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Step 6 to Buying a Home: Making An Offer

Fabulous! You’ve found the perfect home and want to put in an offer. Before we can put an offer in on a home, there are a few things we need you to email to me:

Full legal name:   Please email us the full legal name of anyone who will be on the contract as well as their phone number and email address.  The legal name has to match what is on your driver’s license as you’ll need to show your driver’s license or passport at closing and this name needs to match what is on the contract.

Initial offer price:  What initial price do you want to offer for the home?  Let’s have a discussion about the sale to list price in the neighborhood if we haven’t already as that will tell you a lot about whether you should expect to pay below asking price, asking price, or above asking price based on today’s market. I will also email you comps to review and give you my opinion as to what the home is worth.

Your walk away price:   Don’t expect to pay your initial offer price as it’s extremely rare for a seller to accept your initial offer without some negotiating back and forth.  That’s why it’s called an initial offer. In addition to deciding what offer you want to put in to start, you need to decide now how much you’re willing to pay for this property and what your walk away price is before thing get heated and emotional.

Closing date:  Typically in Central PA, closing takes place around 45 to 60 days from contract acceptance. Closings can only take place Mon – Fri; they cannot take place on weekends or bank holidays when the banks are closed, or after traditional business office hours.

Sometimes you can ask for a longer closing date (60 – 90 days) depending on the seller’s needs, but don’t expect it to be granted.  Therefore, if you want to move around July 1, plan on putting in offers May 10 – 15. While some local lenders we use can do closings faster (usually 21 days is the fastest a closing can be done with a mortgage), most lenders can’t close that fast and need 30 – 45 days.  If you want to close faster than 30 days please let me know as we’ll need to direct you particular lenders in town who are capable of closing quickly.

If you’re not getting a loan and are paying 100% cash you can close as quickly as 14 days. 

Before putting in an offer, please email me what exact date you want to close on the home (remember it has to be a Mon – Fri). We don’t recommend closing on a Monday as Monday closings increase your chances of wire fraud issues.  Usually we cannot specify a specific time for the closing as that depends on when the attorneys and title company are available so plan to take the entire day off of work as a closing time won’t be assigned until 2-3 days before closing. Closings can take place anytime from 9am – 4pm and usually take 2-3 hours. If you cannot attend closing, we need to know that 2-3 weeks in advance so we can ask the lender to approve a Power of Attorney so a family member or your attorney can sign the documents on your behalf.

Earnest money:  How much earnest money are you comfortable putting down on this property? Typically, contracts in Central PA ask for 1 to 3% of the purchase price as earnest money.  The lower the price, typically the lower the earnest money required.  IF you are paying cash, the traditional earnest money deposit required is 10% of the sales price.

Earnest money is due within 5 CALENDAR days after you and the sellers have signed the contract.  This money is refundable if you do the inspection and decide to walk away from the contract based on the inspection results.

The earnest money is considered part of your down payment.  Therefore, if you’re planning to pay $40,000 for a down payment and you’re paying $15,000 in total earnest money then at closing you would owe an additional $25,000 for the remainder of the down payment since you already paid $15,000 up front.

Down payment:  For the contract, we need to know how much you’re going to put down for your down payment.

Closing cost credits (also known as Seller Help):  Do you want to ask the sellers to pay any of your closing costs? Generally the sellers pay their closing costs and the buyers pay their own closings costs, however, we can ask the sellers to pay some of your closing costs on top of theirs, if needed.

Home warranty:  Do you want to ask the seller to provide a home warranty on the property? If the property doesn’t have multiple offers, we always recommend asking the seller to provide you with a one year home warranty.

Contingencies:  Any other contingencies we need to be aware of? Do you need to sell your current home before we can buy this home?

Once we’ve talked through the above and you’ve emailed me your answers, I’ll write the contract and have you sign it via a program called Dotloop.  Click here to watch a video on signing documents electronically via Dotloop.  I’ll then submit it to the seller’s agent.  While negotiations sometimes go quickly, be prepared that it often takes 2-4 days to negotiate the purchase price and terms of the contract.  Every seller is different and some people can make decisions quickly whereas others need time to think things through. Patience is the name of the game once an offer has been submitted as we don’t want to look too eager as it weakens our negotiating position!

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Gina Casner

In 2016, I began my tenure in real estate as a licensed Executive Assistant for a leading real estate training coach and subsequently for high-producing real estate teams. I very quickly fell in love with real estate and by 2019, I transitioned into personally helping clients turn their dreams into keys. After dozens of transactions, I have been dubbed the “unicorn hunter,” finding out-of-the-box solutions for clients looking for a home with unique requirements. In addition to managing my real estate practice, I am involved in providing community education on responsible home ownership through my exclusive Path to Home Ownership workshop series. I also am the founder of Chronically Strong, an organization that promotes mental health awareness and suicide prevention in our local communities. I take a holistic and individualized approach to real estate. Buying or selling a home in Central PA can be complex, sophisticated and often a deeply personal endeavor. Your experience should mimic the high level of customer service all of my clients have, while being very specific to your own individual needs. I work with a team of experts to provide a full, complete experience that only a cohesive team can consistently provide. Working with us, you will be given personal attention in every aspect of your home buying and selling experience with the professionalism and consistency of a thoughtful business model. And yes, superior results will follow! On a personal note, I attribute my success not only to my passion for helping clients execute on their next “big move”, but also to my knowledge regarding the psychology of buying and selling. My clientele works in diverse industries with an emphasis on technology, finance, medicine, law, and business. My real estate practice has grown successfully and consistently thanks to the repeat business of happy clients and their introductions to friends, family and neighbors. This track record is only possible because we deliver both results AND an enjoyable experience. Growing up, my family moved frequently all across the continental U.S., but you will hear me say that I am from California because that is the longest place that I lived during my formative years. Moving became a way of life for my family and each place I lived became a part of my story. It taught me that our home truly is the foundation of everything in our lives, and it is this belief that compels me to work hard for my clients when they are buying or selling their home. In many ways, our home becomes a part of our identity, an identity and memory that should be honored. I have been accused of being tenacious and super honest. I like to win (for my clients) but do so with a calm demeanor and a smile. I live in a raised ranch home in Lower Paxton Township with my main squeeze, my teenage son, and our very spoiled dog, Ginger. I have mad faith, and truly believe that each and every one of us is capable of great things. I graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelors’ in Sociology. There is a running joke in my family that every day I go to real estate school because every day my clients teach me something new. I continually invest time, money and thought into the latest sales, marketing and negotiation techniques. Why? Because I believe that you deserve to have the best working for you. I want to live life on my own terms, and am committed to helping you do the same. Would you like to work together? Please reach out. I look forward to hearing from you! Gina

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