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Your Grand Rapids Area Real Estate Handbook

by Mark Brace

While spring may seem to be off to a sluggish start, homebuyers are growing increasingly confident in the local real estate market and eager to buy a new home. More Grand Rapids homebuyers will begin their home search this season and more sellers will decide to list their properties— for both parties, it's important to keep in mind a few real estate guidelines. So whether this is your first-time buying a home or your fifth, below are a few real estate rules (like consulting with your Grand Rapids real estate agent) to remember as you take advantage of this exciting time in the market:

Consult Your Agent

Your Michigan real estate agent is on your side, so ask your questions! This is likely the biggest purchase you will ever make and you'll want someone in your corner, an experienced professional who's done this before. I will work on your behalf and navigate the entire transaction with your best interests in mind. According to the National Association of Realtors, "nearly 90% of homebuyers use a real estate agent or broker." Think of your Grand Rapids real estate agent as your communication hub, all questions and concerns should go through them and don't be afraid to ask. With my help and experience, we can find you a home that fits your needs and at the right price.

Think Before You Offer

Making an offer on a Grand Rapids home is a big step, but don't be too quick to rush into your home purchase. Do the research and know what you can afford. It is wise to begin with a pre-approval letter, which means that a lender has vetted your credit and financial situation and is still willing to go through with the mortgage process. This letter is key; it will tell both the home seller and your agent exactly how much you can afford and show that you are serious about purchasing the home.

Earnest Money

Once you have your pre-approval letter in hand and are ready to submit an offer, you can make a deposit in your future with earnest money. You're moving along in the Grand Rapids real estate process and are ready to show the seller that you have the funds to back up the offer. It comes down to the "deposit" or earnest money you will put down on the property. When buying a home in Grand Rapids, it is customary that you put this money down to show you are serious about the purchase; it is typically 1-2% of the purchase price. 

Tour the Home

You've probably found a list of homes for sale in Grand Rapids that you're interested in and are ready to move forward. One of the most important real estate rules to remember is to tour the home in person. You should tour the home to see for youself if it is a good fit for yourself and your family— there is a chance a home may just not feel like the right one. Homebuying tends to be an emotional experience and you will want to begin by placing yourself directly inside the property, not just in front of your computer screen.

I happily serve the areas of Grand Rapids, Kent County, Forest Hills, East Grand Rapids, Cascade, Ada, Rockford, Northview, Grandville, Kentwood, Caledonia, Walker, Cedar Springs, Sparta, Belmont, Comstock Park, Byron Center, Wyoming, Alpine, Kenowa Hills, Plainfield, Cannon, Lowell, Sand Lake, Jenison, Hudsonville, Wayland, Belmont, Alto and Kent City

Mark Brace

Brace Homes

Realtor, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES, e-pro, AHWD, SFR

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate

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What You Need to Buy Grand Rapids Real Estate

by Mark Brace

Especially if you're a first-time homebuyer, it may be exciting to hit the ground running this spring and begin your home search for properties in the Grand Rapids area. But don't get too carried away— there are a few tasks to cross off your list before you make that big Grand Rapids real estate purchase. According to AOL Real Estate, "Getting a loan right now is a lot easier than it has been, [but] getting a home right now is brutally different." You should make sure you're fully prepared before you take off on your real estate journey and your finances are the first place to start. They are everything you will need to buy a home in Grand Rapids— here are just a few aspects of your finances to spring clean this season:

To Do: Round Up the Documents

You will soon learn, or if you've purchased a home before then you know, that buying real estate requires quite a bit of paperwork and specific documents. Many of these will come from you— so be prepared with everything you need. Round up the documents— these may be W-2's, tax returns, or tax forms like a 1099 if you're self-employed, any document or form to show your income over the past few years. In fact, the more assets you can show, the better. Lenders will want to know you have the ability to repay the loan, in addition to mortgage insurance. Many will even want to see a set of "reserves," or savings that can cover more than one mortgage payment. Two months or more of these "reserve" funds will show a lender you are prepared to make your payments and will be in good shape when they begin assessing your financial situation.

To Do: File Your Taxes

It's tax time, but don't be late on filing your returns! Many of the important documents associated with buying a home in Grand Rapids will come from your tax returns, both past and present. Why? Mortgage lenders like to take a look at your tax returns to prove your income. When you file on time, you are on track to showing a lender you're ready to make that purchase. But no matter if you owe taxes and are making payments now, or if you're planning to file an extension, the lender will still want to see the documents, so have them at the ready when your Grand Rapids home search begins to progress.

To Do: Find Your Credit Score

It's the season for spring cleaning and you shouldn't leave out your finances. Now is the time to do some research on your credit score— this way you can find and fix any errors that may come up before you purchase a Grand Rapids home. Errors on your credit report do happen and it's important you take the time to fix them before you begin the serious homebuying process. Depending on the error, these can often tax months to correct, so get a head start this spring.

To Do: Talk to Your Grand Rapids Realtor

You've taken the steps to prepare your finances, you've spot checked and cleaned your credit score, and you've got a few homes or even the neighborhood in mind. Next up is speaking with your Grand Rapids real estate agent to get the ball rolling. Do not rely solely on the internet as your primary source for Grand Rapids area real estate, your agent is key! The market is changing and your agent, as a local expert, will be able to fill you in on the status of the market in your area. Feel free to contact me this season as you prepare to buy a home in the Grand Rapids area, I'm happy to help! I can work with you through the entire process and fill you in on more steps to take to ensure real estate success. 

I look forward to speaking with you!

I happily serve the areas of Grand Rapids, Kent County, Forest Hills, East Grand Rapids, Cascade, Ada, Rockford, Northview, Grandville, Kentwood, Caledonia, Walker, Cedar Springs, Sparta, Belmont, Comstock Park, Byron Center, Wyoming, Alpine, Kenowa Hills, Plainfield, Cannon, Lowell, Sand Lake, Jenison, Hudsonville, Wayland, Belmont, Alto and Kent City

Mark Brace

Brace Homes

Realtor, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES, e-pro, AHWD, SFR

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate

New Listing Alerts

Search My Listings

Contact Me

Displaying blog entries 1-2 of 2

Contact Information

Mark Brace, Realtor, ABR, GRI, CRS, SRES, e-PRO, A
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate
3000 East Beltline NE
Grand Rapids MI 49525
Direct: (616) 447-7025
Cell: (616) 540-7705
Fax: (616) 447-7025

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Michigan Real Estate is a full service, locally operated real estate brokerage company backed by the strength of a solid national and global brand. Our full service businesses include Residential, Commercial, Relocation, Mortgage, Insurance, Home Services and New Homes & Land. Our core values, service philosophy, cutting edge technology, and most importantly our people are what make us the leading real estate company in Michigan. We are committed to providing the highest quality real estate services possible and making each customer's experience one that surpasses their expectations.