Jack and Jill Ask More Questions & Follow Up…The Home Buyer Checklist You’ve Been Looking for (15 of 15)

QUESTIONS“Jill I feel like the little home in the picture.  Except I feel more like Humpty Dumpty right after he fell.  I feel confused and disoriented.”  Jack said as he placed his left hand with a pointing finger to his puzzled mouth.  Just like the picture.  “Silly Jack, Humpty wasn’t confused he knew someone would come to help him and if he had some helpon the front side he probably wouldn’t have fallen off the wall in the first place.”  Jill scolded.  They laughed and began to read…… 

#14 Ask Questions and Understand the Answers

This checkpoint is more about follow up and understanding the information you receive than it is about a special laundry list of questions.  Some answers are easy, who owns the home now?  How old is the home?  How many bedrooms?  But what about the vacant land behind the home?  What about the creek around the corner?  What about the schools?  How long will my commute be?  What about that drain in the front of the home?  What about that green box in the back yard?  Can we build a pool?  Can we raise a pig?  Ok so there are a couple of questions for you to chew on.  Your REALTOR can help you find the answers to almost any question that you can come up with on a piece of real estate.  Make it a point to address your concerns before you put an offer on a home.

When your looking for your answers don’t leave it up to neighborhood gossip.  Your future neighbors may feel threatened by you so they might not give you the real scoop.  Everything on the internet is not true; so any answers you find, you’ll want to discuss with your REALTOR.  Your REALTOR may have already heard the rumors in the subdivision and know where to get the REAL answers.

If you have a question about your future home…..ask it early and get an answer.  This will be YOUR HOME so take the time for due diligence.  It is your job to ask the questions and your job to understand what those answers mean………………

DON’T WAIT TIL THE LAST MINUTE TO ASK A QUESITON.  Again ask your question(s) early and understand the answers before you move on to the next item on your list.

Well you already know how the story ends.  They followed the checklist and found their happily ever after.  Jack will no longer tumble down the hill.  He and Jill are Kind and Queens of the Hill.  That’s the end so here’s:  


1)  Get Prequalified

2)  Choose a REALTOR

3)  Learn What Costs Are Involved

4)  Search and Search Some More

5)  Keeping an Open Mind

6)   A Home That Suits Your Needs?

7)  Where Do You Want to Live?

8)  Negotiate to Buy a Home

9)  Consider a Home Protection Plan

10) Have a Home Inspection

11) Insurance For Home

12) The Appraisal

13) HUD, Funding, & Cookies OH MY!

14) Ask More Questions & Follow Up

Be on the look out for more adventures of Jack and Jill as they take on their new role as home owners.  If you would like Jack and Jill to share a specific adventure I would love to hear from you.  (email me at Scott@Scott Culberson.com)  I hope that you enjoyed our series.  Please share it with your family and friend or two and maybe YOU can help them too……

Live Life to the Fullest,

S. C.


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Jack and Jill…CD, Funding & Cookies OH MY! The Home Buyer Checklist You’ve Been Looking for (14 of 15)

Chocolate Chip CookiesJack slammed the door when he came home and their wedding picture hit the floor.  Their was a smash of glass.  They had replaced the door glass with plastic after the first time Jack slammed the door.  “Woa MR, you march right back outside and try that entrance again.”  Jill said crossly.  Jack and Jill had decided, when they were dating, that they would never bring home the frustration they had gained at work or where ever.  Sure they would talk about it, but no taking it out on the door or each other.  “Sorry dear,” Jack replied, “my day well…its’ better now that I have come in for the second time.”  And that’s one of the small things they did together that they both truly loved and respected.  So Jack closed the door gently, picked up the next checkpoint from the kitchen table and read…….

#13 What Happens Right Before You Get the Keys

Every contract has a closing date on it.  Most contracts say something like “On or before this date.”  This date is the date you have been waiting for.  It’s time for CD, Funding and Cookies…..OH MY!  WHAT? CD, Funding and Cookies, OH MY!  WHAT?   CD, Funding and Cookies…OH YES!  About a week before the special day(this timeline can vary) your title company will receive the closing instructions from your lender.  The title company takes those instructions and prepares the initial CLOSING DISCLOSURE(aka closing statement).  The CD as it’s commonly called contains all of the charges for the buyer and the seller and it’s format is uniform.  Your lender and your REALTOR will be familiar with the format and how to explain the various charges.  The preliminary CD goes to your lender and the seller.  They are both checking to make sure that all the numbers are correct.  Your lender gave the instructions to the letter.  Once the two parties agree the FINAL CD is generated.  This does not mean that the CD is perfect…you should always review your final CD; you may find that the changes you thought were being made have been missed.  Compare your CD to the Good Faith Estimate that your lender provided.  Differences can be reviewed on page number three, I believe.  The final CD tells you the amount you need to bring to the closing.  That will be in a cashiers check(certified funds) and in most cases it is payable to the title company since they distribute all the funds.  NOTE…ASK WHO TO MAKE YOUR CHECK OUT TO and get the spelling right.  If the cashiers check is wrong in name or dollar amount you will not be able to get your keys.  Some title company’s will allow you to have your closing check wired to their account instead of having bringing a cashiers check.  Wiring funds is tricky, make sure you get written instructions from the title company at least five days prior so you can execute those directions correctly.

To get your keys from here there are six final steps:

1)      Verify that you walked through the home prior to closing and that it is as you expected it to be.

2)      Receive any receipts from agreed upon repairs

3)      You present your portion of the money in the form of a cashiers check(certified funds)

4)      Your lender has wired their money to the title company and the title company has confirmed receipt (aka the file has funded)

5)      The seller signs their portion of the closing documents and presents a photo id

6)      You, the buyer(s), sign your portion of the closing documents and present your photo id(s)

It is important to note that not all closings will fund the same day, which means that you may not be able to walk away with the keys that day.  You will still own the real estate, but think about it; the Title Company has to get the money from your bank, payoff the sellers mortgage and pay the REALTORS and themselves.  Nothing is truly final until everyone gets paid.

Your closing will probably start on time, and it will take some time to get through the paperwork.  Your closer will present you the papers to sign, one by one and can explain what you are signing and answer your questions.  It’s your closing so take the time to read what you sign, don’t feel rushed.  Your closing could take a couple of hours so it’s better to take the rest of the day off from work.  Title Company’s handle the six steps above in different order and some title company’s have fresh cookies and some have gourmet coffee.  But your not buying cookies, your buying real estate.  Once all the steps have been completed—- it’s time to call all your friends and tell them what time to meet you at your old place so they can start moving boxes.

“I love me some fresh cookies,” Jack said. “Cookies or no cookies it sounds like we might need to practice signing our names so we don’t get a cramp,” Jill said with a smile.  “Jill, do you realize that this is the second to the last checkpoint,” Jack asked?  “I guess class is almost over.  We are fixing to graduate from home buyer learner to home buyer,” Jill said with a grin.  And that night they made their own fresh cookies, peanut butter, chocolate chip and a chocolate peanut butter that didn’t turn out so well. They were finding that the checkpoints were helping them to become less fearful of the home buying process.  They knew they needed help, lender, home inspector, and definitely their own REALTOR.  They were truly ready for the final check point entitled:

“Jack and Jill Ask More Questions & Follow UP…The Home Buyers Checklist You’ve Been Looking for (15 of 15)”

We hope you’re enjoying our series and that it helps you on your way to……….

Live Life to the Fullest,



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Jack and Jill The Appraisal: The Home Buyer Checklist You’ve Been Looking for (13 of 15)

home on a stack of cashMorning, noon and night Jack and Jill were reading their checklist points and gathering the information they needed to be informed home buyers.  “Jill”, Jack said pausing then continuing, “I think it’s a good thing we are reading these checkpoints because I have no clue what this one is all about.”  And with out allowing Jill to respoind Jack began to read………

#12 The Appraisal

The appraisal is the value that the lending bank has applied to the real estate that is being purchased.  An appraisal will be ordered by the lending bank on the real estate that you have an executed contract on.  The lender typically orders the appraisal AFTER you have done all your tire kicking(inspections, and repair negotiations).  Here’s the bottom line on an appraisal…the subject real estate HAS to appraise for equal to or higher than the contract sales price.  If it does not you are back to the drawing board with the seller.  This is on of the reasons you discuss the competitive market analysis at length with your REALTOR.  The competitive market analysis DOES NOT take the place of an appraisal, but if can give you some insight on what the appraiser might come up with.  Your REALTOR and the appraiser in all likelihood will be using the same comparables and both should have a similar approach on what to do with those comparables.  The appraisal from YOUR bank rules the day, even if the seller had an independent appraisal done on their home.  Should the home not appraise the seller or buyer could dispute the results.  In today’s market most appraisals stand because of all the checking and double check they, the appraisers, do now.

“Jack, I don’t think I would have known that’s what this checkpoint was about.”  said Jill  “Good information and it makes since.  The bank wouldn’t want to lend money on real estate that doesn’t at least equal the amount they are lending.”  Jack said as he shook his head.  “Kinda makes your head hurt doesn’t it, Jack?  It’s pretty deep stuff.” Jill responded.  And so our two heroes were getting closer to the last check point so their anticipation was growing, they couldn’t wait to read the next check point entitled:

“Jack and Jill: HUD, Funding, Cookies Oh My!  The Home Buyers Checklist You’ve Been Waiting for (14 of 15)”

We hope you’re enjoying our series and that it helps you on your way to……………..

Live Life to the Fullest,



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Jack and Jill Need Insurance for Their Home: The Home Buyer Checklist You’ve Been Looking for (12 of 15)

Document of Homeowners Insurance Policy for backgroundJack jumped out of bed that Saturday to find Jill standing by the window of their tiny condominium, coffee in one hand the next checkpoint in the other.  “Oh, Jack, I know that all the check points are important, but this one really hits home.”  snickered Jill.  Jack laughed at her pun as she started to read..

#11 Research Your Home Insurance Options 

You have to have insurance for your home especially if you are purchasing it with a loan.  Your lender wants their investment to be protected and lets be honest, so do you.  You are looking for a homeowners policy and if you do not pick one your lender will and it will be much more expensive than any policy you would find on your own.  Do not wait until the Title Company asks for your insurance company, start shopping now.  Lots of insurance company’s will bundle car, life and home and give you a discount.  If you have never thought about changing your car insurance, now is the time to check out what is out there.  You’ll see lots of television ads and billboards, what do you really want from your insurance company?  Do you want twnty-four hour claim service, the ability to pay on line, the discount rate mentioned above.  Meet with your insurance agent and talk with them about this new step in your life, you may find that you don’t have as much coverage as you thought on your car or on yourself.  Yes, yes, yes, more homework and if you take the time now, if something bad happens in the future, you’ll be covered.

“WOW, that does hit home,” Jack said and they laughed at the pun again.  “If we didn’t have insurance for all those times you got hurt coming down that hill, I don’t know where we would be.”  Jill replied.  “I guess it’s time to review ALL of our insurance since we are on the home buying trail.”  Jack said.  And as they pulled their insurance files they were eager to read the next check point entitled:

“Jack and Jill: The Appraisal…The Home Buyers Checklist You’ve Been Looking for (13 of 15)”

We hope that you’re enjoying our series and that it helps you on your way to………………..

Live Life to the Fullest,



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Jack and Jill Have a Home Inspection…The Home Buyer Checklist You’ve Been Looking for (11 of 15)

Estimating and Inspecting

Jack had accomplished his mission.  The mission was to surprise Jill at work with lunch and a little light reading.  Jill blushed when she came to the front of her office and saw Jack with a hand full of food and a balloon that said ”I Love You Because You’re You”  With a bubbly smile Jill said, “This is a great surprise sweetie and your going to read to me.  You’re the best!”  So off they went to have a little picnic lunch and to read……….

#10 Get a Home Inspection

To have a home inspection, you need to have a licensed home inspector.  You can find one by asking your REALTOR, doing an internet search for your area or using the phone book.  Do you still even have a phone book?  The reason you want a licensed home inspector is that his license holds credibility with regard to the report they present you.  They are bound to check a long list of items dealing with how your home works.  This magic list changes from year to year slightly, but typically works in conjunction with the building code for the largest city in the area…that is if the town you are in doesn’t have it’s own building codes.  This does not mean that a home built in 1988 has to match the building code of a home that was built this year.  This years building code is the benchmark to grade the home against.  The inspection list grows and changes which is REALLY important to have a licensed Home Inspector perform your Home Inspection.  The Home Inspector is required to continue his education so that he is familiar not only with the current code, but reoccurring issues to look for in homes.  A basic home inspection is usually completed within the firest fifteen days of the contract period, depending on what you negotiated with the seller.  The Home Inspector provides a written report the buyer and the buyers REALTOR (with the buyers permission).  The buyer, after all, is paying for the expertise of the home inspector.  The seller must allow you the ability to perform the home inspections within a timely manner.  All utilities must be on in order to have a proper home inspection…that’s gas, water, electricity.  Who pays for those to be turned on is negotiable.  If the seller is still living in the home it is usually not an issue.  If you are buying a foreclosure you will have to have your REALTOR ask the foreclosure bank for permission to turn on the utilities.

You can have many different types of inspections on your new home and not all basic inspectors are qualified to complete these “other” inspections.  Here’s the short list: mold, swimming pool, structural, septic system, and more.  You should get a home inspection even if this is the 100th home you have bought.  It gives you a heads up on the things that are not working now and in some cases it might show the need to have additional inspections like a Structural Inspection that you would want done by a Structural Engineer.

It is also a good idea to be present during the inspection.  Your report will be detailed and will even come with photos of the issues with your home, but it REALLY helps if you can be there for the inspector to show you first hand.  So ,the inspection is done, the inspector either prints the report on site or you will receive an email in the next day or two.  Not all inspectors complete their reports on site so if you are in a rush you might have to pay a little extra for that luxury.  Once you receive their report you should review it with your REALTOR so that you can decide your next move…continue buying the home or negotiate some specific repairs. If you ask for repairs make sure you ask for the repairs to be done by a real repairman and also ask for receipts for those repairs.  Your inspection is the proof in the pudding that there is something that needs to be fixed.  There is not he said, she said: you hired a professional home inspector and his license binds him to his work.  This is a home your buying, it’s a BIG deal, you want your repairs to be done right the first time.  For an additional fee most home inspectors will re-inspect to verify that your repair requests were done to the code that he graded them on.  A home inspector is a great resource of knowledge for your home.  Bring a note pad, pen and your questions.  your inspector will be glad to answer your questions.

“So the home inspector checks out your home for you, wow that’s cool” Jill said.  “Well, he comes with a price tag, but it sounds like it’s money well spent.  I mean if we really want the home, I think we really want a home inspection before we go all in and buy the place.”  Jack responded as he walked Jill back to work.  “You made my day Jack.”  Jill said as she kissed him on the scar on his head.  Jill went back to work full of food and feeling love and Jack was curious about the next check point entitled:

“Jack and Jill Need Insurance for Their Home…The Home Buyer Checklist You’ve Been Looking for (12 of 15)”

We hope you’re enjoying our series and that if helps you on your way to…………..

Live Life to the Fullest,



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Welcome to Scott Culberson's Blog


Jack had just pulled away from their condominium.  When Jill pulled out the next check point.  Jack frowned.  “What?  It’s a thirty minute drive and it’s only a couple of lines long.”  Jill said with a lilt in her voice.  “Ok, said Jack, but don’t quiz me when your done.”  So Jill began to read………… 

#8 Negotiate with Knowledge

This is probably the check point that most readers will skip.  I am sorry to report that there is not magic bullet or crystal ball.  The best asset you have for negotiations is your REALTOR.  Take the time to review the contract template your REATLOR wants to use BEFORE you start looking for a home.  Understand all the negotiation points and timelines.  Knowledge is your friend and the more you understand the negotiation points in the contract the better you can respond in the heat of the battle.  That’s why…

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Jack and Jill Consider a Home Protection Plan: The Home Buyer Checklist You’ve Been Looking for (10 of 15)

bubble homeUSEJack and Jill were enjoying the warmer temperatures with a walk in the valley.  They walked hand and hand and Jill had a mischievous grin on her face as they approached the bench.  Jack, knowing his bride better than she knew, took a sear and waited.  Jill’s smile grew as she began to read… 

#9 Consider a Home Protection Plan

A Home Protection Plan, also known as a home warranty, is a service contract that covers various things that may go wrong with your home.  Home protection plans do NOT cover all repairs so it’s important to understand what is covered and what is not.  They are usually purchased for a one year term.  The home protection plan can give a home buyer the piece of mind that if something were to happen to their home that they can call their home protection provider and have it fixed at a reduced and cost.  Costs are involved and that is part of figuring out which plan is best for you.  If you have an in-ground pool you’ll probably want to make sure that it is covered in your home protection plan and to what level.

Talk with your REALTOR about a home protection plan.  You might be able to structure your negotiations so that the seller pays for your home protection plan and will not once the home is purchased.  Or maybe the seller is already offering a home protection plan as a value to you the home buyer.  Minimal investment, yet a huge piece of mind.  Do your homework, check out the different home protection plans available in your area.  You want a home protection plan with a local service team.

“Wow, Jill that sounds like a micro-insurance plan that places a protective bubble over our home.”  Jack said as he pointed to the picture of the home under the glass.  “I’ve read about these before Jack, they can save us big money if we have the right coverage and our air conditioner goes out.”  smiled Jane.  “Short, but informative, that’s the kinda check point I like.”  winked Jack and Jill continued on their walk eagerly awaiting the next check point entitled:

“Jack and Jill Have a Home Inspection…The Home Buyer Checklist You’ve Been Looking for (11 of 15)”

We hope you’re enjoying our series and that it helps you on your way to………………………..

Live Life to the Fullest,



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