At CR Holland Real Estate we know that for most of us, buying a home is the biggest purchase of our lives and we understand that each and every real estate transaction is often intricate and complicated. We are here to help.  CR Holland Real Estate has a history of success by combining the talents of an experienced team of Real Estate and Construction professionals. 

Our experienced team of professionals utilizes our real estate and construction expertise to achieve optimum service for our clients and deliver positive results.  

Here are some important items to consider when thinking about buying a home. 

Get Pre-Approved with a Lender

We highly recommend getting pre-approved from a mortgage lender before you go house hunting.  Getting pre-approved is different from being pre-qualified.  Pre-Approved means that the lender has looked at all your financial information and it puts you in a better position to know how much you can actually afford and it puts you in a stronger position as a Buyer.  The other day, we had a multiple offer situation and one buyer was pre-approved while the other buyer was pre-qualified.  The pre-approved buyer put in an offer for less than the pre-qualified buyer and we accepted the lower offer because the buyer was pre-approved.  Just because someone has been pre-qualified doesn’t mean they are “approved” to purchase a home.  Big difference.

You will also want to ask the lender about interest rates, PMI, down payment, processing fees, and loan origination fees.  These are all fees which should factor into the total amount of your mortgage.  

More importantly, we typically recommend that you purchase a house for less than your maximum amount that you’re pre-approved for because it’s good to have a little extra money for property taxes, insurance, and maintenance fees that can add hundreds of dollars per month.  It’s also important to remember that your property taxes may increase if the home was assessed for less that the Purchase Price. 

Construction Loans

Everyone is watching the HGTV shows like the Property Brothers, Rehab Attic, Flip or Flop and Fixer Upper.  If you’re interested in buying a house which needs work, we can help you with that.  In fact, that is something we are already doing ourselves. 

The key to any fixer upper is finding the right financing first and then finding a house which will leave you with equity once it’s rehabbed.  We can help and we know the lenders you will want to talk with.  Also we own a construction company that can complete the work for you.  

Instant Emails on New Listings

The market is competitive right now and some homes are not staying on the market long or there is a bidding war.  It’s important to know when a new home, which fits your criteria, comes on the market so we can get a showing scheduled before other potential buyers even know a home it’s available.  Our agents are able to set you up on a program called the Matrix Mailer.  This program will instantly send you an email whenever a house comes on the market, which fits your criteria.  

Research the Neighborhood and Schools

Before you decide to put an offer on a house, be sure to research the neighborhood to make sure you like it.  Drive by it in the morning and again at night so you can see what’s going on in the neighborhood.  It’s also a good practice to research the school district, even if you don’t have children, because eventually you’re going to sell the house and being in a good school district really does affect the value of your home.  

Bidding on a Home

Once you’ve found that perfect home you will need to determine what your initial offer will be.  Your offer should be based on what you think the home is actually worth, in its current condition, and what you can actually afford.  Even though you’re pre-approved for a certain amount, there may be items which you think might need to be repaired or replaced and you may have to come out of pocket for those items.  To determine the value of a home our real estate brokers are able to prepare a Comparative Market Analysis on the home.  

Comparative Market Analysis

A Comparative Market Analysis, sometimes referred to as a CMA, is an evaluation of a specific home compared to other homes which are similar in size, location and amenities (sometimes referred to as “Comps”) that have sold within the last 12 months or are under currently under contract. A CMA will assist to establish the current market value of the home and will (i) tell you what similar homes has sold for, (ii) how long they were on the market (days on market or DOM), and (iii) what their sales price was compared to their listing price. Please note: A comparative market analysis is not the same as an appraisal, which is performed by a licensed appraiser.

Home Inspections

Once you have an accepted offer, the next step will be to hire a home inspector.  CR Holland works with several home inspectors throughout the O’Fallon, Illinois area and we can provide you with a list of 3 or 4 of them upon request. A home inspector will inspect the home for defaults and this will be used as a bargaining tool to lower the price of the home or repair items which are listed on the inspection report.  In some cases we have been successful in obtaining cash back at closing to make the repairs or we have used the money to help with the down payment.  We also recommend hiring a termite inspector as well as a Radon Inspector.   


The appraisal is scheduled by the lender.  Typically, (if we have time on the contract) we recommend scheduling the appraisal after the Home Inspection.  The reason being is that we don’t want our clients to pay for an appraisal if the home inspection report comes back and there are significant structural or material defects with the home and the buyer wants to terminate the contract.  Normally the appraisal takes 2 or 3 days to complete once the appraiser appraises the homes.