Buyers Guide

    Looking for a Dream Home?

    In today’s world of compromises and rushed decisions, does your perfect home even exist? At the Kris Weaver Real Estate Team, we believe it does. In fact, we know it does. Because every day, in neighborhoods all over Hampton Roads, we help our clients find their perfect home.

    Of course, it’s not as simple as wading through properties and ­setting up showings. Finding your perfect home is about ­listening: ­understanding your needs, priorities, concerns, and lifestyle. It’s about networking: drawing on relationships and resources, ­information and support.

    It’s about professionalism: maintaining honesty and integrity, ­dedication and respect. And it’s about hard work: employing ­energy and hustle, passion and drive.

    At the end of the day, your perfect home is out there, waiting for a Kris Weaver Real Estate Team client, thanks to your agent who ­understands just what perfect means to you.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    About the Kris Weaver Real Estate Team

    We entered the real estate field in 1996 with a strong conviction ­­­­­­that­ if we take care of the needs of people; everything else would take care of itself.
    This guiding principle has enabled us to become Hampton Roads #1 ­Platinum Real Estate Team, and garner countless other awards throughout the years. This difference in attitude is what separates us from other Realtors. Still, with all the accolades, there’s only one list our team truly cares about ­making: yours.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
     

    You Can Rely on Us

    Working Together for You:

    The Kris Weaver Real Estate Team works with the best of the best to insure that you have the easiest buying process possible.

    We recommend the following businesses:

     

    Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 5.07.34 PM  Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 12.14.42 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 3.32.27 PM

     

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    Owning a Home

    The Advantages of Homeownership:

    A home is most likely the largest purchase you will ever make, and it marks a major step in life. There is no scientific formula that tells someone when they’re ready to buy, but you should take stock of your financial situation as well as your personal lifestyle. In ­general, there are a number of advantages to ­homeownership, both tangible and intangible, that you’ll want to consider.

    INVESTMENT — Every payment you make on your mortgage puts you one step closer to acquiring a major possession. And every ­improvement you make to your property not only ­enhances your way of life, but also adds value to your home.

    PROTECTION FROM INFLATION — Once you purchase a home, the bulk of your housing costs are not exposed to ­inflation. That means your only housing expenses that will rise over time with inflation are property taxes, homeowners­ ­insurance and ­maintenance costs.

    EQUITY — Because a home increases in value even as you are paying down your loan, most buyers effortlessly build ­equity. Equity creates wealth and can help you accomplish any ­number of financial goals, such as paying for retirement and funding a child’s education.

    TAX ADVANTAGES — Your real estate taxes and the interest on your mortgage are usually deductible from your income tax. For many buyers, that tax break can go a long way toward making home ownership just as affordable as renting.

    SATISFACTION — For many people, but certainly not all, home ownership simply makes life more enjoyable, whether it’s the pride that comes from decorating and maintaining your home or the ­knowledge that your family will grow up in the ­neighborhood of your choice. ­Homeownership is still the ­American Dream.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    A Real Estate Professional

    How our Agents Work for You:

    With an abundance of online resources, a growing foreclosure ­market and countless cable TV shows on the subject of real estate, it’s not ­surprising that some home buyers consider a “do-it-yourself” ­approach when ­purchasing a new home.

    But for most, a real estate professional is a vital partner in the ­home-buying process. While buyers today are more educated about real estate than ever before, all the research in the world can’t match an experienced agent’s “in-the-trenches” understanding of what’s happening in the market today. Without the pavement-pounding and advance scouting an agent does on your behalf, you might wind up overpaying for a home or losing out on the home of your dreams.

    Also, unlike a parent, spouse, partner or best friend, an agent can give you a completely objective and professional opinion of the ­properties you are considering.

    If nothing else, keep in mind that a buyers’ agent is typically ­compensated by the seller. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by utilizing the expertise of an agent. And from the moment you select a Kris Weaver Team Agent until the day you move in, our highly skilled team will be working for you.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    Beginning your Search

    Getting Started:

    On the surface, buying a home may seem like a relatively ­straightforward process. However there are dozens of variables in any transaction that can make purchasing real estate quite ­complex. Being prepared and organized makes the process that much easier and more enjoyable. Here are some steps to take ­before beginning your search:

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    The Buying Process:

    1. Choosing a Kris Weaver Real Estate Agent

    2. Getting Pr-Approved for a Mortgage

    3. Creating a Wish List

    4. Finding your Home

    5. Making an Offer

    6. Negotiating Counteroffers

    7. Contract to Closing

    8. Closing

    9. After you Buy

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    A Skilled Advisor

    Choosing a Kris Weaver Real Estate Team Agent:

    Choosing a good agent to guide you through a real estate ­transaction is as important as buying a home. ­Homebuyers should give just as much ­consideration to hiring a buyer’s ­representative as sellers give to hiring a listing agent. That means conducting ­interviews, seeking referrals and ­researching the company as well as the individual.

    While it’s important to ask potential agents a number of questions relating to their experience and routines, it’s also­ ­important to listen for the questions they ask you to get a feel for if they’re really intent on understanding your needs.

    Experience in your preferred neighborhood and/or style of home is ­important, but so is the comfort level between agent and client, ­because buying a home is a highly personal ­experience. Ultimately, you only work with one agent, so it should be someone you like, trust and respect and who feels the same way about you.

    Learn more about Kris Weaver Real Estate Team agents at
    www.KrisWeaver.com.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

    In today’s home-buying environment, a mortgage ­pre-approval is not only essential; it is also incredibly easy to obtain – whether online, over the phone or in-person. A mortgage ­pre-approval lets you know exactly what you can afford to buy. It also demonstrates to a seller that you are a ­willing and able buyer. It also gives you a head start in getting an actual loan commitment. Learn more about pre-approvals by ­visiting with one of our preferred ­lenders online or in person. More ­information about mortgages is located in this guide.

    Use an online mortgage calculator to get a sense of your ­buying power and monthly mortgage payments. As a general rule, most ­experts say that your housing expenses should not ­exceed 28 ­percent of your gross monthly income, but a­ ­variety of factors – from your credit score to other debt – can open this ratio up to a pretty wide range. Remember that there are other costs involved in ­buying a home, such as moving, ­decorating and remodeling expenses. You should also consult with your accountant or financial advisor to talk about how real estate affects your financial goals. Knowing where you will come out of the transaction will give you a lot more ­confidence going in.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    Creating a Wish List

    Almost every home purchase involves some degree of ­compromise, which is why it is important to prioritize your wants and needs ­before you ­begin your search. There are many variables to think about ­depending on your ­lifestyle, budget and future plans, but some ­universal considerations ­include:

    LOCATION — South Hampton Roads offers many great ­neighborhoods, each with its own character. Consider ­­­­the­­ ­factors that are important to you, such as schools; transportation; and ­neighborhood amenities like ­restaurants, shops and parks. Here are some ways to research an area you’re considering.

    • Tap local resources like the Chamber of Commerce, which can ­provide information about area businesses and ­community events.
    • Seek out neighborhood residents and get their opinion about where they live.
    • Drive or walk through the neighborhood at various times of the day and evening.
    • Leverage your agent’s expertise in the neighborhood.

    TYPE OF HOME — A great diversity of housing exists within South Hampton Roads: single-family homes, condominiums, ­urban living ­condominiums, town homes, new-construction, vintage homes, re-sales and fixer-uppers. You probably have a preference for a certain style of construction. Weigh the pros and cons to narrow your focus.

    FEATURES AND AMENITIES — Garage parking, hardwood floors, a fireplace, outdoor space, a doorman. In the end, these are the kinds of details that drive the decision to purchase one home ­versus another. In creating this list, some things to ­consider are resale value, your daily ­routine, and the cost of making changes or additions down the road.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    Finding your Home

    Once you have obtained a mortgage pre-approval and selected a real estate agent, you are ready to begin your home search:

    PROPERTY TYPES
    From urban living condos to sturdy beach cottages, Hampton Roads housing is very diverse, giving homebuyers virtually ­limitless options when looking for a home to call their own. Just about any neighborhood in the city offers a variety of housing styles and a choice between existing, new-construction or rehabbed homes. Following is a brief rundown of the types of residences you’re most likely to encounter during a home search in Hampton Roads:

    SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES
    Officially defined as a residential structure that includes only one dwelling, single-family homes are readily available in most of Hampton Roads neighborhoods. However, buyers should be prepared to pay a premium for the extra land, privacy, square footage and outdoor space a single-family home affords. The variety of single-family homes in Hampton Roads is vast and includes ranch, condos, modern homes and multi-million dollar mansions.

    TOWN HOMES
    Town homes are multi-level dwellings that share at least one ­common wall with a neighboring home, which typically has a similar façade. In some areas of Hampton Roads, where land costs are high, town homes tend to be more affordable than single-family homes since they use land more ­efficiently. Likewise, the common walls and roofs of town homes lessen construction costs for developers. Town homes are usually ­low-maintenance and offer buyers many of the features they would typically find in a single-family home, such as ample living space, a private garage and an outdoor area. Town home buyers enjoy the benefits of a strong ­community.

    LIVING GREEN
    Just as recycling gradually became a part of our everyday lives, “green” features in Hampton Roads homes are becoming more and more common, thanks to demand from homebuyers who want to ad­dress their concern for the environment in their every day-to-day ­living.

    Encouraging this trend toward green building is the United States Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and ­Environmental Design) rating system, which certifies both residential and commercial buildings for meeting environmentally responsible design and construction standards.

    Although LEED-certified residences are still somewhat rare, most ­developers agree that the eco-friendly building techniques and features ­endorsed by the Council will soon be the standard in ­new-construction homes. In the meantime, homebuyers in Hampton Roads can choose from plentiful housing options that offer many of the same features that ­contribute to LEED certification, such as:

    • A location near public transportation.
    • Building materials containing recycled content.
    • Renewable energy sources such as solar power.
    • Energy-efficient windows, appliances and heating and cooling systems.
    • Plumbing fixtures that reduce overall water use.
    • Rapidly renewing or recycled materials for interior finishes, such as ­bamboo flooring, wool carpet, and countertops made from ­recycled metal or glass.
    • Low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, carpet adhesives and ­sealants, which limit emission of volatile organic compounds and thereby promote a healthier indoor environment.
    • Native vegetation in landscaped areas or on a green roof.
    • A landscape irrigation system that recycles rainwater.
    • Facilities for storage and collection of recyclables.

    If green features are important to you, talk to your Kris Weaver Team agent. We’ll help you find a housing option that fits your needs.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    Making an Offer

    Chances are, when you find a home you absolutely love, ­someone else may love it too. So it’s important to act quickly and make an ­educated ­offer based on a rational approach to pricing and ­negotiating that you and your agent have discussed. To start the process rolling, your agent will draw up a contract that includes your offering price and other terms and ­contingencies. Buyers often focus on price, but there are other important terms to a real estate ­contract. You can include any terms you like, but the more you add, the more likely the seller is to object. Here are the most ­common ­elements of a real estate contract:

    PRICE
    The market will determine the final price, but your agent will help you ­formulate an offer based on comparable listings and sales, and ­current market conditions.

    MORTAGE CONTINGENCY
    A mortgage contingency stipulates that you will buy the home ­subject to obtaining a mortgage. If you cannot obtain a ­mortgage, and the seller will not agree to finance the sale, then the ­contract will be void. The terms of the mortgage must be stated in the ­contract, and you will also need to establish a timeframe for ­securing financing.

    HOME INSPECTION CONTINGENCY
    A thorough inspection of the property by a licensed home ­inspector ­protects you against structural or material problems that are not ­detectable in a casual “walk-through”. Home inspections are just as ­important in new construction as they are in resale. Obviously, ­buyers can’t inspect a home that isn’t built yet, but they can request an ­inspection prior to closing. In new construction, an inspector will make sure that all mechanical systems are ­working properly. They may also spot repairs that need to be added to the builder’s punch list (a list of items that need to be completed). The buyer, not the seller, is responsible for hiring and paying the ­inspector.

    EARNEST MONEY
    Earnest money is a deposit, given by the buyer to the seller, which secures the contract until the closing. An initial deposit, ­usually in the form of a check, must be given to the seller or seller’s agent along with the contract. Earnest money is typically held in an escrow account until the closing, when it may be applied to the down payment and/or ­closing costs. If the sale does not go through due to contingencies covered within the contract, then the earnest money may be returned to the buyer. However, if a buyer is in breach of contract, then a seller may be entitle to keep all or a portion of the earnest money.

    CLOSING DATE
    One of the most important terms of a real estate contract is the ­closing date – the date when ownership changes hands. This is usually, but not always, the date that the seller must vacate and the buyer may ­occupy the property. Flexibility on the closing date can give a buyer a big ­advantage over other potential buyers. ­Occasionally, it can also allow you to negotiate a lower price or other, more favorable terms.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    Negotiating Counteroffers

    In many transactions, there is a fair amount of negotiation – offers and ­counteroffers – before both parties are satisfied. This is one aspect of a real estate transaction in which an agent is invaluable. Not only can an agent draw upon his or her experience and market knowledge to offer sound advice during a negotiation, but he or she can also serve as a buffer ­between the buyer and the seller’s agent. Negotiating for a home can be a highly charged and ­emo­­tional process. But the most emotional buyer will look like one cool ­customer behind the right agent, and in the end, you ­usually wind up with what’s important to you.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    Contract to Closing

    In a real estate transaction, there are dozens of loose ends to tie up, ­between signing the contract and closing the sale. The Kris Weaver Team is known for our attention to detail during this important phase in which we coordinate and oversee the following steps:

    • Deliver earnest money to the seller’s agent.
      Recommend and schedule a home inspector and accompany the buyer on the inspection. It is always highly recommended that the buyer ­attend the inspection along with his or her Kris Weaver Team agent in order to make sure that any issues that come up are ­properly relayed and ­addressed.
    • Recommend real estate attorneys.
    • Obtain important documents, such as property disclosure forms and ­condominium documents (budget, declaration, condo ­association ­minutes), and deliver them to the buyer and buyer’s real estate attorney.
    • Recommend mortgage brokers and help expedite the ­loan-application process.
    • Monitor all contingencies to ensure that they have been met.
    • Recommend service providers for moving, home-improvement and ­repairs.
    • Schedule a final walk-through. Again, both buyer and buyer’s agent should be present.
    • Coordinate and attend your closing.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    Closing

    Your Kris Weaver Team agent will work closely with you, your ­lender, your real estate attorney, and the seller’s agent to make sure ­everything is in place for a smooth and efficient closing.

    Typically, a day or two prior to the closing, your lender will forward all loan documentation to the title company and let you know the amount required to close. You will be responsible for bringing the balance of your down ­payment and closing costs (such as lender fees, title company fees, and state and city transfer taxes) to the closing in the form of a cashier’s check. At the closing, your ­attorney will guide you through the many documents you need to sign, ­including the bill of sale, the deed and the affidavit of title.

    The Kris Weaver Team’s  goal is to provide you with the information you need to feel confident at your closing. If you have questions about your closing, contact your agent at any time.

    In addition, if you have an existing home to sell, The Kris Weaver Team will customize a comprehensive marketing program to help you achieve the highest possible sales price in the shortest amount of time. For more ­information, ask your Kris Weaver Team agent or visit www.KrisWeaver.com.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    After you Buy

    While your transaction is complete, our work is not. In fact, The Kris Weaver Team maintains relationships with our clients long after ­closing. We are always glad to help you find a variety of service ­providers and tradesmen to perform work on your home or make life a little easier.

    As you’re getting settled into your new home, here are a few ­situations you may encounter in the coming months and years that are important to think about.

    REBUILDING  YOUR  SAVINGS AND MAINTAINING
    FINANCIAL DISCIPLINE
    Buyers should definitely take the time to review and evaluate their ­finances after a home purchase. One important step to consider is setting up an automatic electronic payment with your mortgage lender, which lets you avoid costly penalties associated with late payments.

    Also, make a plan for gradually rebuilding your savings account, which many buyers deplete in order to make their down payment and pay for ­moving costs. As a homeowner, it’s more important than ever to have a cash reserve set aside for unanticipated maintenance that your home may require. In fact, a general rule of thumb is that ­homeowners should ­expect to spend about 1 to 3 percent of the cost of their home per year on ­maintenance and repairs.
    REFINANCING
    Keep an eye on interest rates even after you purchase your home. If rates go down, you may be able to save money by refinancing, which simply means you take out a new mortgage at a lower ­interest rate to replace your original loan. Another common situation that calls for refinancing is the ­expiration of the initial, fixed-rate period on an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM). If prevailing fixed rates are ­substantially lower than the rate your ARM will carry once it adjusts, then it might make sense to refinance into a fixed-rate loan.

    Today, many lenders offer no-cost refinancing, which basically means they take the costs and fees associated with refinancing and roll them into the interest rate. It’s a way for homeowners to lower their monthly payment with little or no money out of pocket.

    While refinancing a mortgage has become much easier in ­recent years, it is still a major financial transaction with important ­implications. So be just as diligent in a refinance as you were in securing your original mortgage. Your Kris Weaver Team agent will happily refer you to a mortgage professional to help you determine the right time to refinance.

    HOME IMPROVEMENT
    Whether it’s a fresh coat of paint, new hardwood floors or a ­major kitchen remodel, most new homeowners have at least a few ­projects they want to undertake once they move in. Your Kris Weaver Team agent can help you find a variety of service providers and tradesmen to perform work on your home.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    Financing your new Home

    Mortgages:

    As your Realtor®, it is our responsibility to arm you with the very best information, resources and advice you need to successfully complete your transaction. So when it comes to financing your home ­purchase, The Kris Weaver Team is here to answer your questions and point you in the direction of a reliable mortgage professional.

    Over the past decade, the proliferation of mortgage products has made it easier than ever for people to own a home, but it has also given home ­buyers a whole new set of choices to grapple with. Fortunately, our agents will work in tandem with your loan officer to make sure the financing ­process runs as smoothly as possible.

    As one of Hampton Roads top real estate teams, The Kris Weaver Team has relationships with a number of top mortgage brokers and bankers, from large institutions to boutique lenders. We’re happy to make a referral if you need one.

    Online, at www.KrisWeaver.com, our Mortgage Center will also help you approach the mortgage process with insight and confidence. Whether you are a first-time or repeat buyer, the Mortgage Center features valuable information and resources, including interest rates; information on getting pre- approved and ordering your credit score; and FAQs.

    Following are some mortgage basics:

    PRE-APPROVAL
    A mortgage pre-approval is one of the most important steps in the ­home-buying process, and one that should be performed before you begin your search. Here’s why.

    • First, a pre-approval lets you know exactly how much you can ­afford. Your time is valuable, and you don’t want to waste it looking at ­properties outside of your price range. That doesn’t only apply to homes that are too expensive. Uniformed buyers underestimate their buying power just as often as they overestimate it.
    • Second, a pre-approval demonstrates to potential sellers that you are a willing and able buyer. Most sellers would rather accept a lower offer from a bona fide buyer than risk a higher bid from someone who is not pre-approved.
    • Finally, getting pre-approved before you begin your home search gives you an important head start on the process of securing an actual loan commitment. Keep in mind there are important differences between being pre-qualified, ­pre-approved and approved for a mortgage.

    Pre-Qualification: Pre-qualification is an informal assessment of your ­borrowing power based on information you provide to a lender. ­Actual financial documents are not used or verified when determining this ­estimate.

    Pre-Approval: Pre-approval is an estimate of the amount you can borrow based on a lender’s verification of your financial ­documents, employment and credit history.  While a pre-approval is adequate backup to enter into a real estate contract, it is not an actual loan commitment.

    Approval: Approval is the actual, written loan commitment, which states that the lender has verified and appraised the property, ­verified your ­financial information, and will issue a loan for a ­specified amount.

    CREDIT SCORES
    Today, most mortgage lenders use consumer credit scores as the key ­measure for evaluating borrowers. A credit score is an objective ­appraisal of your credit risk, based on past credit activity. Scores range from a low of 300 to a high of 850, and lenders equate a higher score with less risk – and better terms for the borrower. Since your credit score is based on several factors, including your payment history, outstanding credit obligations and the length of time you have these obligations, there are steps you can take to maintain a high score or improve a low score.

    • Pay bills on time.
    • Maintain low balances on credit cards and other revolving credit.
    • Payoff debt rather than moving it from one card to another.
    • Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed.
    • Maintain some open credit.
    • If you miss payments or run into problems, take steps to ­re-establish a good track record as soon as possible.
    • Contact a professional financial planner for a long term plan.

    For more information on credit scores, visit www.myfico.com
    and www.truecredit.com.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    KrisWeaver.com

    Today, approximately 80 percent of home searches begin on the ­Internet, and if you’re searching for a home in Hampton Roads, ­there’s only one web address you need to know: www.KrisWeaver.com, Hampton Roads’ ultimate home search.

    Our web site includes tools, tips and access to all of the Hampton Roads properties listed in the MLS. Best of all, you’re in control. Sign up for a Kris Weaver Team agent to customize and manage your search, receive e-mail updates on new listings as they become available, conduct several searches at once and save ­properties. Kris Weaver.com also serves as a portal to Hampton Roads’ ­largest ­selection of quality new-construction ­developments featuring ­thousands of new homes.

    PHOTO GALLERY

    All Kris Weaver Team listings are featured with a photo gallery.

    FREE CLIENT MOVING TRUCK

    The Kris Weaver Real Estate Team provides our clients with free use of our full-sized moving truck. Let us make the process of moving just a little easier.