Buying a home can be a daunting. There are so many things to consider and many steps involved. There are Buyers, Sellers, Realtors, Attorneys, Lenders, Inspectors, Appraisers, Underwriters, Bank Attorneys, Paralegals and sometimes more. It’s important to understand each step of the process and have a professional who is really looking out for you to guide you and protect you. To help make the process go as smoothly as possible, examine some of the considerations that are important to the buying process. It’s important to answer these questions before you begin your search:
- How much do you qualify to borrow?
- How much can you afford to spend?
- What type of home best fits your needs?
- Are there any specific features that you simply can’t live without?
1. Consider your Financial Options
First time home buyers have many options for the purchase of a new home. Some are commonly known while others are not so openly advertised. As an experienced agent, I am able to connect you with professionals who can help you find the perfect financial option. You will get a clear idea on how much you can and choose to spend.
2. Find the Right Home
There are many home choices. I can help you to find the perfect home by helping you define your goals right from the start. Together we will explore your likes and dislikes and things you cannot live without. We will look at types of homes, structural and mechanical systems and what makes a home a solid investment. I will educate you and inform you so that you can make a wise decision.
3. Make an Offer
Once you find a home that best suits your needs, I will then help you make your offer as strong as possible. In addition to price, which is certainly important, the other things that affect your offer are deposit, concessions, inclusions and exclusions, financing terms, contingencies, commitment dates and tentative closing dates. Don’t worry if all of that sounds overwhelming – it’s my job to explain it all to you and show you how to present the best possible offer. Only 1 out of 21 contracts are accepted as written so we are prepared for some type of counter from the seller – either regarding price or terms. Again, as a skilled negotiator, I can be of great assistance. These negotiations are probably the most important part of the process so you will be glad that you have an experienced agent working for you. Once we reach an agreement, the contracts are sent to the attorneys for what is called attorney approval.
4. Attorney Approval
Contracts are sent to the attorney for “attorney approval”. Your attorney will look over the contract and addendums and ensure everything is in good order. This same attorney will assist along the way with making sure the home has clear title and will orchestrate the closing with the seller’s attorney. It is important to use a Real Estate Attorney as the transaction is very specific. If you need any recommendations for a Real Estate Attorney, I have several names of attorneys that my clients have found to be extremely competent.
5. Get the Home Inspected
Even when a home appears to be flawless, it’s still important to have it inspected by a professional. But, don’t let an imperfect home inspection scare you away. The purpose of a home inspection is primarily to discover health and safety issues. Too often however, the inspection becomes confused with an opportunity to pursue perfection. Unless the home you are purchasing is new construction, it will not be perfect. Most homes will have some issues that may come up during inspection. It is not unusual to have some minor things like ungrounded outlets, dripping faucets, furnaces that need cleaning etc. Sometimes there are more major things like faulty roofing or mold. In many instances these things can be negotiated and remediated or you may choose to cancel the contract. You may even have the option to renegotiate the selling price or have the owner repair these issues. Once again it is extremely important to have a good negotiator working on your behalf. For a list of inspectors that clients have found very thorough, please contact me.
Once the inspection addendum is negotiated and signed you will give a deposit to your Realtor. The deposit is made out to the Real Estate Company for the Seller and placed in an escrow account and used towards your closing.
The next step is working with your lender and providing the information he or she needs to prepare your mortgage paperwork. The lender will request certain information and explain the process in detail. The financing takes several weeks and the bank will need to send out an appraiser to appraise the home prior to lending any funds.
8. Behind the Scenes
While you are excited and waiting to get into your new home many things are happening behind the scenes. Your attorney is making sure the home you are about to purchase has clean title and that no one else is claiming to own it. A survey is done to stake out the property width and depth. You will be required to purchase home insurance. Your mortgage professional is sending paperwork and underwriters are reviewing the loan. Your Realtor is checking in with everyone involved to make sure things are progressing as they should. It is a quiet time for several weeks but that just means that everything is going along as it should be.
Once the loan is reviewed and approved the Bank issues a Commitment Letter that basically indicates the bank is committing to lend the money to you. This is a big step in the process and means we are getting close to closing!
10. Clear to Close/Final Walk-through
Finally everything is set and the lender issues a “clear to close”. That means the loan is cleared for closing and the attorneys can schedule a closing date and time. Up until now the closing date has been a tentative date everyone is working towards. Now an actual closing date will be given. We will do a “final walk-through” of the home to ensure that everything is in good order before we close. We will make sure that any repairs required upon inspection have been done and that the Sellers have carefully removed their items from the home.
Finally the big day is here! Your attorney will provide you with the amounts needed for the checks to bring to close. You will complete the remaining paperwork and receive the key. Your hard work will have paid off and you will be the proud owner of a wonderful investment!
Be sure to Contact Me
if you want to make this process go as smoothly as possible