inside the guide
Renting vs. Owning
The Advantages of Homeownership
The Road to Buying a Home
Why We Choose Lepic-Kroeger, REALTORS®
7 Reasons to Work with a REALTOR®
We Are Zillow Premier Agents
Benefits of Representation
Understanding Your Budget
04 HOUSE HUNTING
Creating Your Wish List
Prepare for House Hunting
What if I Want to Buy a FSBO?
05 OFFERS & NEGOTIATIONS
Elements of Making an Offer
06 UNDER CONTRACT
Inspections & Remedy Requests
What to Know About the Appraisal Process
What Not to do Before Closing Day
Protect Yourself from Wire Fraud
Checklist: Your Final Walk Through
07 CLOSING DAY
Be Prepared for Closing Day
How to Pack Like a Pro
Prepare for Your Move
10 YOUR REALTOR® FOR LIFE
Renting vs. Owning
Iowa ranks as the "cheapest state to buy a house across the nation, based on an average income-to-mortgage ratio of just 10.60%.*
+ Career/Income Uncertainty
+ No Maintenance Expenses
+ Utilities (sometimes) Included
+ Tax Deductions
+ Creative Control
+ Maintenance Choices
a homeowner's net worth is 40x GREATER
than that of a renter**
*data from HUD and World Population Review, updated October 2022
**National Average (source Ruby Homes)
The Advantages of Home Ownership
The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, and some of the costs involved in buying a home.
Unlike rent, your fixed-rate mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will likely increase.
Historically, real estate has had a long-term, stable growth in value. The annual average appreciation for homes in Iowa City sits at 3.7% and 3.3% for Cedar Rapids.
The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.
Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
Remaining in one neighborhood for several years allows you and your family time to build long-lasting relationships within the community. It also offers children the benefit of educational and social continuity.
Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
The Road to Homeownership
01 LOAN APPLICATION
We recommend getting pre-qualified for a mortgage even before you start to look for a home. This way, you know the price of the home you can afford. This requires information about your income, assets and the type of mortgage you’re applying for. It’s important to supply requested information in a timely manner to ensure quick mortgage approval and a smooth home buying process.
03 HOUSE HUNTING
You can now begin to look for your new home with your real estate agent. Once you have found the right one, your REALTOR® helps negotiate the terms of the sale, including price, possession date and any seller’s concessions, if applicable.
04 SIGN MORTGAGE DISCLOSURES & LOCK INTEREST RATE
Once your offer is accepted, your Mortgage Application and Loan Estimate is revised to reflect the details of the real estate contract. Locking in an interest rate should be discussed.
05 PROCESSOR'S REVIEW
A loan processor performs a final review of your mortgage request; making sure all documents are collected and filled out correctly. Your mortgage packet is then forwarded to the mortgage company for final loan approval.
There are a variety of inspections: whole house inspection, radon, termite, and if applicable, well and septic. Your agent is a valuable resource in learning more about these inspections.
Mortgage companies require an appraisal on all home sales. The appraisal justifies the price you will pay for your new home. In the unlikely event the home does not appraise for the purchase price, you may have the ability to renegotiate your purchase agreement.
02 MORTGAGE PLANNING SESSION
This is a face to face meeting to ensure you are well educated on all the details of financing your new home and gives you an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
Mortgage companies require fire and hazard insurance on the replacement value of your new home. Flood insurance is also required if the property is located in a flood zone. Please contact your insurance provider as soon as you have a finalized offer.
09 ABSTRACT & TITLE OPINION
The abstract is a document that shows the property history and any liens it might have against it. Liens consist of mortgages, judgments, mechanic liens, etc. An attorney provides a title opinion and requires all liens clear to convey clean title before closing.
10 UNDERWRITER'S REVIEW
Based on the information sent by the loan processor, the underwriter makes the final decision to approve your mortgage. At this time additional information may be requested before final loan approval is granted.
11 FULL LOAN APPROVAL
The underwriter gives the final approval for financing and the closing time and location are chosen.
Final mortgage documents are reviewed and signed. This takes approximately one hour. If you’re required to bring funds to closing, a certified check is required. Your photo ID is also required.
02 YOUR REALTOR®
Why We Choose
The Monica Hayes Team has been providing top-notch real estate services to the community for over 10 years. Our team of experts are industry leaders, dedicated to providing our clients with the best possible service. Whether you’re buying, selling, or renting, we’ll be there to guide you every step of the way.
We are passionate about what we do and strive to make sure our clients have the best real estate experience possible. From start to finish, our team of experienced professionals will help you find the perfect home and make sure all of your needs are met.