Wintergreen VA Buyer Tips
The Buying Process - What To Expect
Once you’ve decided to look for real estate in Wintergreen, VA including Wintergreen Mountain, Wintergreen's Stoney Creek valley community, or the surrounding areas including Nellysford and Nelson County, here is an outline of what to expect as we work together to find and purchase the perfect home or condo.
Talking Dollars and Sense
First of all, you need to decide how much you can afford to spend on a home, condo, or lot. Take into consideration your income (along with any expected increases or decreases), the equity you will receive from the possible sale of other real estate assets, the amount you have available for a down payment, mortgage rates, and the price range in which you are interested.
Being pre-qualified/pre-approved for a loan puts you in a stronger position when it comes time to make an offer. We can put you in touch with local lenders who, after reviewing your financial situation, can issue letters of pre-qualification. Even if you have good relationships with other financial planners and lenders where you live now, it is a good idea to get a second opinion from and consider the advantages of working with a local lender who understands our real estate market and has relationships with local appraisers.
Wintergreen, VA Areas
Now that you have an idea of what you’d like to spend on your new home or condo, we’ll work together to determine which Wintergreen areas are most likely to meet your needs. Tell us what’s important to you—privacy, views, proximity to the spa, ski-in/ski-out, home in the valley, condo living, a buildable lot, one-level living—or anything else you desire. Then, it’s time to give us the details on the property itself: Number of bedrooms and bathrooms, property size, new construction, resale, design, interior finishes, etc.
As a longtime Nelson County resident and Wintergreen REALTOR®, The Sherwood Team can direct you to a short list of properties on the mountain in Wintergreen and in the valley of Stoney Creek that will best suit your needs. The Team provides you with a list of available properties to review and together we decide which ones merit further investigation; you select the properties you want to see, and we’ll visit as many or as few as you desire.
Making An Offer On A Wintergreen Real Estate Listing
You’ve found the perfect Wintergreen property! Once you’ve decided on an offer price, we will prepare the necessary contract documents and present them to the seller’s broker. If you have any contingencies, such as a home inspection or making the offer dependent upon the sale of another property, we will include those in the offer. Detailed and thoughtful preparation of your offer will give you the best shot at successfully negotiating a contract with the seller. As experts in preparing offers, we will guide you through all of the important decisions; plan on spending two hours with us as we cover all of the required property disclosures and contract documents!
If your offer is accepted, congratulations! You’re on your way to becoming a Wintergreen property owner and a member of the Blue Ridge Mountains' premier four seasons community. If your offer is not accepted, you may choose to make another offer or continue your Wintergreen real estate search. Either way, you’ll feel confident knowing we will be guiding you at each new step.
Next Steps: Home Inspection
After your offer has been accepted, a home inspection will typically need to be completed within 14 days of the offer’s acceptance. If you’re purchasing a lot, we may have included a study period in your contract to allow you to investigate the property’s suitability for your building plan. But, the one common denominator for most buyers is the home inspection. A good inspector will educate you about the property, provide advice for proper maintenance and upkeep, and point out potential or existing conditions that may affect the value of the property. An advantage of putting an inspection contingency in your contract is, if the inspector finds major problems, such as a non-functioning heating system or structural damage, you may be able to renegotiate your contract with the seller.
Next Steps: Mortgage Application and Property Appraisal
At the same time we are scheduling your inspections, you will make your formal loan application. The standard Virginia Association of REALTORs® real estate contract requires that you make written application for financing within five business days of contract acceptance. After reviewing the different types of mortgages with your lender and deciding which best fits your financial needs, your lender will assist you in completing the written application. After receiving your application, the lender will make contact with a local appraiser to visit and appraise the property. This is a very important step in the financing process, one where the lender’s familiarity with local market conditions and trusted relationships with local appraisers will work to your advantage as the lender determines whether or not the contract price for the property is supported by other, arm’s-length transactions. A good deal of research, time, and effort is required of the appraiser to accurately support the contract value. Once complete, the appraisal is returned to the lender and is reviewed, along with all your other credit information, by the lender’s underwriter. If the underwriter is satisfied with the value and your financial circumstances, a conditional loan commitment will be issued to you and your loan officer. At this point your financing is nearly complete and there is nothing further you need to do until shortly before closing. But you should pay close attention to the conditions of your loan commitment and discuss them with your loan officer. Shortly before closing the lender will review your financial circumstances again, looking for any significant changes in your credit score or liabilities that would affect your ability to repay the mortgage. During the time between contract acceptance and closing on your property, you should not engage in any activities that would adversely affect your credit worthiness. Such activities include significantly increasing your credit card debt and shopping for a car, major appliances, furniture, or other costly items.
A Few More Steps
Your lender will also require a search of the title records for the property to ensure that there are no known defects in the chain of title and that the seller is indeed the owner of record and able to convey title to you at closing. Once the title search is complete, the lender will require that you purchase title insurance to insure the lender’s interest in the property. At this time, you may also elect to purchase owner's title insurance to insure your interest in the property. Owner's title insurance is most affordable when purchased in conjunction with lender's title insurance, and as your equity position in the property grows (as you pay down the mortgage), your title insurance becomes increasingly more valuable to you as owner. If you aren't sure about the importance of owner's title insurance, all you need to consider is this: There isn't a lender in the world that will loan you money without lender's title insurance.
In order to close on your purchase, you will have to hire a settlement agent. In Virginia, settlement agents are not required to be attorneys, but we highly recommend that you work with one. Just as with local lenders, we have excellent working relationships with several local attorneys who can handle your closing. Your attorney will order the title search, review the Deed, prepare a settlement statement and review with the seller's attorney, inform you of the exact dollar amount due from you at closing, and schedule a time for you to to sign all the necessary closing documents (usually on the day of closing).
The Final Walkthrough
Shortly before closing (usually the morning of or the night before), you will have the opportunity to visit the property to ensure it is broom-clean and, generally speaking, in the same condition it was in at the time you made the offer. We will schedule this with you and accompany you on this final review of the property before closing.
Shortly before closing (often times only 24 hours before), your attorney will be able to provide you with the exact amount of cash you need to bring to closing. Funds supplied by you must be in the form of a Cashier’s check or by wire transfer to your attorney’s fiduciary account. When you arrive at closing, you will be presented with all of the closing documents for your review and signature. Be sure to read and understand everything you sign at closing, and feel free to ask your attorney’s paralegal questions if something doesn’t appear correct. If necessary, changes and corrections can still be made at this time. Once you’ve signed all the documents and provided funds to your attorney, you may think the property is yours – and it almost is. But, until funds are received from your lender, the Deed received by your attorney and the total purchase amount released to the seller, you are not owner and are not entitled to possession or access to the property. This can be very important if you are planning your first big night in your new Wintergreen home or condo on the day of closing so be sure to discuss with us and your attorney exactly when you will be able to take possession.