If you’re like most people, buying a home represents your single biggest investment – and debt. As such, the home buying process can be one of the most exciting, but sometimes also stressful, experiences you ever go through. This may be true whether you’ve bought many homes or you’re looking to buy your first, whether you are buying an existing home, new construction or having a home built.
1. Get pre-approved. You will want to be able to submit your pre approval letter with an offer you make on a home so it is important to have this completed up front. A lender is more than just an interest rate and fees. Do the research or get a referral. The Loan Officer you select needs to know you and your goals so they can help you determine what loan program best suits you and your needs. They need to be available to answer your questions and be patient. This is the single most personal as well as biggest financial decision you will make and you need to know that the loan officer you are working with is looking out for your best interests. That is why we would never suggest using an online lender or any lender than isn’t local so you can meet with them in their office, face to face. Also, most sellers are advised by their Realtors not to accept offers unless the buyer is using a local lender.
2. Remember not to make any large purchases unless you talk to your lender. Do not apply for any credit cards or add to your credit card debt unless you talk with your lender. Make sure to continue to pay all of your bills on time. It is very tempting to buy new furniture or appliances, but resist. You do not want to jeopardize your ability to get your loan once you find your home. Do consider the costs that go into making a move and be sure that you have funds set aside for a moving truck, movers, cleaning supplies, storage unit, new furniture, window treatments, painting costs, or repair costs that may be needed.
3. Decide what you want in a home. What are your wants and needs? If you are buying a home with a spouse or significant other, make sure you have discussed what is important to each of you and have decided what things will make the "must have" list.
4. Begin looking at homes. We can show you any home that is on the market, regardless of whose sign is in the yard. We have a great working relationship with all companies and their agents, not just REMAX and owner that have their home "For Sale By Owner". Read through the real estate glossary as it will help you understand more of the “whys” of the home buying process.
5. Making an offer on the home you choose. We will help you determine what is a good starting offer based on the sales price of other homes in the area. You will want to bring your checkbook for earnest money (see real estate glossary). After we write our offer up, we will present the offer to the listing agent who then will discuss the terms with the seller. They may accept our offer as is, or submit a counter offer. We then, can accept their counter or make a counter offer as well. This can happen several times during the negotiation process. Regardless of whether you choose to do an inspection or not, we always suggest that we ask the seller to pay for you a 1 year home warranty.
6. After agreeable terms are reached between you and the seller, we have 10-14 days typically to do an inspection of the home, unless it is being sold “As Is” or you choose to not do an inspection. You will want to schedule an appointment with a qualified inspector as soon as possible so we have ample time to make decisions on repair items, if needed. Inspection items can also be negotiated as well depending on the situation. We have names of inspectors that our past clients have felt did a good inspection for them, but you can hire anyone you choose as we don’t endorse or recommend anyone. The inspection is for your knowledge of the home and is paid for by you at the time of the inspection. The listing agent and seller are not present at the inspection and do not receive a copy of the inspection report. It is your property. However, if we make a repair/replacement request, we will want to include the page of the inspection report that discusses the repair/replacement so the seller and repair person they hire will know what the problem is.
7. After terms are reached with the inspection items, if there are any, there isn’t a lot for you to do regarding the actual home until you get keys at your agreed upon possession time. However, there is a lot being done behind the scenes by our team and the listing Realtor, the brokerages, the lender and the closing company. There are many steps in the process of getting your home closed and you won’t see or hear about most of them, but here are a few:
8. As we are waiting for the closing, you will be working with your lender to get all of the information they need. W2s, tax returns, employment info, obtaining homeowners insurance, etc. You will be making moving plans, arranging for your change of address, and calling the utility companies to switch the utilities over to your name for your possession date.
9. A day or so prior to your closing, we will do a final walk thru of the home to make sure it is in the same or better condition than we last saw it and that all (if any) repair work we negotiated has been completed.
10. The closing time and place is arranged by your lender. Your lender will tell you how much money you need to bring to closing for your down payment and closing costs. You may get keys at this time or at your agreed upon possession time. The listing agent and/or seller(s) may be there, but they are not allowed in the closing room.
We look forward to working with you and being by your side during this milestone in your life.