Generally, finding and purchasing a home includes the following steps. This is just a summary of all actions that have to be performed and all conditions that have to be met on the way to the home ownership.
Define Your Goals, Research Your Options, Make Your PlansGiven that buying a home is such a big step, it’s all the more important for you to educate and prepare yourself as much as possible in advance. This means clearly determining why you’re buying and what kind of home you’re looking for. And because buying and financing a home are so closely related, it also means examining your current financial situation and projecting how much you can afford.
Once you’ve answered these questions, even tentatively, you’ll be in a better position to research your housing and mortgaging options, as well as create an action plan and timelines for moving forward. You may want to do this yourself, but you may also benefit by consulting an experienced REALTOR® right from the start.
Contact A REALTOR®Buying real estate is a complex matter at the best of times, given that there are so many factors to consider and no two homes or transactions are alike. However, with all the unique opportunities and potential pitfalls of the current market, it’s even more important for you to contact a REALTOR® once you’ve definitely decided to buy. In choosing an Agent to guide you through the property search, financing, negotiation and transaction processes, you should consider their local market knowledge, experience and track record. CLICK HERE to check and sign up for our Preferred Buyer Program.
Get Pre-Approved For A LoanGenerally, it is recommended that you get pre-approved for a loan before you start viewing homes with the serious intention of buying. The pre-approval process involves meeting with a lender and authorizing them to examine your current financial situation and credit history. On the basis of this examination the lender will provide you with a document that details how much you can borrow to buy a home.
The benefits of pre-approval include:
• You’ll have information about what you can afford and be able to plan accordingly
• As a qualified, motivated buyer you’ll be taken more seriously when you make an offer on a home
• Lenders can tell you whether you qualify for any special programs that will enable you to afford a better home (particularly if you’re a first-time buyer)
Real estate financing is available from many sources, and an experienced REALTOR® will be able to suggest lenders with a history of offering excellent mortgage products and services.
Start Looking At The PropertiesThere are many benefits to starting the search on-line. You can view many homes and their details, take video tours and access neighborhood info. Keep in mind though that when looking for the properties on the Internet, no matter on what site, you might be missing out on the best deals? All public Internet sites, including the big ones, don’t have all available listings and most of them might be displaying properties that are already under contract.
To avoid that get a backstage pass to our MLS database, as if you were an agent. You will have the ability to see all the homes for sale based on your own search criteria and more importantly, get to act on them before most agents even show them to other buyers. Fill out the form in the top-right corner and in the “Question Field” type MLS ACCESS.It’s also important to view homes in person. While their property details may seem similar online, homes can actually be very different in terms of layout, design, workmanship and other aspects. In addition, you should ideally view homes with the help of an experienced and eagle-eyed REALTOR® who’ll notice things you might miss, provide expert analysis, and act as an impartial sounding board.
Make An Offer And Negotiate The DealNow that you’ve found the home you’d like to buy, it’s time to make an offer. Your local real estate association, working with legal counsel, has developed the contracts that are used for transactions in your area. These contracts enable you to specify a sale price and also include many clauses for specifying various terms of purchase, such as the closing and possession dates, your deposit amount, and other conditions. You should carefully review these clauses with your REALTOR® to ensure that they express your desired offer. In addition to drawing up the contract, your REALTOR® will be happy to address all your questions about the offer process.
Once you’ve written the offer, your REALTOR® will present it to the seller’s representative. At that point, the seller can accept your offer, reject it, or counter it to initiate the negotiation process. Successive counter-offers, with deadlines for responding and meeting conditions, will be exchanged between you and the seller until a mutually-satisfactory pending agreement is reached or the negotiations breakdown.
Monitor The TransactionFinding a home does not mean that your investigative duties are over. Once the contract has been executed you usually have 5 business days for the attorney approval. It is crucial that you only work with an experienced real estate attorney who can offer you the best legal representation. Real estate agents should not give you any legal advice at all.
You also have 5 business days to perform a professional home inspection. Is it worth it? In most cases, the answer is yes. It is important that you hire a professional home inspector who will help you discover more about the home before you purchase it. In case there are serious problems with the property, you will be prepared to ask for repairs, a reduced price, or walk away from the deal. Although you will have to pay for a home inspection, it may save you a lot of money in the long run.
Once you have a pending agreement, it’s time to go back to your chosen lender to finalize your mortgage process so you can close the deal. If you’ve already been pre-qualified or pre-approved with a lender for a certain loan and home purchase, this phase should be a relatively straightforward matter that centers on finalizing the loan details and signing the mortgage papers. This process could take up to 30 days and once the loan is clear to close the attorneys will be able to schedule a closing.
Closing The DealIf you’ve efficiently taken care of everything connected with purchasing your new home, the experience of taking ownership will be a positive joy with no surprises. The last step to the closing (also referred to as the “escrow” or “settlement”) is the final walkthrough. Usually just before the closing you’ll be given the chance to look at the home again to make sure it’s in the same condition as when you signed the sale agreement.
On the Closing date you’ll go to a lawyer’s office or a title company to verify and sign all the paperwork required to complete the transaction. The settlement will include paying your closing costs, legal fees, property adjustments and transfer taxes. At that point, the lender will wire the money and you’ll receive the property title, copies of all documentation pertaining to the purchase and obviously the keys to your new home.