Ready to buy a new home?
Every personal situation is different; we take the time to sit down with you and listen and understand you’re your situation and your goals and dreams. We talk about the market, the best financing and different options to consider for you and your family with respect to quality of life and your long term goals.
We can help make sense of it all.
Clients always tell us that the meeting was tremendously helpful and time very well spent. We have no expectations other than answering your questions – and weather you want to buy a new house right now or in a few years, we’d love to take the time and speak with you about it.
Need help navigating a new home purchase?
Our 25+ page buyers guide is packed with information about finding, financing, inspecting and closing on your dream home. It also gives you an overview about the market and explains the lingo and common real estate terms. The guide is updated 4 times a year, because keeping current matters! Be an educated Buyer – and start here with a FREE BUYERS GUIDE.
Tired of searching aimlessly all over the internet for your new home?
Keller Williams powerful search engine gives you access to all listed inventory in one place. You can set up a free account to save your searches. You can even compare walk scores, school ratings, and neighborhood demographics for different listings.
Buying a home is a big step! Whether you’re buying your first home, your dream home, or your tenth investment property, yours will be a big investment. We know how important this is to you, and we take the time to find the perfect property for you. We know the market and have a passion real estate. We usually start out with a meeting at our office to talk about you and your goals, as well as the market the entire process – step by step – so you feel comfortable and confident.
We will also hook you up with the best lenders in town, home inspectors, contractors and moving experts. Weather you are planning on buying now or next year, the sooner we talk the more we can help
Milwaukee Is Trending
You could not have picked a better time to move to Milwaukee! Named “Top 15 emerging downtowns” by Forbes, “Greatest Foodie City” buy the Huffington Post and “Midwest coolest city” by Voge, “Top Urban Beaches” by US Today and “#1 Emerging Travel Destination” by Airbnb! The city is reinventing itself with over 5 Billion Dollars invested recently in a new downtown skyline along Lake Michigan’s pristine shore line.
First Time Home Buyers
Everything you need to know about home inspections
We have a number of home inspectors we know and trust, because we have seen them do a consistently great job for our clients.
Here are a few things that are important when choosing a home inspector:
- you want someone with experience and track record – of course
- you want someone with a teacher’s heart, who is happy to answer all your questions
- a great inspector not only identifies potential issues, but can also offer perspective and talk about potential solutions
- a good inspection report is very detailed, often 40 pages, with detailed easy to understand descriptions and lots of pictures
A great and self explaining inspection report is subsequently very important for negotiations, so the seller, who is typically not present for the inspection, can get a good understanding of the issues.
A home inspector is a paid professional, often a contractor or an engineer, who checks the safety of a home. Home inspectors search for defects or other problems that could become your worst nightmare later on. They focus particularly on the home’s structure, construction, and mechanical systems.
It is not the inspector’s job to determine whether you are getting good value for your money. He does not establish value, but does provide you with piece of mind by making sure your home is safe and pointing out areas of concern.
On top of the down payment you also have additional closing costs:
- Home Inspection: almost all offers will have a home inspection contingency, to make sure you know the property is in good condition. Depending on size and type of property. A professional home inspection with a licensed home inspector will cost about $500 for a single family home. We have great inspectors we can recommend.
- Appraisal: while the bank is ordering the appraisal to verify that you are not over-paying for your loan, they will ask you to pay for it. Typically about $400
- Fee’s and closing costs: your lender will provide a worksheet for those. These can vary from lender to lender. Sometimes lenders with super-low rates will have higher fees.
You should also consider the expenses you will have after closing:
- moving expenses
- expenses for new furniture or equipment, like appliances or a lawn mower
- remodeling and upgrades
After you’ve figured out what you can or are willing to afford on a monthly basis, it’s a great idea to sit down with a lender and get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will make your home search easier by narrowing your focus and will prevent you from falling in love with a home that is outside of your price range.
Choosing the right lender is important:
- a broad selection of loan products
- great rates
- low fees and closing costs
- available and easy to work with
- has a good reputation with seller’s agents
The last point is often overlooked, but will frequently make the difference between an accepted offer or a rejected offer. With price being equal or close, sellers will often look at the source of funding as a factor to determine which offer to accept. Listing agents often have a lot of painful experiences with certain lenders, who were difficult to work with – or worst case, killed a deal. Choosing the right lender can often give you a competitive advantage in a multiple offer situation.
Aside of the lender it also makes a big difference who your loan officer is: a great loan officer has in depth knowledge on a wide variety of loan options and can help you choose the best one, including attractive, but lesser known programs like USDA or WHEDA. A great loan officer also knows how to navigate all the financing obstacles like underwriting, appraisal and inspection issues to make sure you will close successfully and on time.
5 things you will typically need when applying for a loan:
- your last 2 tax returns
- your last 2 pay stubs or other from of income
- your last 2 months bank statements (verification of income, expenses and down payment – must be seasoned)
- credit history (lender will run your credit)
- photo ID
Pre-Approval Letter vs Pre-Qualification
After review of the 5 items listed above the lender can now issue an a pre-approval letter, which will become part of any offer you make to demonstrate to the seller that your confirmed ability to purchase and finance the property.
Many online lenders allow you to self-certify and print a pre-qualification letter. Because nobody has reviewed your financial situation or ability to obtain financing, it is pretty worthless in the eyes of a savvy seller.
Things NOT to do after you have your pre-approval letter:
- do NOT apply for new credit, lease a new car
- do NOT make major purchases
- do NOT pay off your debt without consulting with your loan officer
- do NOT co-sign loans
- do NOT change jobs, inform your loan officer of any changes
- do NOT fall behind on bills, protect your FICO score
At this point you’ll want to sit down and figure out exactly what type of home you’re looking for. A simple way to do this is by making 2 different lists: a list of what you need from a home, and a list of things that you want from your home. The list of things that you need will include all of the features that are necessary for you and your family to function comfortably during your daily life. Things such as the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, or a one storey home if accessibility is a factor. The list of things that you need will include features that you would like to have but that aren’t absolutely necessary, such as a pool or a den.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you are organized for your home search by doing some research on what area you’d like to live in. Look at all of the aspects of the location you are considering and the surrounding area: is it attractive based on your proximity to work, schools and amenities such as grocery stores, parks, commuter routes, etc.? Keep a detailed map on hand and highlight your areas of interest. Knowing what you need and what you want from a home, as well as what area will suit your lifestyle best will make searching for your new home easier and less stressful.
It can be very helpful to discuss these things with a professional and obtain additional perspectives, for example market inventory vs what you are looking for, or resale value of certain property types over time. During our initial buyer consultation we will review your wish list with you and help validate your assumptions.
The purchase of a home is one of the biggest and most exciting investments that you will make. This purchase will affect your family, your finances, and your lifestyle. For a decision this important you want to make sure that you have an experienced professional on your side who can guide you through the process and protect your best interests along the way.
Best of all, it’s free to you: the commission of the agent representing you as a buyer are paid for by the seller. This is regulated by the listing contract between the listing agent and the seller – part of that contract is that they offer to pay for the buyer’s agent. Hint: you can ask the listing agent to write an offer for you, but be aware that Wisconsin State Law as well as their listing contract requires the listing agent to work in the best interest of the seller.
Once you enter into an agency relationship with a Realtor, you obtain client status with that agent. This means that in addition to the duties an agent owes to all parties, the agent now owes fiduciary duties to the client. The agent role is now to work for the buyer’s best interest; to educate, advise and negotiate for the client.
Things you should expect from a great buyers agent:
- is listening careful to your what and why
- is suggesting options you may not have not considered
- is advising on financing options, knows the best lenders in town, can help with buy-first-or-sell-first questions
- is educating you about the market and how to get the best deals
- is showing you properties and has a deep understanding of construction issues
- is researching the property and can provide additional facts and data
- is determining fair market value for a property you are interested in, so you know if the asking price is fair
- is drafting and negotiating your contract
- is consulting with you on home inspection issues and negotiates repairs or concessions
- is managing the process from accepted offer to closing
- is there to answer all your questions, so you feel comfortable with the entire process