The Home Buying Process
PreQualified/PreApproval: It’s important to know and understand what you can afford when it comes to purchasing your new home. In order to do that, it is highly recommended that you meet with a Mortgage Broker. They will be able to go over your current income and expenses, as well as review your expected future expenses based on the price range and eventually the home you choose.
Select an Agent: Purchasing a home is not always for the faint of heart… The Internet is a wealth of inaccurate information, listings go under contract the same day they’re listed, people overpay for properties and you could even miss out on listings completely. For these reasons and more are why you need us, experienced and reliable REALTORs to assist you every step of the way!
What is a REALTOR? All too often “REALTOR” and “Real Estate Agent” are used interchangeably in reality, however they are different, sometimes VERY different. A real estate agent is anyone who holds a real estate license, while a REALTOR is a designation real estate agents may obtain and holds them to an even higher and more in-depth code of ethics. Click here for more information.
Make your List: You’ve dreamed about it and probably discussed it time and time again but now it’s times to put the pen to paper. It is important to really go through and make note of everything. Start with the basics: Bedrooms, Bathrooms, Areas, Schools, Land etc. then go on to any other items that are truly important to you, what are your deal breakers and what are just your nice to haves.
The Search is On: Now that you are prequalified, have us as your Agents and your list; it is time to truly begin your search for your next home. As your Agent, we will input your basics and must have criteria, so you are sent only the listings that meet your criteria currently on the market, as well as set you up to be notified any time changes are made to your saved listings or new listings added. As you begin to walk-through homes, your criteria will become more in tune and may even change altogether; but as you get an idea of layouts, neighborhoods, local amenities etc. you’ll be even closer to finding just what you’re looking for in your new home. It may be the first house you walk into or it may be the 40th but we will be here every step of the way, guiding you home.
Offer: You have finally found a house; the next step is making it yours! When putting in an offer it is important to consider a few things; the first being your budget! Purchasing a home may very well be the largest investment you will ever make, and we do not take that lightly, it is very important to remember what you have planned and budgeted for. You should also consider the list price (typically this number is not just pulled from thin air), local comps (what similar homes in the area have sold for), taxes for that area, flood or military zones (these may require additional insurance). These are items we as your Agent can pull for you, along with any additional information or answers to other questions you may have. You’ll also want to determine what inspections/conditions you may want your offer contingent on, whether you’ll need/want closing costs assistance, if you want a home warranty included etc. Typically, a minimum Earnest Money Deposit is requested with offers from the Buyers to show their invested interest in the property. This typically will go toward the purchase price at closing however if as a buyer, you back out of the contract for a reason not allowed, you could forfeit this deposit as compensation to the Owner.
Counter Offer; It is not uncommon for the sellers to counter your offer (change or remove items from your original offer presented). If a counter offer is received we will go over with you any changes which you can then agree to or counter back until a final resolution is agreed on, either acceptance or rejection. There may also be a time where the seller will flat out reject your offer, sometimes they will provide a reason but unfortunately that is not always the case. If this happens, you may draw up a new offer to be presented.
Inspections: There are a number of inspections to consider when purchasing a home, these are just a few of the more common.
- Home Inspection It is highly recommended to get a Home Inspection, this is an overall inspection of the property to identify any defects/areas of concerns and any other notes nthat may be beneficial to you, the home buyer.
- Termite/Moisture Inspection this inspection is also highly recommended, it’s purpose is to identify any potential wood destroying insects and/or moisture damage concerns in and around the house.
- Lead Base Paint Homes built prior to 1972 run the chance of having had lead base paint in the property. If present and disturbed, it could lead to health issues especially to those who may already have a weakened immune system. For a lead base paint inspection samples are taken and tested from various areas of the walls, trims, window sills etc.
- HVAC/Plumbing/Electric/Roof Depending on the age of the home or items identified in the home inspection you may want to have a certified technician in any or all of these areas to ensure proper working condition or identify any recommended repairs or replacements.
- Well/Septic For properties not on City/County utilities and use a well or septic system inspections are offered to check and ensure proper working order for those systems as well.
Closing Costs: When it comes to the finances of purchasing a home there are probably a few you are familiar with (down payment, purchase price, etc.) but there may be some that you are not. “Closing Costs” is a widely used term that encompasses a multitude of fees/charges. Here are a list of SOME (not all will apply to every purchase):
- Settlement/Closing Fees
- Title & Record Fee
- Title Insurance
- Origination Fees
- Transaction/Admin Fee
- Home Warranty
- HOA/Condo Docs
Closing: In the weeks to days leading up to closing you will most likely experience a couple of things. The company/attorney doing the closing or sometimes we, the agent will reach out to schedule the actual day and time for closing. Your Mortgage Broker will reach out to you for any updated information or necessary final documents to run the final mortgage approval and send it through underwriting. A draft of the closing disclosure, sometimes referred to as a HUD or ALTA statement that we will review to ensure all of the financials are correct, this will also provide the amount, if any that will need to be brought to closing. Finally, you have made it through all of the hoops, signed ALL of the dotted lines, handed over the check and the keys are yours!