Home Buyer's Guide


Everything You Need to Know About Using a Realtor to Buy a Home

The search for the perfect home can sometimes seem like an unachievable goal. You want the right home in the ideal location, with exceptional amenities at an unbeatable price. Is your dream home out there?

Buying a home can be complicated—and overwhelming—unless you have a comprehensive list and a good realtor to find the right house to meet your qualifications. A great realtor can usher you through the home-buying process without a hitch. After all, they will have a strong network of connections and resources from a reputable real estate company to help you find the right home at the best price.

How can you find all of this in one place? By hiring a realtor who works for a reliable real estate company; someone who can help you plant new roots in the home you’re meant to own.

There are all kinds of reasons why people set out to buy a new home:

  • First-time homebuyers who are looking to build equity.
  • A family looking for a bigger home as they grow.
  • Renters who hope to get out of the constant hassles of renting and landlords.
  • Someone who is relocating to a new area.
  • An individual or family who is going through a big life change like a marriage.
  • Someone who is looking for a vacation home or potential investment rental property.

No matter your reason, at McGraw Realtors, we’ll walk you through the entire process of buying a home here in Oklahoma:

  1. Assessing your financial assets.
  2. Researching the local market.
  3. Requesting pre-approval.
  4. Determining your needs and priorities.
  5. Making and negotiating an offer.
  6. Managing home inspections and securing a loan.
  7. Submitting all necessary paperwork and closing on the home.

We’re here to simplify a complicated process. Here’s what you need to know about buying a home.


Want to Buy Your Home?

Click the link below to schedule a free consultation with one of our local agents today!

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Benefits of Buying a Home

We all picture the American dream with 2.5 kids, maybe a dog and, of course, a white picket fence. However, there are many steps you have to take to acquire the home that comes along with that picket fence. 

Is it worth it? What are the perks of buying your own home?

Here’s what you need to know about home buying benefits and why it makes sense to buy a home:

  • Have predictable monthly mortgage payments compared to rent payments that can increase from year to year with every new lease.
  • Build equity, and put your monthly housing payment toward homeownership instead of never seeing it again.
  • Get more space for your growing family and changing needs, then make it your own.
  • Buy a vacation home, build even more equity and collect an income from rentals.
  • Prepare for retirement by purchasing a home as a vacation home or a lakeside home. Then focus on turning this home into your primary residence, and reduce your overall mortgage debt on this vacation or lake house. Pay down a large portion of the debt before it ever becomes your full-time home. Then, use the profit from your old home to pay off the remaining debt on your vacation home.
  • Enjoy the physical and emotional benefits of gorgeous views and a tranquil space with a lake house.
  • Purchase a luxury home as an investment, and customize your home with extravagant amenities. Plus, you’ll have more room for storage and an expanding family and enjoy a space that’s ideal for entertaining and recreation when you buy a bigger home or a luxury home.

The Tax Benefits

Your realtor will be well-versed in all the benefits that you’ll see from buying a home and can even help you prepare for the changes you’ll see in your annual taxes. This can include all kinds of perks:

  • Claim a tax deduction for the interest you’ve paid on your mortgage.
  • Receive additional tax deductions for existing or added energy-efficient features.
  • Withdraw up to $10,000 (or $20,000 combined) from your IRA and up to $50,000 of your 401(k) to make a downpayment on your home with no penalties.


Steps to the Home Buying Process and How Long It Really Takes

The home buying process is so much more than finding a home with a gourmet eat-in kitchen or an expansive walk-in closet. Of course, it’s important to find a home that fits your needs, but how do you make it officially “yours”?

Here’s what you should know about buying your first home and what the entire home buying timeline entails:

  1. Get your finances together, and save money for a downpayment, which can be anywhere from 0 to 20%. The amount of time can vary based on your down payment.
  2. Find a loan that meets your requirements. From finding a loan to getting pre-approved, it can take an average of around 30 days, which can extend to 45-60 days during busy times.
  3. Build a realistic budget for how much you spend and how that affects your debt-to-income ratio.
  4. Ensure you have an experienced realtor on hand to help you find and purchase a home.
  5. Start house hunting: Find the right home for you in the right location at the right price point, bearing in mind school systems, city amenities and other factors that will affect your home’s resale value.
  6. Move quickly and make an offer on your new home. This happens as quickly as possible after you realize you’ve found the right house.
  7. Enter into a contract to purchase the home, which is contingent upon obtaining a mortgage loan, which comes back in around three to four days. This is also when you make an in-good-faith deposit, which is placed in escrow until closing, at which time the deposit is applied towards the purchase of the home at closing.
  8. Enroll in homeowner’s insurance.
  9. Schedule a home inspection to meet the requirements of most lenders and to protect your investment. Then, attend this home inspection so you can learn more about the state of your future home, the conditions of your house, and the particulars.
  10. Successfully close on your first home.

Before you start making a home buying checklist, don’t forget that your realtor is there to help you with all of this. At McGraw Realtors, we know all the little tricks to make this process an easier one.

Want to Sell Your Home?

Click the link below to schedule a free consulation with one of our local agents today!

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Avoid These Pitfalls While House Hunting and Buying a Home

Buying a new home can be an emotional process. How can you keep your emotions in check while keeping a clear eye on your finances?

Here are a few common home buying pitfalls to be aware of before you begin house hunting:

  • Not being aware of what you can afford to pay and how the cost will break down into payments you make each month, including monthly mortgage payments, insurance, taxes, and utilities.
  • Not researching which locations are the best fit for you and your family.
  • Not asking about the quality of schools in the school district—even if you don’t have children, this can impact your resale value.
  • Not being aware of what amenities to expect at your price point or compromising on the home features you want.
  • Not thinking long term about what you may need, including more space or more bedrooms or a first-floor master bedroom as you age.

You may also not know where to look for expensive, disaster-causing hidden problems with the home. Certain issues can end up costing you more than you expect once you move in, like:

  • Was the home well maintained? If basic indoor and outdoor chores were neglected, you may gather they didn’t keep up with necessary repairs either.
  • Was the home highly scented when you walked in? Candles and sprays can mask the smell of cigarettes, mold, mildew or pet odors.
  • Are there signs of a cracked or slipping foundation, like cracked walls or uneven floors, windows, or door frames?
  • How new are the big-ticket items that will make a big dent in your wallet when they need to be repaired or replaced? This includes the lifespan of the current roof, the age of the water heater, air conditioner and furnace, and the home’s siding.
  • Is there standing water near the home?
  • Are there trees growing too close to the home that could damage it or hurt someone? Are there trees that need to be removed?

You can ask your realtor to keep an eye on these things for you at each house you visit. Especially when looking to buy a lakefront home or a home near Grand Lake, you want to be armed with knowledge about what you need and what you should expect from each home.

Calculate Your Mortgage Payment

Before you buy your first home, there are a few things to take note of, like how much your mortgage payment will be or what the process of buying a home can cost. You can use this mortgage calculator to ensure that you are shopping for a home within your budget.



Determining a Budget and Choosing the Right Home Loan to Finance Your Purchase

Finding the right home loan is just as important as finding the right home. You should prepare a budget ahead of time and be aware of the kinds of loans available.

When coming up with a home budget, you should keep the following costs in mind:

  • Making a downpayment, which typically is around 5 to 20% of the home’s value.
  • Closing costs, or the one-time costs associated with closing, including changing the title, prepaid taxes, inspections, and insurance.
  • Property taxes.
  • Homeowner’s insurance.

Your home buying budget should also include things like emergency repairs, updates, and new appliances throughout your time in the home as well as the rest of your life. After all, you don’t want to buy “too much house” and not have room in your budget for other things. Using a mortgage calculator can help you come up with a budget that’s manageable so you know how much house you can afford.

When financing a home, there are several kinds of loans to consider before you talk to a mortgage lender:

Federal Housing Assistance (FHA) Loans

These loans are covered by the Federal Housing Administration for low- to middle-income homebuyers, and they require lower down payments and lower credit scores to finance.

Veterans Affairs (VA) Loans

This type of loan is available through the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs to those who have served in the armed forces. A portion of the loan is guaranteed by the VA, and the loans are provided by private lenders.

Conventional Loans

These loans are not guaranteed by a government entity and are acquired through a private bank or mortgage lender. They come in multiple varieties based on your needs and preferences.

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or looking to upgrade to a luxury home, you can ask your lender about what to expect, including document prep fees or if it offers any kind of mortgage incentives or first-time buyer assistance programs.

Want to Sell Your Home?

Click the link below to schedule a free consulation with one of our local agents today!

Schedule a Free Consultation



Negotiating the Best Price and What to Expect at the Closing Table

When buying a home, the seller will expect that you may do some negotiating to bring down the price, and most realtors encourage homeowners to price their home a bit above market value to allow for these negotiations.

What should you know about home negotiation?

  • Let your realtor handle all communication, and listen to their advice. After all, they have done this plenty of times and can help you get the best price!
  • Have your finances ready to go, as offering an expedited process may be appealing for some homeowners.
  • Know the value of the market and the value of similar surrounding properties.
  • Include a heartfelt letter with your offer, like why you like the home or what you plan to do with it.
  • Get an inspection to help give you an informed position when negotiating about issues that may appear.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away.

Home Closing Process

Once you’ve landed on a home sale price, what should you know about closing on a home?

The process of a home closing is run by an escrow agent. It involves a lot of paperwork and a lot of signatures. Homebuyers bring a cashier’s check to pay for closing costs, which means you should be prepared to pay 3 to 5% of the loan in total. The title is signed from the current homeowner to the new homeowner, and the deed is registered with the appropriate government office.

At this point, the real estate agents receive their commissions, and the seller receives any profit they may have made from their sale once the balance and closing costs are paid.

To protect your credit score and your loan, avoid doing the following after closing on a home:

  • Don’t open up a new line of credit or check your credit score.
  • Don’t close any existing credit accounts.
  • Don’t quit your job right away.
  • Don’t add to your credit card’s limit.
  • Don’t co-sign on anyone’s home.
  • Don’t take out a payday loan.
  • Don’t ignore questions from your mortgage lender.


Reasons to Hire a Realtor to Buy a Home and What to Look For

There are so many reasons to hire a buyer’s agent when you’re searching for a new home. Unless the home is being sold by the current owner, there will be a seller’s agent involved. What is the main difference between a buyer’s agent and a seller’s agent? The seller’s agent isn’t there to represent you; they’re there to represent the seller. It makes sense to have an expert on your side to protect your interests so you get the best deal possible.

What are the benefits of hiring a realtor to help you find your next home?

A buyer’s agent can do the following things for you:

  • Protect your interests throughout the home buying process.
  • Help you negotiate a fair price and fair treatment if issues arise.
  • Show you a wide range of homes that fit your needs based on their knowledge of the market.
  • Offer unmatched market expertise.

What does it cost to hire a realtor?

What should you expect when you work with an agent?

Realtors work on commission, which means they get paid when the sale is closed. This commission is based on a predetermined amount established by the seller, which is somewhere between 2.5 and 3% of the sales price, which comes from the seller’s profits. The seller’s agent receives a similar commission.

Should you use the same realtor to sell your current home and help you find a new one? If you’re moving close by, it might benefit you to have the synergy of working with the same person. They even know what you love and hate about your current house to help you find the next one! If you are planning to move to a new neighborhood or city, your realtor may be able to help you find a new agent to make things simpler.

What kinds of questions should you ask before hiring a realtor?

  • How long have you been in the business?
  • What neighborhoods are you most familiar with?
  • What is your availability?
  • Do you work on your own or with a team?
  • How often do you work with homebuyers?
  • How long does it usually take for your buyers to find and buy a home?
  • How do you find homes that will match what I’m looking for?
  • How many clients do you juggle at once?
  • How do you keep in touch with me and how often?

At McGraw Realtors, we have a large roster of branches and realtors throughout Oklahoma and Arkansas, which means we have qualified experts right down the street from your ideal neighborhood. We can help you find the best home for you in the perfect location.



Why Every Homebuyer Should Choose a Realtor with McGraw

When looking for the right real estate company and realtor to help you find your dream home, McGraw Realtors is the right choice. When it’s time to buy a home, we’re here for you as a full-service brokerage with innovative technology and a large collaborative network of professionals in the industry.

We’re well connected, and every real estate agent on our team uses these connections to help you find your forever home at the optimal price with streamlined, stress-free processes.

McGraw Realtors is the largest local real estate company in Northeastern Oklahoma, and our real estate agents have been named to the list of top realtors in Tulsa, but our reach doesn’t stop there. We served future homeowners throughout Arkansas too, and we’re well versed in the nuances of Oklahoma real and Arkansas real estate.

For over 80 years, we’ve been helping homeowners sell their homes for the best prices possible, and we can help you find the right home at the right price too. Every real estate agent on our team goes through our real estate school for Realtors to learn more about the industry and our high standards.

In our opinion? Our name and reputation are built on the work of our agents, and we work carefully to hire the best in the business. We’re committed to working with leaders who are dedicated to ethics, excellence and creating a strong community.

McGraw Realtor is a true full-service brokerage. We’re regularly expanding to offer you the best possible experience and the most offerings in every neighborhood you desire.

At McGraw Realtors, we’re here to take the stress out of buying a home. We’ll help you land the best price and ensure it’s not just a stress-free experience, but an enjoyable one. McGraw Realtors operates on one simple tenet:

It should be simple to find and buy the right home.

Our team of experienced real estate professionals will listen carefully to your needs, then deliver the best results. Ready to find your dream home? Schedule a free consultation with us today, and get a no-obligation consultation and a list of homes for sale that fit your needs.

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