12 Steps to Buying a Home
1. Choose a Realtor
A Realtor is your best asset in finding the right property and then making it yours. I will educate you about the market, help you evaluate properties, negotiate a winning contract on your behalf, and represent your rights on the way to the closing table. The right Realtor for you is not only competent and reliable, but also someone you like and trust. Plus, to buyers, the services of a Realtor are 100% free!
2. Get pre-Approved
Talk to a lender about your financing options. I can recommend some great local lenders to contact. A lender will help you determine your price range, your monthly mortgage payment, and your out-of-pocket costs for purchasing your home. Once you are pre-approved, you can act quickly when you see “the one.” Plus, a pre-approval letter will make your offer look more attractive to sellers.
3. Search for a House
After discussing what features you are looking for and what neighborhoods suit you, I will send you property listings that match your criteria. If a house stands out, then I'll set up an appointment and accompany you to see it in person. With a Realtor’s trained eye and expertise by your side, you are well-equipped to choose the right house for you and your needs.
4. Make an Offer
When you find the house you love, make an offer! You and I will strategize and compose an offer that is favorable to you and likely to be acceptable to the seller. I will also research recent comparable sales, so that you can be confident that your sale price is in line with fair market value. Sometimes the seller makes a counter-offer and you may follow that with your own counter-offer. I'm very experienced with these negotiations to get you the best deal, considering all market factors and each party’s bargaining position.
5. Pay a Deposit
When your offer is accepted, you will submit a deposit check — about 1% of the sale price — within 72 hours. The deposit will be returned to you if you choose to cancel the contract due to unsatisfactory inspections, low appraisal, or failure of financing. If you choose to proceed with the sale, the deposit will be credited towards your down payment at closing.
6. Schedule Inspections
Inspections will allow you to assess the condition of the property. I can recommend types of inspections and reputable inspectors. If there are defects that you were not aware of when you made your offer, then I'll negotiate with the seller to either fix these deficiencies or pay an appropriate amount of money towards your closing costs. If the inspections or any other research into the property reveals that this is not the house for you after all, you will be able to cancel the contract.
7. Order the Appraisal
Your lender will require and order an appraisal to be done. The appraisal will inform the lender of the estimated value of the property to ensure that you are not overpaying. If the appraised value is lower than your sales price, I will negotiate with the seller to adjust the price. However, if the seller refuses to lower the price, then you may cancel the contract.
8. Obtain Insurance
Your lender will require that you obtain homeowners’ and flood insurance for the property. I can recommend some reliable insurance agents, and you can shop for the rates you like best. If the property is in X flood zone, the lender will not require flood insurance, but it is smart to have it anyway!
9. Hire a Title Attorney
Find a title attorney to verify the title, provide title insurance, and coordinate the closing documents with your lender. I can recommend good title companies in your area. The title attorney will assure you that there are no issues with or liens on the ownership of the property. If there are, the title attorney will remedy them before closing. The closing will take place at the title company’s office.
10. Finalize Financing
Although you already submitted some documents during pre-approval, your lender will require you to submit additional documentation to verify your funds and income. The loan approval process takes about 30-45 days. Once your loan has been approved by your lender and its underwriting department, you are ready to head to the closing!
11. Attend the Final Walk-through
A few days before the closing date, you and I will walk through the house to make sure that it is in better or the same condition as the day that you made your offer. Make sure that the seller has fixed any defects that they promised to fix at the end of your inspection period.
12. Buy Your New House!
Shortly before the closing, the title company will tell you the final amount of funds that you must bring to closing. This amount will include your down payment, insurance premiums, escrows, lender fees, title work fees, title insurance, and potentially prorated property taxes, rents, or condo dues. Any seller-paid costs, including the amount you negotiated after inspections, will be taken off your bottom line. The lender will send your financing directly to the title company. After you sign a pile of paperwork, the house is officially yours. Take the keys and celebrate!
If you'd like to discuss anything further, I would be happy to sit down with you and chat any time. Please contact me and we'll set a time that works best for you!