Now that you have an accepted and fully-executed contract (fully-executed just means that it’s been signed by all parties), it’s important to schedule the closing date on your calendar and arrange to flexibility in your schedule on that date.

Here are a few things to know about your closing date as specified on your executed contract:

  • It could change. While we hope closing occurs on the closing date listed in the purchase contract, there are many factors which could cause it to be pushed back, such as a tight time frame for closing (anything 30 days or less) causing the mortgage company to need more time, etc. However, for planning purposes right now, count on your closing date being the final date.
  • Closing generally takes place at a title company in town. On average, a closing takes about 1 hour for the Buyer, but if there is a problem it could take longer or require you to come back to sign more paperwork. For this reason it’s important that you arrange to have flexibility on closing day.
  • The closing location and exact start time will only be tentatively scheduled until your mortgage officer provides the title company Clear to Close (CTC), meaning you’ve been completely approved for the loan without any conditions.
  • We always encourage clients to attend closing as it’s important you understand the closing documents, when your first mortgage payment is due, how you make your first mortgage payment, etc. All of that will be explained at the closing.
  • The day prior to closing you will need to wire transfer your down payment and closing costs directly to the title company. The wire instructions for this transfer will come from your mortgage officer. Do not follow anyone else’s instructions unless it comes directly from them. There are many scams out there targeted at buyers where scammers will email you fake wire transfer instructions in an attempt to steal your money.
  • If you are planning to move into your new home on the day of closing, schedule the move for at least 1 – 2 hours after closing ends, if possible. Legally you can’t move into the house until the end of closing once the bank funds the loan and transfers the funds to the seller.
  • Once the closing has wrapped up, you will receive the keys to your new home!

If you have any questions about closing, please let us know by calling/texting Uptown Realty Group at (740) 590-4882 or email

You made it to this point. You qualified for the preapproval and you’ve gotten an accepted offer on the home that you’ve been eyeing to purchase!

Just wait though…Hold off on making any preemptive home purchases for a little while longer…!

Your mortgage preapproval was granted to you based on the amount of money you had at the moment in time in your savings accounts, checking accounts, retirement accounts, etc. and was based on the amount of debt you had at the time (car payments, student loans, your current mortgage if you already own a home, etc).

If you go out and buy a TV, a new car, new furniture, etc. between now and closing it could put your chances of being approved for your mortgage in jeopardy AS THE LENDER PULLS YOUR CREDIT ONE MORE TIME THE DAY BEFORE CLOSING. Therefore, it is imperative that you spend as little money between now and your closing date as possible. In addition, be sure to pay all of your monthly bills on time going forward, don’t open or close any credit cards, don’t take extravagant vacations, etc. Often buyers think it won’t make a difference if they buy a couch, new TV, and charge it to their credit card, but it very well could put your loan in jeopardy. So please do not buy ANYTHING extraordinary until after closing.

If in doubt as to whether a potential purchase will affect your ability to obtain a mortgage, please speak with your mortgage lender.

Questions?
Call/text Uptown Realty Group at (740) 590-4882 or email

Having been a Landlord/Property Manager for multiple decades, Step number 9 is near and dear to my heart…!

When you decide that you want to buy a home, talk to your Landlord. Give as much notice as possible. Working with your Landlord, rather than against your Landlord can be a real benefit. Mutually resolving one contractual liability before embarking on yet another one is the smartest play!

If you’re currently renting, you need to give notice to your landlord that you’re going to be moving out. By Ohio law, if you have a month to month lease then you only need to give 30 days notice (although, out of courtesy, you can certainly just let them know that you are “in the market”).

What if you have a yearly lease, but it doesn’t end for quite a few months? Then you’ve got a few options:

  • We can try to push closing back to the end of your lease date. If that is of interest to you, please let us know.
  • We can work with you to find a subleaser for the remainder of your lease term. If you want us to help you find a subleaser, just let us know. Generally it involves having photographs taken, putting the property on CraigsList, Zillow, and Apartments.com then finding a qualified tenant.
  • You can choose to keep both places for the remainder of your lease so you have plenty of time to leisurely move from your rental apartment to your new home. This does mean paying the monthly rental payment plus your mortgage payment for the remainder of your lease.

Questions?
Call/text Uptown Realty Group at (740) 590-4882 or email

Congratulations on having an accepted contract on a house, but now what?

Oftentimes contracts are first accepted verbally by the Seller’s agent while signatures are gathered from the Sellers. It may even take 1 – 2 days for all parties to sign and return the contract so be patient. Until we have a fully-executed contract (which means everything has been signed by both the sellers and the buyers) we do not have an enforceable contract. Therefore, it’s urgent that a signed contract be received by all parties ASAP.

Once a signed contract is received, several things need to happen:

  • The contract needs to be sent to your mortgage lender. This lets your mortgage lender know that you’re under contract and starts the process for getting you approved for the mortgage (remember, right now you’re only pre-approved). Be sure to respond promptly to your mortgage lender. They will ask you to fill out a lot of paperwork. Unfortunately, it’s not optional; it’s required and the quicker you can fill it out and get it back to them, the better.
  • You need to schedule the home inspection. This needs to be done ASAP.

With contracts, there is a very important term: “Time is of the essence”. The intent of this term is to keep both parties accountable throughout the real estate transaction. With specific deadlines and consequences laid out, the buyer and seller can move towards a successful closing day together.

After the above items have been done, we’ll email you every few days with an additional next step. Think of it as our friendly way of keeping you on track to ensure a smooth transaction and to help you make sure everything gets done on time.

Questions?
Call/text Uptown Realty Group at (740) 590-4882 or email

Once a contract has been accepted, schedule a home inspection IMMEDIATELY. The home inspection is the Buyers one true way to assess whether or not the home meets expectations in terms of condition (roof, furnace, plumbing, mechanicals, evidence of termite or water damages, etc.). If the inspection is not favorable, this is the Buyers opportunity to either present to the Seller any unfavorable, unexpected or unacceptable conditions that were discovered and (hopefully) initiate a negotiation OR (in the worst case scenario) for the Buyer to terminate the contract and move on.

One important note about home inspections…ALL homes have defects. Home inspectors are usually good about noting deficiencies that are alarming vs pointing out items that are matters of future preventative maintenance. A good home inspector will educate a Buyer and offer advice on how a particular deficiency should be considered.

Ideally, the inspection should occur within the next 2-3 days, however, during the busy summer months, inspectors may be booked out up to a week or more in advance. It’s important that the home inspection occur quickly as it often takes the inspector 1-2 days to write the report after the inspection. Once the report is written we still need some time to review the report and ask the seller for any credits or repairs before the contingency review period ends, which is typically 10 business days after offer acceptance.

Plan to attend the inspection which will take approximately 2 hours for a condo and 3 hours for a single family home. Inspectors usually only work Mon – Fri and may not work evenings or weekends so you will probably need to arrange to be off work for the inspection. Wear comfortable clothes which can get dirty as the inspector may want to show you something in the basement, crawlspace, on the roof, etc.

Once the inspection is scheduled, let us know so we are aware of the timing and we’ll also make sure that the Seller’s Realtor has been property notified.

Questions?
Call/text Uptown Realty Group at (740) 590-4882 or email

You’ve found the ideal home and want to put in an offer. Before we can put an offer in on a home, there are a few things we will need from you and questions that you will need to consider:

  • Full legal name: We will need 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 our area, as that will inform you 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: 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, closing takes place around 45 days from contract acceptance. Closings can only take place Mon – Fri; they cannot take place on weekends or holidays when the banks are closed.
    • Sometimes you can ask for a longer closing date (60 – 90 days) and depending on the seller’s personal situation and timeline, they may or may not be interested. While some local lenders we use can do closings faster, most lenders need 30 – 45 days.
    • If you’re not getting a loan and are paying 100% cash, you can close in as quickly as 14 days.
  • Down payment: For the contract, we need to know how much you’re going to put down for your down payment.
  • Closing cost credits: 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 may recommend asking the seller to provide you with a one year home warranty. Depending on the type of property you’re buying, this usually costs the sellers between $500 – $800.
  • Contingencies: Any other contingencies we need to be aware of? Do you need to sell your current home before we can buy this home?

Want to review the contract in advance?
Click here to review the Athens County BOR contract

Once we’ve talked through your offer and the contract and all of questions have been answered, we’ll write the contract and have you sign it online via Dotloop. Click here to view FAQs on receiving and signing documents electronically via Dotloop. We’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!

Questions?
Call/text Uptown Realty Group at (740) 590-4882 or email

You’ve found properties on the MLS you’re interested in seeing, We’ve set up your showings and we are heading out soon to see them! Before we head out here are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • Most sellers require and we strongly recommend that you are preapproved before heading to view homes.
  • Sellers usually require 24 hours notice prior to showings. They may also put other limitations on showings such as no showings after 6pm or on Sundays, etc.
  • Wear comfortable slip on shoes as we may be asked to remove our shoes in some homes.
  • If a lot of sunlight is important to you in a home, then try to do showings during daylight hours.
  • Dress for the weather. The walkway or driveway may be snowy, icy, muddy, etc. The house may or may not have AC or heat.
  • Vacant houses may not have any utilities turned on.
  • Don’t assume we’ll be able to use the restroom so plan accordingly.
  • Focus on the property not furnishings, artwork, etc. as you’re buying the property not their stuff.
  • Avoid touching furniture or personal items as we don’t want to be responsible should something break.
  • Remind children not to play with the toys and things they see in the house.
  • The home inspection comes AFTER a contract is agreed upon and signed by both the buyer and seller. During a typical showing we should not be in the crawl spaces, attic, etc.
  • Some sellers will have security cameras with audio capabilities in their homes so be aware of what you say and do. Don’t talk about how much you can afford, what kind of offer you want to make on the home, etc. while in the house (or even in the front yard) in case someone is listening.
  • If sellers are home, be careful not to give too much away about yourself and why you’re buying as that information could hurt us later during the negotiation process.

Generally the day before we are scheduled to look at homes we will email you an address of where we are meeting and when.

Questions?
Call/text Uptown Realty Group at (740) 590-4882 or email

At this point, you’re excited, full of optimism and soon we’ll be doing showings. We at Uptown Realty Group recognize that there are different types of Buyers. There are those that like to do their own searching and on the other end of the spectrum there are Buyers that want to be provided a curated list of listings to consider. When finding the right home, we will provide you the type of service that you prefer. If you’d like to be set up on an MLS search with weekly MLS search results emailed to you, we can do that!

When the MLS email comes in we need you to:

Check the MLS email regularly and review all of the properties we’ve sent you. Click “like this listing” for properties you are either interested in viewing or would like additional information. We’ll then email you within 24 hours to discuss your thoughts on any particular properties that you “liked” and set up a showing. Properties you definitely don’t like mark as “not like”. If you have any questions about a particular property, simply send a quick email or text or in the client central dashboard simply click the Notes button to add a note to a particular listing. We monitor those sections and will get answers to those questions to you.

If there’s something you love and want to see asap, shoot us a quick email or text us rather than waiting for us to contact you and let us know when you’re available and what you want to see. That way we can set up the showing asap. Remember, most properties require 24 to 48 hours notice for showings so it’s rare to be able to see a house or condo the same day.

Also, properties are usually available to be seen Mon – Fri from 9am – 7:30pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 6:30pm. Sometimes sellers will allow us to view a property outside of those hours, but it’s up to the individual seller. Also, during the spring and summer, great properties sell in 3-4 days so it’s important that you review the MLS email often so we can jump on a great property as soon as you see it.

Once we know when you’re available…

  • We’ll set up the showings and email you where we are meeting and when
  • We’ll also ask if you want us to pick you up and drive you to the showing or meet you there
  • Remember to wear comfortable slip on shoes for showings as we’ll generally need to take them on and off at each property
  • We’ll email you the MLS listing sheets ahead of time so you can look at them on your phone during the showing

While you’re looking at the MLS feeds each day we’ll also be networking our contacts to find you homes before they go on the market.

At this point there should be no need for you to continue to look on other sites such as Zillow, Trulia, etc. as all of those properties should be showing up in your MLS feed. If one isn’t for some reason let us know so we can tweak the search parameters of your MLS feed.

Now on to the showings!

Questions?
Call/text Uptown Realty Group at (740) 590-4882 or email

You’ve picked a Realtor (us!). Now what? Now you need to get the big picture of what comes next throughout the entire home buying process which is why we’ve created a handy Checklist for Buying a Home which you can download by clicking here. This gives you an overview of everything you need to do along the way. But don’t worry, we’ll remind you of each step as we go along as well.

In addition, real estate terms can often be confusing such as FHA, HOA, HUD, etc. Therefore, if these terms are new to you OR you would like additional reading material, consider downloading our comprehensive buyers guide here.

Once you’ve found a Realtor to represent, advocate on your behalf, and advise you on what is going to be the biggest financial transaction you ever make, Step 2 to buying a home is to get preapproved by a mortgage lender. As Realtors, we won’t put an offer in on a home for a client unless he or she has been preapproved. In addition, it’s important that you have an understanding of how much you can comfortably afford to spend on a home, what your monthly payments will be, what interest rate you qualify for, and how much you’ll be paying each month in taxes, etc.

NOTE: Preapproval is different from prequalification. Mortgage preapproval involves much more documentation and will get you a more serious loan offer. Prequalification is less formal and is essentially a way for banks to tell you that you’d be a good applicant, but it doesn’t guarantee any particular loan terms.

Having a good mortgage lender is a crucial part of ensuring a smooth transaction. You will rely heavily on your lender for accurate preapproval information, assistance with your agent in contract negotiations and trusted advice. Also, remember that interest rates, fees and terms can vary substantially from lender to lender.

“That’s why it’s important to shop around carefully and ask questions”

Paperwork You Need To Gather

Each lender has slightly different requirements regarding what documentation they need from you for the preapproval process, but in general, expect to provide the following items:

  • A completed application. The lender will provide this to you directly
  • The two most recent months (or a quarterly statement) of any asset information listed on the application. Generally: checking, savings, 401k, mutual funds, individual stock accounts, IRA’s, etc
  • Most recent month of a paystub
  • Past two year’s worth of W2
  • Past two year’s worth of US Tax Returns
  • Previous year’s Corporate Tax Returns (if self-employed and you own over 25% of the company)

Getting a Preapproval Letter

Generally, once you submit the above items to your lender you should receive a preapproval letter within 2-3 business days. The lender may ask for additional documentation. They are not trying to be difficult by asking for additional documentation, rather, underwriters became much stricter regarding the loan approval process so a lot more documentation is needed today than it was in the past. In addition to receiving a preapproval letter which shows the amount you can afford to purchase, you should ask your lender to show you what that preapproval amounts to in terms of a monthly mortgage payment plus any PMI, taxes, and insurance. That way you can make sure you are comfortable with what your monthly housing payment will be at that preapproval dollar amount. Once you’ve received your preapproval letter, forward it to us for your file so we can have it when we are ready to submit an offer.

Get a Loan Estimate and Understand Your Closing Costs

In addition, mortgage lenders are required to provide you with a Loan Estimate (LE) within 3 days of receiving your preapproval. The LE provides an estimate of the closing costs you’ll need on top of your down payment and shows exactly what fees the mortgage lender is charging you. Make sure you understand these fees. Your mortgage lender can provide you with more detailed estimates based on your exact preapproval price. Remember, these closing costs are due at closing (inspection fees which are due on the day those services occur) and are on top of your down payment.

Should You Shop Your Loan Around?

Absolutely. Every lender charges different fees and different interest rates so it’s crucial you shop your loan around to at least two lenders, in my opinion. We recommend having the lenders all pull your credit on the same day though. Each lender will need to pull your credit report in order to give you an accurate preapproval letter. If your credit is pulled by various lenders on the same day or within a day of each other it will affect your credit a lot less than if you have it pulled by various lenders weeks apart. Also, if you’re going to compare interest rates, make sure you are comparing interest rates between lenders on the same day as rates vary, even over the course of the day. So if you aren’t comparing interest rates on the same day, it’s like comparing apples to oysters.

BEFORE you start the process of talking with Lenders…call us at (740) 590-4882 or email