FINANCIAL FRIDAY: Normalization of the housing market


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) – The process of buying a home can be complicated and time-consuming. We’ve also seen record prices in the past two years, making the process even more difficult for first-time home buyers.

If you are new to buying a home or just gathering information, Todd Howard, President of Redstone Title Services, has this advice to help you get started.

  • Get an agent to help narrow down the choices. You really don’t know what you don’t know and all your internet research cannot replace years of collective real world experience and local knowledge of a real estate agent and his team.
  • Get a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender. This lets the agent know you have the financial resources to actually buy a home and lets the sellers know you mean business. Also, Howard says, don’t take out any other loans while trying to buy a home! No car loans or other loans until AFTER completion.
  • Narrow down a list of properties and visit them with your agent.
  • Once you’ve found your dream home, work with your agent. When working with your agent, try to determine a reasonable offer and submit it based on market research, analysis of comparable home sales, and your agent’s experience.
  • If the offer is accepted, the next step is to proceed with a home inspection and appraisal. This usually includes a termite inspection. Termite inspections are not always required, but always recommended in the South. Don’t forget the radon test. After receipt of the inspections and estimates, additional negotiations for repairs or prices may take place based on the estimate.
  • A final inspection will be carried out prior to completion to ensure the property is in the same condition as when you made the offer.
  • Remember, Alabama is a beware or cautionary state for shoppers. That means it’s entirely up to you, the homebuyer, to figure out what’s wrong with the home. The only exception to this is when the seller or agent is aware of something that would affect the health and safety of the home. If you ask, they must also be truthful or they could be committing fraud.
  • OOnce you have signed a contract, a title company is hired to search the property’s title records and ensure that there are no legal issues with the seller or even a previous owner that could affect the title to your property. The title company will coordinate the closing and act as trustee ensuring that the funds are held securely and distributed to the right parties.
  • Redstone Title Services (a subsidiary of Redstone Federal Credit Union) recommends completing a title policy. For the most part, it’s really the only resort you have when something is overlooked with the title. Also, title companies charge different fees. Call and get the best deal.

Howard would also like to remind first-time home buyers that once you’re done, you’ll need to change utilities, change your address, and enter the property on your behalf at the county tax office. If this is your place of residence, you may be entitled to discounts such as

You can find more savings opportunities and financial tips every Friday at 12 p.m. in the “Finanzfreitag” segment of WAFF 48.

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