The Buying Process
For first-time home buyers, the housing search can seem daunting and overwhelming – where do you even start? It is very important that you have the right agent in your corner . . . someone who knows every town neighborhood, street, school and market status. Kathy Kulik is this kind of experienced agent. As a resident of Glen Ridge for 35 years, she provides unsurpassed local market knowledge about every detail in Essex County. With her expertise, your housing search can become a fun and exciting experience, with your new home as the grand prize at the end.
Steps for Buying1. Initial meeting: In this no-obligation meeting, Kathy will review your family’s current and potential future needs for a new house (e.g., number of bedrooms and bathrooms, kitchen size, property size) and amenities (e.g., school needs, commute requirements, local entertainment, recreation programs) to help select towns to target. Budget plays a large role in this discussion, so it is a good idea to consult a mortgage calculator, as well as getting pre-approved for your mortgage. Most sellers require this pre-approval to validate a house contract, so you will need to do this anyway. Kathy has a list of recommended mortgage lenders she can provide.
2. Regular updates on available homes: Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a specific town (or even neighborhood), Kathy will send regular updates with existing and new homes coming to the market. She also has convenient mobile app that you can download onto your phone so you can search for houses anywhere, anytime. This app is much more reliable than Zillow searches, which are often delayed in recognizing homes already under contract.
Kathy is proactive about finding house options through MLS, but also uses long-standing relationships in the area to coordinate private sales.
3. Home Visits: This is the exciting part . . . seeing all the potential houses that could be your new home! But it can also be overwhelming. Kathy recognizes how busy you are (and that you may be traveling from outside this area), so she will preview homes before setting up appointments to make sure a house meets your criteria.
4. Making an Offer: Once you’re found the “perfect” house, Kathy will work with you to negotiate the price with the owners. In some cases, this may be a fair offer based on comparable homes in the area. However in some towns like Glen Ridge and Montclair, there may be multiple bidders, and Kathy’s local market knowledge and negotiating experience will guide you to making a financially wise offer without overpaying for the home.
Once your offer has been accepted, there are several additional steps required to get to the final closing.
5. Contingencies: There are several steps home buyers must complete to make sure the house is a sound investment. Kathy is involved with all the steps of this process to ensure your interests are protected, as well as time-sensitive deadlines are met. She also has a list of attorneys, mortgage lenders and vendors who can assist with each step.
- Attorney Review: During this time, either party can walk away from the offer with no penalty. Both the buyer and seller’s attorneys draw up an official contract that will include the negotiated price, closing date and any previous agreed-upon stipulations.
- Home Inspection: The house will be checked from top to bottom, including electrical, plumbing, heating/AC, appliances, roof and the exterior structure and foundation. Once the inspection report comes back, Kathy will review it will you and determine what items must be repaired before closing, which items need further inspections and repair estimates, and which items can be left as is. Generally the seller has the option to repair critical items or provide a negotiated credit to be issued at closing.
- Appraisal: An independent appraiser will determine how much the house is really worth by comparing it to other similar homes on a number of features like lot size, square footage, etc. Banks require this step to ensure the mortgage does not exceed the value of the house.
- Mortgage commitment: Kathy has recommended mortgage lenders or you may work with your own. Either way, Kathy will work with you to ensure all deadlines are met.
“Buying a home in Montclair is like buying in no other town. The market is tight for good homes and there is more often than not a bidding war on the better ones. Having Kathy for an agent to advise and guide us through the difficult process of acquisition made the difference for us in getting the home we wanted. She is knowledgeable, always available and constantly working to get us the home of our dreams. Her high integrity and superb professionalism is unmatched among her peers. We would recommend her to anyone looking to buy or sell a home.”
– Drs. Barry and Cheryl C., Montclair