize my years of experience, my vast resources, and the latest research and technology to make each real estate transaction easy, enjoyable and geared to meet your needs. I have an extensive amount of experience, professional referral sources and resources to share with you that will ensure that your real estate transaction is pleasing and profitable. I live by the philosophy of serving others, embracing life and learning, and expressing gratitude. I am honored to work with my customers in helping them meet their real estate needs and enjoy getting to know them and building life-long friendships in the process.


My name is Cathy Smith with Key Realty and I have been Licensed as a Realtor® since 2000 in NW Ohio, Toledo and surrounding areas. I was trained and licensed as a Financial Loan Officer and Credit Consultant in my first 6 years of my real estate business which has given me insights into understanding loan approval, loan processing, title, appraisals and other services that will help me serve my buyers and in pricing, negotiations and the sales process for my sellers. I spent over a decade working in the building industry doing marketing for Contractors, Builders and Developers and managing the creative teams, photographers, graphic designers . . . and writers in designing multi-media marketing campaigns. I’ve provided services to firms and individuals in our community for over two dozen years and have learned quite a few tricks through trainings, and trial and error from which you will reap the benefits. I keep up to date on current market conditions, and issues that may affect your real estate needs and new technology that will aid my service to my home buyers and sellers.


Real Estate and Home Building has been ingrained in me from my youth, my Father was a Builder and Developer, and I have bought, sold, renovated, rented, managed and marketed several investment properties for over thirty years as well as my client and investor listings. I managed a Building Industry News Paper and have provided Organizations, Builders and Developers with Multi-Media Marketing Campaigns, doing promotions for the Home Builders Association of Greater Toledo and for PRO, Professional Remodelers Association, Toledo Home Remodelers Association and for their members. I have tailored my skills, services and resources so that I may best meet your every need and any challenge that may arise. I look forward to helping you with your real estate transaction and I pledge to go above and beyond in order to exceed your needs and your expectations!


I like to consider myself a lifelong learner. I seek out new learning experiences and enjoy the classes, networking and brainstorming sessions that are offered by the real estate company that I work for, Key Realty, and in the real estate, marketing and business industries. Key Realty makes your business and my business, their business and offers new training, tools and techniques quite regularly. Our owner and president trained me in real estate almost 20 years ago when I first started in the business with Cavalier Real Estate Company and still works hard to offer us the best training and technology. It is important to me that I not just stay abreast of new ways to run my business better for both my buyers and sellers but I try to  learn the ins and the outs of it so that I am able to employ every aspect of the systems, tools, software, and strategies in order to serve you better.


I create websites for my buyers to manage their searches which sends them alerts when a property meets their criteria and utilize a prospecting marketing tool for sellers and my listings that reaches home buyers email personal emails. Please feel free to contact me to get a customized real estate search web site for you to find homes for sale and manage the listings or to get a home value, Comparable Analysis, CMA of your home or a home for sale that you are interested in. We offer auto-emails to our home buyers as well as to buyers with searches on the Internet that will get your home for sale listing to them, sometimes before others can view it.


The marketing skills, services and strategies that I put into place for my home seller’s real estate listings get them maximum exposure and appeal and utilize buyer prospecting software for my sellers and my listings that ensures that your potential buyer will receive your listing information. I have 2 personal websites where I can feature your listing with details, key words, photos, videos and links, it gets placed in the Multiple Listing Service, the MLS reaching over 1,500 agents and their buyers, and gets fed to hundreds of other websites, real estate portals and is designed with search engine optimization so that any person in the market to buy a property is able to find it.


Having knowledge about real estate, finance, construction, building, home staging, home appraisals, the internet and marketing allows me to give you valuable insights and service. This training and these tools help to get the job done right for you along with having numerous other creative marketing strategies that can be put into place to stir up excitement about your property.


Finance and Loan Details

When selling a home your home should be listed with the amount that a lender will loan a buyer to purchase it in mind. When buying a home for sale your first step is to find a reputable lender or credit union to learn what you can afford and if they have the products and programs that will meet your home buying needs. A good rule of thumb is for the monthly loan payment for principle and interest, taxes, home and mortgage insurance to be at less than 28% of your gross income. This site offers quick tools to calculate your mortgage payment and to see the Value of the Home for sale.

Selling Your Home – Home for Sale

My Fiduciary Duty and Binding Pledge is to Serve You, To Meet Your Needs, and Your Expectations, To Offer Prompt, Accurate and Detailed Communications and Services and Do Everything in a Strategic and Timely Manner to Get Your Home Sold for a High Dollar Amount! I will work as your personal assistant in preparing your home for sale, providing research to help you to list and sell it, create multimedia marketing and a custom website for it directed towards buyers who are seeking a home like yours, and aid you in the negotiations, to the closing and beyond. We use systems and strategies to keep us on track. 

Marketing Home for Sale

We place your home listing in the MLS, on our site and set up a feed getting this information to hundreds of key real estate web sites and portals. Your custom listing web page is designed to appeal to your home’s target market and to come up in the top organic searches on Internet search engines. We utilize prospecting software that blasts emails to the inboxes of buyers with searches for a home like yours. Most buyers are searching for homes for sale on the internet or working with agents who do. Let us reach your buyer for you with our tried and true systems, software and strategic marketing.

Tools and Technology

We make it our business to stay abreast of cutting-edge tools, technology, market conditions and issues that can aid you in selling or buying a home for sale. We set up a customized real estate web site for buyers to find homes for sale and manage their listings and for our home listings. We offer auto-emails to our home buyers as well as to buyers with searches on the Internet that will get your home for sale listing to them, sometimes before others can view it. We have an encrypted site that allows us to digitally create, view, sign and share every document needed throughout the home buying or home selling transaction. We have a showing system and lock boxes that log all of the details on a secure website for your protection.

Custom Website & Video

Your custom listing web page is designed to appeal to your home’s target audience, buyers who are looking for a home like yours. We design it with search engine optimization, SEO, so that it will come up in the top organic search results on Internet search engines for buyers who are looking anywhere on the world wide web to buy a home like yours. My Home Listings are featured on their own Web Page with Links to Photos, to a Video of the Home, Property Details, Area and School Info, Maps and more. Ads, Blogs and Videos for my site and my Home Listings may be found in Search Engines, Directories and many other Real Estate Search Sites, Real Estate Web Sites and Real Estate Portals and numerous sites that these sites feed this information to. 

Help, Services & Support

We are here to serve you! We have a vast amount of experience and have services and service providers that we would love to share with you. Let us know if you want to set up a tour of a home for sale, get a comparable market analysis, CMA, report, or other information and research on your home for sale or a home you are looking to buy. We can help to connect you with real estate professionals who can help you in any stage of the home buying or home selling process, lenders, title companies, appraisers, home inspectors, lawyers and others. Are you seeking new construction for your next home? Are you looking to build your own home or fix up your home for sale? We can recommend builders, contractors, staging and cleaning services. 

Home Buyer Tips and Tools

The Home Buying Process Demystified by Homes.com
The home buying process is wrought with potential pitfalls and challenges, but when done right can be relatively painless. As champions of homebuying, we’ve created this step-by-step guide to help you through the process.

Below you’ll find an overview of the home buying timeline as well as the major components of the home buying process with links to the various steps, tools, and information to educate and empower your home search, discovery and purchase.

How Long Does it Take to Buy a Home?

Your timeline may vary, but the following is a good guideline

Preparing to Buy a Home: 3-4 weeks
Initial Search for Ideas: 1-4 weeks
Building a Team: 1 week (overlap initial search)
Pre-Approval of Mortgage: 12-48 hours
The Home Search: 4-8 weeks (depending on criteria)
Contract-to-Close: 14-60 days
So, on average a home buyer will spend 30-60 days shopping and 14-60 days from contract to close. For some folks, the process can be extremely quick taking as little as 30 days total, while for others, the shopping period alone can last several months.

How Much Home Can I Afford?
The first step in the home buying process is understanding if you have the resources to buy a home. This includes knowing how much home you can afford, what type of down payment and monthly mortgage payment to budget for, as well as what type of loan program you’ll use to finance your new property.

Buying a home is a complicated process that requires a good deal of research. In the course of it, there will be a number of professionals and specialists involved. Once you’ve done your homework and assessed your resources, you’ll need to assemble your team.

Learn More About Preparing to Buy a Home >

Assembling Your Team
After you have a good understanding of your own wants, needs, and goals, it’s time to assemble your team and begin the home search! Who should be on your team? Who you’ll need to find on your own may vary, but the key team members could be: Real estate agent (could be a RealtorTM but not all agents are), home appraiser, title company, home inspector, insurance agent and mortgage lender.

When selecting the members of this team, take the same amount of care you would in choosing a home, because these people will be working for you to help you do just that. Trust & communication are key considerations in working with your team.

Learn More About Assembling Your Team >

Sorting Out Your Finances
With the selection of a mortgage lender comes the application for mortgage pre-approval, a task that requires collecting the necessary financial paperwork to help obtain the approval. Once obtained the clock begins ticking because many pre-approval offers have a limited life-span before they expire.

Learn More About Mortgages & Pre-Approval >

Your Home Search
While you juggle the paperwork and timelines implicit to the process, remember that your team works for you. Now your search for (and discovering) your new home begins. Research, save, view and repeat. Remember Homes.com has all the tools you need to find and keep track of your favorite properties and home shortlist.

Learn More About the Home Search Tools & Process >

The Offer
You’ve got a mortgage pre-approval in hand and have found a property you can afford to purchase and see yourself living in. Time for a purchase offer to a listing agent or seller!

Once you receive an acceptance offer, the due-diligence period starts a timeline of checks and tasks for final mortgage approvals, appraisals, inspections, and other requirements that would be stated in the terms of the contract.

Learn More About the Offer, Negotiation & The Close!

Assessment, Conditions & Negotiation
Many consider this to be the most difficult part of the home buying process as it includes, but isn’t limited to, inspection, obtaining the final loan, purchasing insurance, and the potentially arduous negotiation. In this part of the process, every member of your team will be utilized, and the more homework you have done in building your team, the smoother this part will go. Those who haven’t conducted their proper due diligence could potentially see the purchase fall apart at this point.

Closing the Deal!
A successful closing requires all of the team players to come together at the same time, with the same agenda, on the same date, with numbers and figures that match. From the start of the home search to the home inspection and closing the deal, the entire home buying process can take most homeowners about three months.

Read: 5 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Considerations When Buying a Home
Home ownership is not for everyone. Some prefer the flexibility of being able to move to a new city or country every few years. Others are more focused on big projects in their career or education to devote the proper time to buying a home. Some simply don’t have the resources. Whatever your situation, it’s important to know the right reasons to purchase a home.

Emotional Readiness

Owning a home is a big responsibility. There are both financial and time costs associated with the ownership and the upkeep of a house. If putting in the time and money is something that you can make central to your life, then you might be ready. There can also be outside, societal pressure to buy a home, as many see home ownership as a universal stepping stone. Make sure you are buying a home for you, and that homeownership will fit your life and life goals.

Financial Readiness

Financial readiness isn’t just whether you have enough for a down payment or not. Just because you may qualify for a mortgage, it doesn’t mean you shouldborrow money for one. Before you begin looking to pre-qualify, make a budget for yourself. Calculate the true costs of homeownership. Look where you stand with debt-to-income ratio.

Perhaps you need to pay down some credit card debt before considering applying for a mortgage, maybe you’re expecting a child, or looking to go back to school; all of these can be valid reasons to wait to purchase a home.

Read: How Much Home Can I Afford to Buy?

Security and Stability

If your debt is low, work life is stable, and you plan on staying in the same location for the next five years, you should be looking to purchase a home. At a certain point, the monthly rent check is money that could be better spent on building equity. If the money you spend on rent seems like it’s getting thrown away, deep down, you may be thinking of buying a home. If you already own a home, but that new promotion has started to make you feel like home maintenance is a waste, you also may be ready.

Read: 5 More Considerations When Buying a Home

Should I Buy or Rent a Home?
The decision to purchase a home is one of the biggest choices in anyone’s life. For most, a home will be the most expensive thing they ever own. In the past, home ownership was seen as a natural progression in the course of someone’s life. But today, many people happily rent for years on end, and never find an appropriate time to make the jump to homeownership. So how do you know if you are ready to make that leap?

Read: The Pros and Cons of Renting vs. Buying

Setting Your Priorities
Although there may be a perfect home waiting for you in your desired area, the unfortunate reality is that many home buyers have to make compromises during their home search process. To be prepared, understand that there may not be the perfect house in the perfect location at the perfect price and in the perfect condition you require. Although this doesn’t mean that you won’t find a house you can afford in your perfect location, be prepared to be flexible on:

Price of the home + extras
Location of the home
Condition of the home
If you know what your priorities are, then finding your ideal place to call home is both possible and realistic!

Location. Location. Location.
If location is your #1 priority, yet buying in that location will price you out of several of your other priorities, then you might have to compromise in several ways:

Look for a different home type within the community, such as a smaller single-family home, a townhouse or condominium. Decide if you can live with one less bedroom or other features on your list.

Consult with a lender or a financial planner to discuss your options for increasing your budget. While no one should overspend on a home, you should recognize that going above your price range when you’re financing your purchase with a 30-year fixed-rate loan may only add a small amount to your monthly payment (e.g. $10,000 might only cost an additional $30 / month).

Lower your expectations about the condition of the home. While everyone prefers a move-in ready home, you can often get a better deal on a home that needs some cosmetic repairs. Do your legwork though, as cosmetic repairs might cost more than you think once you dig a little deeper.
Every homebuyer faces the same tug-of-war. Home price, size, location, commute, amenities, and many other considerations all grapple for attention. Although all features seemingly have equal importance, many could be subjectively classified as ‘nice-to-have’ over ‘must-haves.’ Often something or somebody has to make a difficult choice, but ultimately ideal compromises can lead to a perfect (or almost perfect) home choice.

Read: How to Pick the Perfect Neighborhood to Buy a House

What You Can’t Compromise On
You can’t compromise on having good, qualified professionals on your home-buying team. Attempts to cut corners or compromise on this part of the home buying process will only lead to pain further down the road. Do your due-diligence in selecting these people for your team, and make sure they always have your best interests in mind.

Read: How to Build Your Home Buying Team

Closing Costs and the Full Price of Homebuying
In the home purchase process, the sale price of the house itself is only part of the cost of buying. Besides the down payment, there are always closing costs in any home sale. Closing Cost is a singular term for a wide variety of fees and payments, paid out to a wide variety of people involved in the sale, upon which the sale depends for going through.

This is not a complete list of all closing costs, but a list of the most common ones. The different fees involved to close a home sale can vary widely from state to state.

Fees to the Lender

Application Fee: The cost for the lender to process your application. Includes a credit check for your credit score or appraisal as well.
Escrow Deposit: Frequently, two months of property tax and mortgage insurance payments.
Homeowners’ Insurance: This covers possible damages to your home. Often the first year of insurance is paid at closing.
Lender’s Policy Title Insurance: This is insurance to assure the lender that you own the home and the lender’s mortgage is valid, and it protects the lender from potential problems with the title.
Loan Discount Points: One point equals one percent of your loan amount. This is a prepaid interest payment that lowers your monthly payment.
Origination Fee: This covers the lender’s administrative costs. Often 1% of the total loan.
Prepaid Interest: Most lenders will ask you to prepay any interest that will accrue between closing and the date of your first mortgage payment.
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): For those making a down payment that’s less than 20% of the home’s purchase price, you will most likely be required to pay PMI.
Property Tax: Lenders will want any taxes due 60 days within the purchase.
Underwriting Fee: This covers the cost of researching whether or not to approve you for the loan.
Fees to Others

Appraisal: For the appraisal company to confirm the fair market value of the home.
Closing Fee: The title company or escrow oversees the closing as an independent party in your home purchase.
Home Inspection: The home inspection will verify the condition of a property and recommend any home repairs that may be needed.
Recording Fees: Charged by your city or county recording office, to keep up to date the public land records.
Title Company Search Fee: Paid to the title company for doing a search of the property’s records. Ensures that no one else has a claim to the property.
Transfer Taxes: This is the tax paid when the title passes from seller to buyer.

Your Home Buying Team

The People You’ll Need on the Path to Home Ownership
Buying a home from a seller is not a one-on-one experience. Both buyer and seller will need to convene a team of professionals and experts to inform, aid, and guide them through the home buying process. As a buyer, who are the people who will be on your team, and what are their roles? Here is a breakdown of the most common and most important people on your side.

Even if you’re a seasoned home buyer, working with experienced professionals can be to your advantage. Your agent and lender are key to the process—from searching and negotiating to financing and filing paperwork. Finding the right people to help you takes time, but can potentially save you thousands of dollars down the road.

In most cases, buyers rely on the help of a real estate agent throughout the entire homebuying journey. When you first meet with your agent, you’ll discuss your goals and priorities in home buying, and the agent weighs these desires against current trends in the market. A good agent is knowledgeable in market prices, neighborhood qualities, and real estate law and will help you strategize the experience. Your agent should meet up with you as you shop for homes, and use their experienced eye to point out features and flaws in the home that you might otherwise miss. Agents get involved in the final negotiations for a home, and can be an advocate during closing. Often, agents are the ones who hand you the keys when it’s all said and done.

Read: Are there advantages or disadvantages to buying without an agent?

Your lender is the one who allows you to borrow the funds to purchase your home, typically in the form of a mortgage. Aside from your agent, the lender is the only one who is with you during the home buying process, and likely for years after the home is purchased. At the beginning of the home buying process, the buyer will apply for pre-approval from multiple mortgage companies, usually three. After pre-approval, some buyers choose to switch their mortgage to another company, but most often, buyers borrow their mortgage from the company that pre-approved them. From then on, the mortgage company works with the buyer and the agent to hire the appraiser, orchestrate the escrow, and finalize the closing costs. After the sale, your lender will handle things like property taxes and insurance payments (in an account also called an escrow account, but separate from escrow that was set up during the sale), until the mortgage is paid off.

Read: What are the different types of lenders?

Home inspector
However similar they may seem, a home inspector is different than an appraiser. The Home Inspector enters the homebuying process fairly late, after an initial offer has been accepted but before a final price is negotiated. The Home Inspector takes a deep dive into the home’s condition, and estimates the cost of repairs. Armed with this information, the buyer can ask the seller to complete some of these repairs themselves, lower the total purchase price, or terminate the sale altogether. The importance of a Home Inspector cannot be overstated, and this person should be involved in pretty much every kind of home sale.

Read: Reason to Hire a Great Home Inspector?

Title company
The title company legitimizes the title of the property and issues insurance for the title. This protects the buyer from any outstanding claims over the ownership of the property. The title company can also be the one that handles the escrow account, the trust that holds the money and important documents until the purchase agreement is closed.

The appraiser is the one to determine the value of the property for sale. Standing between what the seller thinks the property is worth, and what you want to pay for it, is the appraiser. An appraiser does an on-site walk-through of the home, interior, and exterior conditions, and documents its compliance with property standards in addition to comparing other similar home sales in the area to determine the home’s value. In most cases, the lender will have their own appraiser and is paid through the Lender as part of the loan agreement.

Insurance agent
The insurance agent comes in after the home inspection. Many lenders will not close the sale until the buyer has purchased insurance on the home. There are two main types of homeowner’s insurance: a replacement-cost policy, and cash-value policy. A replacement-cost policy is more expensive than a cash-value policy, but it’s a good idea for older homes where the cost to replace is probably higher than the value of the property itself. A cash-value policy protects the home from depreciation in the market and ensures the home is insured for the amount you purchased it for.

Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need a Real Estate Agent to Buy a Home?

Typically, as a buyer, the real estate agent is the person who is by your side throughout the home buying process. Many homebuyers stop at the agent’s office first, even before they’ve worked out their finances or applied for pre-approval. But what does the real estate agent do? Who pays them? And what, if any, are the advantages of going without one?

What Do Real Estate Agents Do?

Real Estate agents are professionals that understand real estate law, local and current market trends, and the attributes of different neighborhoods. They see a lot of homes and meet a lot of homebuyers so they can offer advice and examples about what to do in the myriad of specific issues that crop up in the complex process of home buying.

Agents are there as you’re shopping for your home, doing the walk-throughs, and setting your priorities. The agent can be involved in the negotiation of your sale price, and work with you to close the sale. At best, the buyer’s agent is a personal advocate, who works hard to help you achieve your dreams.

Who Pays A Real Estate Agent?

In most instances, there is a seller’s agent and a buyer’s agent, and the seller pays both commissions. On average, the commission is around 6%, which is split evenly between the two agents. Many argue that since the seller is paying for both agents anyway, there’s no reason NOT to hire an agent.

Another note: buyer’s agents and seller’s agents are also referred to as selling agents and listing agents, respectively. If you hear those second two terms used, just remember: the selling agent represents the buyer, and the listing agent represents the seller. It can be confusing phrasing, but in the seller/listing agent dichotomy, the selling agent represents the buyer, NOT the seller.

The Real Estate Agent Mind Shift
For many, gaining an agent represents the moment when the home buying process becomes real. This is no longer daydreaming about homes online, figuring out your preferences, or assessing your finances. From this point on, your options should be clear to you, and the buying process concrete. Your real estate agent is there to focus your intentions and to move you swiftly onto the next step in buying a home.

Now with your agent and team, it’s time to get smarter about your searching. A good agent is one that you can communicate clearly with, and that listens to your top priorities. This communication works both ways; you should ask your agent a lot of questions to unload some of the potential worries or concerns inherent to the process of buying a home.

Optimally, your agent will be able to collaborate in the search process, helping you weed through your selections faster than you’d be able to alone and allowing you to narrow down the choices with in-home walk-throughs. As your collaborative search continues, your agent will continue to be your advocate, navigating bad deals and sniffing out swollen price points. If all goes well, your agent should be with you all the way until the close of the sale.

Read: Are there advantages or disadvantages to buying without an agent?

Contact me to hire me for Free as your buyer’s agent to represent your interest in the purchase transaction. Let the seller pay me to help you through every step of the process. Rely on me to provide you with detailed research and information and comparable analysis on the home you want to buy. I will also help to calculate your monthly payment and your closing costs. Call me , Cathy Smith, at 419-280-3942

Ready? Your agent will guide you based on your financial situation, the price points of your home search, and the local market conditions, but now’s a great time to look at finances and the advantages of mortgage pre-approvals.

How to Get Pre-Approved on Your Home Loan
In order to get pre-approved, you’ll need to contact a lender. The lender will review your credit reports, your employment history, and your income — and then determine which loan programs you qualify for, the maximum amount you can borrow, and the interest rates you will be offered. Obtaining pre-approval means that the lender is confident in your ability to pay off a loan.

Information to Provide for the Pre-Approval
This process is a simplified version of what you will ultimately go through to get approved for your final loan. Lenders are generally interested in your financial history for the last two years: two years of pay stubs, taxes, and residency. Information on your current assets and bank statements from any savings or investments are required as well. Also, a valid photo ID (Driver’s License, Passport,) and social security number for a credit check.

What to Do With Your Pre-Approval
In many cases, the lender that gives you your pre-approval is the one that approves the final loan, but not always. Some borrowers, learning more about the process, decide to go with another lender. You should feel free, before the loan is locked in, to consider competing offers.

The pre-approval gives the home buyer an idea of what their monthly payments, down payments, and terms will look like. The pre-approval is not just what you think you can afford, but what you can actually afford. A pre-approval letter is a great way to show agents and sellers that you have the resources and are serious about buying a home.

Read: What Are Different Types of Home Loan Mortgages?

Read: What Are Some Downpayment Options?

How to Get Pre-Approved by a Lender
It’s all in the paperwork & preparation
Obtaining a mortgage requires an extensive accounting of your personal and financial life. The mortgage application can appear to be a daunting prospect, but a little organization in your files and paperwork can go a long way. Go over this list of information and documentation required to apply for a loan, and get a jump on your application.

Information for the Federally Required Mortgage Application

Full Name, Birth Date, Social Security #, Phone Number
Number of children, their ages, marital status
Residence history for the last two years; for renters, this includes landlord’s name and monthly rent. For homeowners, all mortgage, tax and insurance info for all properties owned.
Two years of employment history: companies, addresses, titles held, contact
Two years of income: includes bonuses, commissions, and self-employment
Account Balances for all banking: checking, savings, retirement, investments
Current fixed debt: credit cards, mortgage, car payments, alimony, child support, student debt
Documentation of bankruptcy (in the last seven years), lawsuits, or a co-signer on any property
If a percent of the down payment will be borrowed
Documentation Required to Obtain the Loan

Written authorization for the lender to run a credit report
Written explanations for anything derogatory in the credit report
Discharge papers from Bankruptcy (if in the last seven years)
For renters, 12 months of canceled rent checks from landlord, or a form confirming on-time rent payments
If renting to others, applicable lease agreements and bank statements
If selling while buying, confirmation of the listing agreement
30 days of pay stubs
Two years of W2 forms
Two years of personal federal tax returns
For the self-employed, two years of business tax returns
For the self-employed, year-to-date profit and loss statement
Documentation of child support and alimony payments, and divorce decree
Two months of bank statements from checking, saving, retirement, and investment accounts
If you are receiving gift funds, a statement from the giver confirming the gift is a gift and not a loan
How Your Credit Score Could Affect Your Ability to Obtain a Loan
If you know your credit score, this general breakdown will give you an idea of what you could be working with.

720+ Excellent Credit: Should easily qualify for a variety of mortgages, obtain good interest rates and low fees.

680 – 719 Good Credit: Most likely able to qualify, with a decent interest rate and standard fees.

620 – 679 Fair Credit: A chance to qualify, with fewer options, higher interest rates and fees.

580 – 619 Poor Credit: Difficult to qualify, with much fewer options, higher interest rates and fees.

350 – 579 Bad Credit: Unlikely to qualify for a mortgage, with some exceptions.

Mortgage Blog Articles
Mortgage Pre-Approval

Mortgage Pre-qualifications vs. Pre-approval

7 Items to Check for In a Pre-Approval Letter

How to Find a Lender
Using Homes.com professional search functionality you can find lenders across the US. Information for local mortgage professionals can also be found on each of our property detail pages, as well as through the recommendations of your real estate agent or brokerage.

Are There Any Homes That Don’t Require A Mortgage?
Not all home purchases require a mortgage, but for most buyers a mortgage is the easiest and most logical option for affording a home.

Read: How Do I Buy a “Cash Only” Property?

Read: What Does “Owner / Seller Will Carry” Mean?

Open Houses & Agent-Accompanied Tours
Basics That Every Home Buyer Needs to Know

By this point in the homebuying process, you’ve found a realtor you can trust, have been pre-approved for a mortgage, and understand how much house you can afford. It’s time to get off the internet and do a physical walk-through of a few likely home candidates.

How Do I Prepare/What Do I Bring to the Walk-Through?
Most pre-approval offers expire in 60-120 days, so from the time of your pre-approval, the clock is ticking. When it comes to house hunting, saving time is not wasting time. Be thorough, but be organized. There is no overall average on how much time you should spend on a walk-through, but whatever you spend, don’t rush it. Remember – you cannot view ten properties in an hour; it’s not a realistic goal. Make sure you plan out a driving route on house hunting day so that you can view all the properties in the same area with efficiency, saving time and energy in the process.

Savvy homebuyers should bring a moisture meter with them to the walk-through. Moisture meters are great for pointing out leaks and other moisture problems, and can preempt problems with mold. If you see spots of softer wood or stains on the ceilings or wall, use the moister meter. A good read should be around 16%, but under 28% indicates the home is still fixable.

Besides the moisture meter, bring a checklist for what to look out for in a home; Homes.com has designed just such a checklist for you to download here.

Read: 5 questions you should ask your agent before taking property tours

What to Do Before Making Your Offer
You’ve reached the point in the home buying process where you’ve found a home that you want to put an offer on. So now what goes into making that offer, and what sort of homework should you do before making it?

Look up information on homes that recently sold in the area and ones that are most similar to the one you’re thinking of putting an offer on. Size, age, number of bedrooms, number of baths, and overall condition are all good measurements to start with. The homes that share these similar features are referred to as comparables (often called “comps”), and they will give you an idea of what people are willing to pay for in your market. This will help you craft an offer that stands out to the seller.

Your agent is your second pair of eyes in the house hunting process, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting a third or fourth opinion. If you have a friend or family member who has experience in home buying, or who works in home construction or home renovation, ask them along for a second walk-through.

More than just visualizing yourself in the neighborhood, spend a little time there. What neighbors may be like during the day can drastically differ from how they are at night. Take a couple of walks around the block, or go on a few mock errands. Take a dry run of your commute as well; for some, that daily trip could be reason enough not to buy.

Revisit Finances
Take another look at your finances, and think beyond just the interest rates. At this point, you should be factoring in closing costs, property taxes, and maintenance on the home. A home that requires some repair at closing might get you a lower purchase price, but homes don’t get younger. Keep in mind that older homes will only require more repair down the road. Make sure you are up to date on all your finances and credit and are ready to apply for the final loan.

Read: What financial paperwork should I have prepared?

Revisit Priorities
The offer that you make on that home requires a lot of thought. Think back to the list of your top priorities that you made before this process began. Does this home still fit within them? Think about what you decided you could compromise on, how much you can afford, and what you might have to give up or compromise on. Take into consideration everything you’ve seen on this home buying journey, everything you’ve learned, and put that all information carefully into your offer.

Making an Offer
Now that you’ve zeroed in on the home you want to buy, it’s time to make the all-important offer. In home buying, the offer is much more than a verbal ask, or a number written down on a piece of paper. There are a number of details that go into the offer, including timelines, contingencies, and earnest money, which should be fine-tuned to appeal to the seller while still getting you the best price for the home. You’ll spend time fine-tuning your offer with your agent (points noted below), who will represent you in the final negotiation.

Before Making an Offer
In considering what to include in your offer, make sure to take in neighborhood comparables – that is, homes of the same basic age and size, with the same comparable features. If there are comparables that have sold recently in your area, these homes will serve as a baseline for your offer. Your agent will be helpful in pulling up comparables for your home, and should already have this information for you at this point in the process. Agents will have at their disposal Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) that will make this part of the process much easier.

Besides just the current market sales of comparable homes, consider how long the home you’re looking at has been on the market if the price has been reduced over time and the general condition of the neighborhood. All of these things will end up being important points in defining your offer, as well as in the buying negotiations.

What Information Does the Offer Include?
Sale price
Address and description of the property
Terms: an all-cash transaction, or obtaining a mortgage for a pre-arraigned amount
The time limit on the offer
Seller’s promise to provide clear title
Target date for closing, that is: the date of the sale
Type of deed that will be granted
State and local specific details
Earnest Money – this is a deposit that buyers offer the seller to show that they are serious about the sale. If accepted, the earnest money will go towards the down payment or the closing costs.
Agreement by which any and all utilities, real estate taxes, rent, or fuel is paid for/split between buyer and seller
Agreement by which title insurance, survey, termite inspection is paid for/split between buyer and seller
Agreement about any last-minute inspection of the property
Contingencies – these are actions or benchmarks that the offer is contingent upon. That means a statement within the offer reads, “This offer is contingent upon [blank].” Common contingencies include details of satisfactory financing obtained by the buyer, the time frame in which the home must be inspected, and the date of possession, among others.
Read: What questions should I ask the home seller?
Read: Possession timeline as part of negotiation

Presenting the Offer
Work with your agent or real estate attorney to put all this information in writing in a way that will connect with your seller, and help you get the desired outcome… acceptance of your offer!

Unfortunately, that may not be the only outcome. Instead of a simple “yes”, the seller could reject your offer and a (possible) negotiation process could begin. Or, the seller could agree and you have a contract (our preferred outcome, too)!

No matter what happens next, having a good agent or attorney review the details of all legal communications and contracts is critical.

Homebuying and Sale Price: What’s Negotiable?
In every home buying contract, there are several components on the negotiation table: home repairs, real estate taxes, HOA fees, etc. But when it comes to the overall sale price, how far south are buyers able to drive the sale? Is there a rule of thumb when it comes to lowering the price? And at what point does the seller simply walk away? Here are some helpful things to keep in mind when negotiating the sale price.

Home Value is Greater Than Listing Price
Another one of the valuable abilities your agent brings to the table is a clear picture of the home’s true market value. If the listing price is above that, then you may have some wiggle room to negotiate. Unless you are considering a “stale” home that has spent some time on the market, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone dipping below the home’s value. If the home you are looking at is already at market value, don’t wait – lock that one down.

Depends on the Market
Again, your agent is an invaluable resource on this one. They will know if homes are selling for 3% below the asking price or 13%. Depending on the market, a seller could see an offer at 5% below as a slap in the face, while in other markets, an offer at 15% below is common. Ask your agent if this is a house to negotiate on, and how far you should go. Negotiating the home price within 90% of the asking price is not uncommon; 25% below the asking price is rare.

The Inspection May Not Change Anything
A home inspection is a natural place for homebuyers to change their offer. If the inspection turns up problems that are serious enough, the responsibility of repair can find its way to the negotiation table, or the homebuyers may want to walk away altogether. Often the inspection turns up nothing, or the seller doesn’t find that the inspector’s report warrants any renovation before the sale. The home inspection is a deeply important part of the home buying process, but not the point upon which you want the entire sale price to hinge.

The only way not to compromise in the home buying process is to not buy a home. Whether it be the sale price, the terms, repairs, possession: if you want the home, be prepared to negotiate on at least one of these items. Before going to the negotiating table with the seller, know where your own wiggle points are, and get ready to compromise to get what you really want.

What to Do When Your Offer is Rejected
The home buying process can be a deeply emotional one, especially when your offer gets rejected. Many homebuyers, first time or otherwise, are thrown for a loop when their offer is rejected. The most important thing to do when this happens is not to panic, and instead consider the following:

Some Seller’s Agents Tell Their Clients to Reject All First Offers
For good or ill, this is a common tactic. In particular, if you are buying in a seller’s market, be prepared for your first offer to be rejected out of hand. Many homebuyers do this because they want to see who is truly interested in their home, and who is willing to work to get it. Be careful though, thinking too much about the motivations of the seller can be a trap, which leads to the next point.

Consider, But Don’t Overanalyze the Seller
It’s always an advantage for the home buyer to know a few things about the seller. Things about why they are selling, and what they plan to do next can offer insight into their motivations. But don’t get caught up in analyzing the seller too much; doing so can waste precious time. Sometimes their only motivation is just that they think that they can get a better price.

Make Another Offer
You can always make another offer. Make the second offer as soon as you can, while getting advice from your agent and your family. If you started with a particularly low offer, perhaps your agent had this second offer waiting in the background. Others choose at this point to do away with negotiation tactics (which is a tactic to itself) and to simply let the seller know exactly the maximum they can afford on the property. If a seller doesn’t respond to your best possible offer, you know to move on.

Move On
Don’t wait too long to move on. If the seller isn’t responding to anything you’ve offered, then put this particular home behind you. The time you waste now, anguishing over the offer from/to this seller, could be time better used to put an offer in on another home. The home buying process is emotional, and it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that this home is “the one.” That kind of thinking can potentially slow down the home buying process, and in fact, keep you from the true home of your dreams.

Home Inspection
What to Look For, and How it Impacts Your Offer
Conducting a private home inspection is almost always a necessary step in the home buying process. Home inspectors are in demand in many areas of the country, so it’s important to get the inspection scheduled as soon as you know the time window described in the contract with the seller. Research home inspectors in your area for positive reviews and ask friends for recommendations, your agent will also have suggestions of good inspectors in the area.

When you speak to the inspector, make sure you know exactly what they are covering. Will they check for asbestos? Will they test for lead paint? There are often state and local ordinances that the inspector will be aware of. Like with all the professionals you will hire, do not be afraid to ask questions. One thing most home inspectors don’t do is pest inspection, so if the inspector sees some signs of termites or other pests, you may want to hire a pest specialist.

Inspection Day
On the day of the inspection, be there with the inspector. Most likely, the seller’s agent will be there as well to answer some of the inspector’s questions, and these are answers you’ll want to hear. At any part of the home inspection where you can reasonably follow the inspector around the home, do so. A good inspector will give you tips and advice on how to take care of this particular home as it ages. More than just the pros and cons of purchase, think of this information as the “driver’s manual” of the home.

What to Look for in the Home Inspection Report
The bullets below are the primary areas an inspector’s report should cover. The report may contain more than this, and the inspector will let you know what they feel is most important. If the report does not include the status of the elements listed below, it’s your job to ask why and, if necessary, to hire another inspector for another opinion.

Foundation: Cracks or shifts in the foundation; if the walls where they meet the floors/ceilings are level
Roof: General age/condition
Exterior/Lot: Does the drainage flow away from the house; are there “soggy” parts of the yard. When was the last time the house was painted? Is the gutter system working?
Attic: Interior condition of the roof, leaks
Room Leaks: Areas around windows, or below windows on lower floors.
Basement: Moisture levels, insulation
Electrical: Grounding, Circuit breakers, Switches. If there has been any “DIY” work.
Plumbing: Condition of the sewer line. Any drips, noises, or leaks.
Appliances: If applicable, the age and condition of the refrigerator, oven, dishwasher
Heating/Cooling System: Age and condition of the furnace and/or central air

How the Inspection Might Impact Your Offer
A good home inspector should be impartial to the sale of the house They are mandated to tell you all about the condition of the house, not whether it should affect the home’s price. In many cases, the inspection does not change the offer between the buyer and seller, but simply gives the buyer a heads-up on things to look for in the home’s future. In the case that the home inspector’s report does flag something worth negotiating, the buyer has three options:

Negotiate lower offer
Request certain repairs
Rescind offer
Read: When should you consider rescinding your home purchase offer?

When it comes to requesting repairs, a buyer can ask for something as simple as a new screen on a window, or something as big as a new roof. When trying to decide between the three options above, consider the following: Did the seller already reflect the home’s damage by listing the home at lower-than-market value? What is the cost of the fix compared to the overall cost of the house? Depending on the house, sewer problems might be a fraction of the home’s costs, or it might be as much as the home itself. How much do you trust the seller to do the repair in the best way possible? If you think the seller might cut corners to close faster, you might want to negotiate a lower offer, rather than request repairs.

What to Look for on a Final Walk-Through
As a homebuyer, the home inspector will make their report to you, and you and the seller will agree on the seller making a few improvements and repairs on the property, perhaps lowering the sale price if necessary.

After this has been agreed upon and the seller makes these repairs, the buyer does a final walk-through. This walk-through is to make sure the agreed-upon repairs are complete, and the home is in the condition you remember. The final walk-through will most likely be the last chance the buyer has to see the home before taking possession.

Final Walk-Through Checklist:
The Exterior: Check the yard and the exterior of the building, especially if there have been any storms in the last few days. Check the paint, the gutters, or if there are any pools of water in the yard
Turn all light fixtures on and off
Ensure no light fixtures have been removed: chandeliers, wall sconces, etc.
Turn heating/cooling systems on and off
Flush all toilets
Turn on water faucets, check for leaks
Check oven, refrigerator, dishwasher
Turn on garbage disposal, exhaust fan
Check all windows and doors
Check screens and storm windows
Check ceilings, floors, and walls for damp spots or stains
Check garage door opener
Look in storage areas for anything left behind
Check for any other agreed-upon repairs
Have your purchase contract with you during the walk-through to help you remember any small details involved. Some prefer to do the final walk-through alone, but, if they agree to it, there are advantages to having the seller there to explain the repairs. This is not required, however, and in many home sales the buyer and seller never meet. This final walk-through should take you about an hour.

Clear to Close: Everything You Need to Know for Closing Day
On closing day, the months of planning, searching, paperwork, and negotiation all come down to spending two hours in the closing agent’s office signing papers. It can be an overwhelming moment. To prepare, we’ll break down who will be there, what you’ll need to bring, and what you’ll be signing on closing day.

Who Will Be at the Closing of The Home?
In most cases, there will be the closing agent, your real estate attorney, and you. Who is the closing agent? The closing agent was agreed upon in your original offer on the property. The closing agent is a knowledgeable third party who can handle the legal documents, often a representative of the escrow company, or a title officer. Don’t expect the seller to be there. In some states, the seller and buyer will meet, but it’s rare.

Documents to Bring
Photo ID: driver’s license or passport
Certified Check: for the closing costs and the down payment, federal law requires the closing agent inform you of the amount to make the check out for, if multiple checks are required, and to whom it/they should be written, at least 24 hours before closing day.
Proof of Insurance: It may be required for the mortgage or part of the sale, but the closing agent will need to see a copy as well. It makes everything go smoother to have one prepared specifically for them in advance.
Final Sale Contract: For reference, to double check and make sure everything is agreed upon.
Documents to Sign
On closing day, you’ll be signing two major contracts. One contract for your loan, and one contract for the purchase of your home. The number of documents you’ll have to sign varies from state to state, but expect for there to be between 30-40 of them. Here are some of the most common types.

Closing the Purchase
Closing Disclosure: This is an itemized accounting of the buyer and the seller’s closing costs. This exhaustive document is actually available three days before the day of closing, and if you have a chance to look it over beforehand, do so. While long, this document should be looked over with care.
Warranty Title: This legal description of the property transfers the property from the seller to the buyer.
Proration Papers: This is the agreement by which the property taxes and utility bills are divided between buyer and seller; also, homeowner’s association fees, if applicable.
Statement of Identity: The title company uses this to clear up any confusion between you and someone who shares the same name.
Declaration of Reports: The buyer signs off that they have seen all inspection reports
Abstract of Title: This is the document of documents, which lists all the legal papers that affect the title
Closing the Loan
Promissory Note: This is the promise to pay back the full sum of the loan, according to the terms laid out by the note.
Truth in Lending Statement: A description of your interest rate, annual percentage rate, amount being financed, and the total cost over the life of the loan. (Look this document over carefully.)
Deed of Trust: This document states that you are putting your new home up as security against the debt you owe.
Monthly Payment Letter: This is a description of your monthly payment, with a breakdown of how much goes to principal, interest, taxes, and insurance.
Closing Questions to Answer
If it hasn’t already been taken care of in the sale contract, you’ll be asked how you want to take the title of the home. The answer will most likely be one of the following, Sole Owner, Joint Tenancy, or Tenants-in-Common. The first is when an individual takes sole possession, the second is when each member of a couple takes survivorship, and the third is when two or more have unequal shares in the property.

When Do I Get My Keys?
Many homebuyers, first-time or otherwise, are surprised when they do not get their keys right after they sign the papers at the closing agent’s office. This is because the moment the papers get signed might not be the official date of closing. Another reason is that you may not get the keys until the city or county records the title. Other times, a delay in closing is caused when there is a benign error in the paperwork. To avoid these problems, try to schedule the signing of the papers early in the morning, and preferably not on a Friday.

Read: Is closing the same as taking possession of a home?

In addition, know that “closing” is not the same as “taking possession.” This should be something discussed during the negotiation of the purchase contract. If the seller is having trouble moving, or cannot move out until a certain time, work that out as part of the offer. In these instances, the new owner renting out the home to the old owner becomes part of home’s sale.

Moving Guide
Work with your agent to make sure you:

Transfer Your Utilities
The transfer of the utilities is something that homebuyers should consider before obtaining the keys to their new home. To have a seamless transition of utilities between the buyer and the seller, how the utilities will be handled should be decided all the way back when the details of the purchase contract were being made.

To avoid paying the last few months of someone else’s heat, electricity or water bill, make sure the utility transfer is discussed before the closing papers are signed.

Utilities to Transfer

Here’s a list of the most common utilities to consider during the transfer of a home. Some homes, of course, have special or specialized utilities for their unique circumstances, but this list covers a broad base.

Water and sewer
Natural gas
Cable or satellite TV
Trash collection
Security/alarm systems
Some utilities, like numbers four, five and six, can wait until you move in because they are simple enough to switch over. With others, like numbers one, two and three, you’ll want to talk to the seller. In most cases, you will be responsible for making the changes, but occasionally the seller agrees to put these utilities into the buyer’s name before they move out of the property and, depending on the scenario, may negotiate the purchase price accordingly.

If the home has a security system, and you want to continue with the service, then it’s likely you’ll have to call the security company to come out and replace the system or update it for a new user.

These are important questions to address when transferring to a new home, so make sure to talk to the seller about when you can perform the transfer in a seamless manner.

Change of Address & Other Move-in Essentials
Home Maintenance
Spring Cleaning Checklist

Top Real Estate Questions from Around the Web

collected by Homes.com

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  • Is it legal to sell real estate without a license?

My websites IdealProperties.net and IdealProperties.info are free online real estate web sites that provide information on every aspect of real estate, including home buying, home selling, home ownership, investments, foreclosures, mortgages, and rentals. IdealProperties.net has real estate listings for millions of homes for sale in most all areas across the United States. We offer Free access to home valuations for most Properties in the Toledo Ohio area, Northwest Ohio and South East Michigan and throughout the United States of America. We also have real estate market analysis and reports for most local markets in the United States including current market conditions, median property values, demographic information, as well as schools and area information. It is our Goal to arm consumers with information and tools to make smart decisions about homes, real estate properties and mortgages, to enable them to buy, sell or Find their Ideal Property at IdealProperties.net. As a free online real estate site, we have real estate, real estate articles, links and directories where you can read up on vital real estate facts and details that will aid you in every step of your real estate process and numerous posts and articles. You will find virtually everything you need to help you Find Your Ideal Property.


If you’re thinking of selling your home, the first thing you should ask is “How much is my home worth?” Being educated on market trends in the property’s area gives you the best chances of selling your home quickly and for the best price possible. Click on “How Much is Your Home Worth” to request a free (C.M.A.) Comparative Market Analysis of your property. The correct selling price of a home is the highest price that the market will bear based on recent sales of similar properties. This market value is what a lender will base the loan amount they are willing to extend to the buyer. To assist you in determining the correct asking price we provide you with a comprehensive market analysis of comparable properties sold and offered for sale in your neighborhood. Please call me for a more detailed Comparative Market Analysis and your personal consultation. Keep in mind that I take advantage of the latest technologies to make sure your property has a strong presence on the Internet and appeals to its target market. I have software that actually seeks out and sends your listing and marketing directly to Buyers that have an internet search set up for a home like yours. This means I can help you to get your home details in front of the exact buyers that are looking to buy a home with attributes like yours. The content of Idealproperties.net will attract Buyers and the Free tools and information provided will keep them coming back. If someone is looking for real estate in Toledo, Ohio, or a Realtor in the Toledo Ohio and the surrounding area, they have a much higher chance of finding this site, and YOUR listing. Contact me today and I will be happy to give you more information about my services to sellers.


IdealProperties.net is set up as a free site for buyers to view listings, run searches, get instant home values, maps, area and school information, and numerous other tools, tips and services that will aid a Buyer in making a purchase decision. Buyers can set up their own personal automated search, find foreclosure homes and information, find For Sale By Owner Listings, Corporate housing, Vacation Properties, Bank and Government Listings, review Market Conditions, Area Demographics, Recent Sales or you can contact me directly to have me provide you with detailed reports and links to information that will help in the purchase process.

Check out IdealProperties.net Home Buyer Tips and Tools

I offer numerous tools and services on my site for your benefit but feel free to contact me to learn more about what I have to offer you, to get your free property search web page to help you find your ideal property for your home for sale or with personalized searches for the type of properties that you are interested in living in or your free comparable analysis on your property and marketing consultation. I strive to provide the highest quality of service to all of my clients while I put our expertise to work to make each transaction profitable. Call or e-mail me today for information on your next real estate transaction!

CLICK – on the Areas listed below as the Areas We Cover to search properties in that area and get other key information. Search Homes for Sale in Holland, Maumee, Monclova, Ottawa Hills, Ottawa Hills Neighborhood, Perrysburg, Perrysburg City, Perrysburg Township, Rossford, Sylvania, Toledo, Waterville, and Whitehouse.

Areas We Cover

 HollandMaumeeMonclovaOttawa HillsOttawa Hills NeighborhoodPerrysburgPerrysburg CityPerrysburg TownshipRossfordSylvaniaToledoWatervilleWhitehouse

Surrounding Communities
Holland/Springfield Township Chamber of Commerce Springfield Township Springfield Local School District Holland Property Search Holland Real Estate Search – Find Your Ideal Property Home For Sale Holland, Ohio Maumee Maumee Chamber of Commerce City of Maumee Maumee City Schools Maumee Search Maumee Real Estate Search – Find Your Ideal Property Home for Sale Maumee, Ohio Monclova Monclova Township Anthony Wayne Local Schools Monclova Search Monclova Real Estate Search – Find Your Ideal Property Home For Sale Monclova, Ohio Oregon Eastern Maumee Bay Chamber of Commerce City of Oregon Oregon City Schools Perrysburg and Perrysburg Township Perrysburg Chamber of Commerce City of Perrysburg Perrysburg Schools Perrysburg Township Perrysburg Search Perrysburg City Search Perrysburg Township Search Find homes for sale and real estate Search in Perrysburg, OH at Idealproperties.net Rossford City of Rossford Rossford Exempted Village Schools Rossford Search Rossford Real Estate Search – Find Your Ideal Property Home For Sale Rossford, Ohio Swanton Swanton Area Chamber of Commerce Village of Swanton Swanton Schools Sylvania and Sylvania Township Sylvania Chamber of Commerce City of Sylvania Sylvania Township Sylvania Schools Sylvania Search Sylvania Community and Homes for Sale in Sylvania, Ohio Sylvania Real Estate Search – Find Your Ideal Property Home For Sale Sylvania! Village of Ottawa Hills Ottawa Hills Ottawa Hills Schools Ottawa Hills Search Ottawa Hills Neighborhood Search Ottawa Hills Real Estate Search – Find Your Ideal Property Home For Sale Ottawa Hills, Ohio Waterville Waterville Chamber of Commerce City of Waterville Anthony Wayne Local Schools Waterville Search Waterville Real Estate Search – Find Your Ideal Property Home For Sale Waterville, Ohio Whitehouse Whitehouse Chamber of Commerce Village of Whitehouse Anthony Wayne Local Schools Whitehouse Search Whitehouse Real Estate Search – Find Your Ideal Property Home For Sale Whitehouse, Ohio Economic Development With its affordable cost of living, short commutes, and diverse neighborhoods, the Toledo Region is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. https://www.realtytrac.com/statsandtrends/oh/lucas-county/toledo/
Auditors Office Links
Anthony Wayne Schools
Antwerp Local Schools
Ayersville Local Schools
Bowling Green City Schools
Bryan City Schools
Defiance Schools
Eastwood Local Schools
Elmwood Local Schools
Evergreen Local Schools
Lake Local Schools
Liberty Center Local Schools
Maumee City Schools
Napoleon Schools
Northeastern Local Schools
Northwood Local Schools
Oregon City Schools
Ottawa Hills Local Schools
Patrick Henry Schools
Paulding Exempted Village Schools
Perrysburg Schools
Pettisville Local Schools
Pike Delta York Local Schools
Rossford Village Schools
Springfield Local Schools
Swanton Schools
Sylvania Schools
Toledo Public Schools
TPS 2018/19 Street Directory
Washington Local Schools
Wauseon Exempted Village Schools
Wayne Trace Local School District

Area Public Schools

With its affordable cost of living, short commutes, and diverse neighborhoods, the Toledo Region is a great place to live, work, and raise a family.

Lucas County Schools

Wood County Schools

Area Private Schools

Area Attractions With its affordable cost of living, short commutes, and diverse neighborhoods, the Toledo Region is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. PAGES ADA Disability – Fair Housing Protected Classes Luxury homes Water Front/Vacation homes Horse Farms/Acreage Elder homes Veterans government Police/Firefighter/Paramedics Teachers Union Associations builders lawyer Insurance Financial advisers Probate courts Country Club and Homes around it Metro Parks – Day Trips – Activities Special Real Estate Services and Software Buyer Search Tool Mortgage Calculator Buyer/Seller Property Value Tool Comparable Market Analysis, CMA Buyer Search Web Site Seller Listing Website/Internet Marketing Premium marketing, Photography and Video Buyer Prospecting Software Auto Email Service Dotloop Encrypted Document Share Center SentriLock Internet Monitored Property Lock Box