Earnest Money – an earnest payment (sometimes called earnest money or simply earnest, or alternatively a good-faith deposit) is a deposit towards the purchase of real estate or publicly tendered government contract made by a buyer or registered contractor to demonstrate that he/she is serious (earnest) about wanting to complete the purchase.
When a buyer makes an offer to buy residential real estate, he/she generally signs a contract and pays a sum acceptable to the seller by way of earnest money. The amount varies enormously, depending upon local custom and the state of the local market at the time of contract negotiations.
An Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) is simply held by a third-party escrow company according to the terms of the executed purchase contract.
However, the typical arrangement in a purchase transaction is for the seller to cover the buyer’s agent commission. In some cases where a new home developer or For Sale By Owner is listing a property and offering a lower price to deal direct, it is still a good idea to have an agent in your corner to protect your financial and investment interests.
Considering that some buyers may see 5-7 real estate transactions in a lifetime, compared to an agent that closes the same amount in a month, it is obvious to see that there is a big advantage to having the ability to rely on that experience when your home and security is on the line.
A mortgage professional (loan officer, mortgage planner, loan consultant, etc.) is the glue that holds the entire transaction together (biased comment).
In addition to establishing the purchase price and monthly payment a borrower can qualify for, the mortgage team will also need to communicate with all of the other players on the home buying team throughout the entire process.
To highlight a few details your mortgage team is paying attention to:
Initial pre-qualification to determine purchase price / loan amount
Explain all loan program options that may fit your investment goals
Collecting / organizing loan approval documents
Watching economic indicators that influence daily rate changes
Communicating with title / escrow officers
Submitting loan package to underwriting departments
Updating disclosure / GFE paperwork within proper time frames
Following funding through the final recording
Tracking inspections, insurance and other lending requirements
Post closing rate / program monitoring (although that might just be us)
When you have found the home that you like, it is a wise idea to have a professional take a look at the home to see if there are any issues with the property that could be a problem in the future.
Even though some buyers have an “Uncle Joe” who has owed several homes and knows what to look for, a certified Home Inspector can be money well spent.
They will look at the functionality of the home to make sure the electrical, plumbing and physical aspects of the home are strong, which will help the buyer make an educated decision about following through with the purchase, or renegotiating certain aspects of the contract.
Keep in mind, the home inspector and appraiser have different jobs. An appraiser determines value, while the inspector looks for structural problems, defects or maintenance issues.
The inspector is doing this strictly for the buyer’s sake. The lender is not concerned if a faucet has a minor leak as long as the property is worth the sales price. Therefore, the lender generally does not require an inspection unless the purchase contract requires one.
So, an inspection is not required, but it is recommended. As a matter of fact, one of the forms in an FHA application package is one that says “For Your Protection: Get a Home Inspection.”
While the appraiser is typically never seen by the home buyer, an appraisal is obviously an important component of a home purchase transaction.
The appraiser will conduct an analysis of the property to determine the current market value. The bank will always require an appraisal, and in some cases need a second opinion of value if the program guidelines or loan amount require it.
Appraisers compare the sales prices of similar properties sold in the neighborhood and surrounding areas with the subject property.
This can be a very tricky process, especially if there are few properties to choose from, or if there is an overwhelming amount of foreclosures and short sale listings.
Now, since two homes are rarely identical, the appraiser has the difficult job of trying to compare apples to apples; sometimes red delicious to yellow delicious, or sometimes Fuji to Winesap.
When done, the estimate of value is given. If that value is below the purchase price, then negotiation may take place. If it is at or above the purchase price, we are ready to go forward.
If you have any questions about assembling a great professional team when purchasing a home in Idaho feel free to contact me.