I have been in real estate for over 15 years and to this day I still get questions from buyers as to what's their next step once they have made contact with me as their realtor. I have decided to share the process to potential buyers.
As soon as you can, start reading web sites, newspapers, and magazines that have real estate news. Get familiar with the real estate market in the area that you are interested in and see how long listings stay on the market. Also, note any changes in asking prices. This will give you a sense of the housing trends in specific areas.
Before you start looking at homes, you will need to know how much you can actually buy. The best way to do that is to get pre approved for a mortgage. To get this done, you need to provide your financial information to your mortgage banker, such as income (W-2s, paystubs), tax returns, banks statements and have them review your credit. Your lender will review this information and tell you how much they can lend. This will give you the price range of the homes you should be looking at.
Real estate agents are important partners when you’re buying or selling a home. Real estate agents can provide you with helpful information on homes and neighborhoods that isn’t easily accessible to the public. Their knowledge of the home buying process, negotiating skills, and familiarity with the area you want to live in can be extremely valuable. And best of all, it doesn’t cost you anything to use an agent – they’re compensated from the commission paid by the seller of the house.
Start touring homes in your price range. It might be helpful to take notes on all the homes you visit. It can be hard to remember everything about them, so you might want to take pictures or videos to help you remember each home. Once you review the homes, create a short list of the homes that best suits you and your family. Keep in mind, that in today's market, homes are selling quickly therefore decide as soon as possible and then contact your realtor to negotiate an offer based on the value of comparable homes in the same neighborhood. Once you and the seller have reached an agreement on a price, and accept your offer, the house will go into escrow, which is the period of time it takes to complete all of the remaining steps in the home buying process.
As a buyer you have the right to do a home inspection on the property within a time frame negotiated on the offer accepted by seller. A Home inspection of the property is to check for signs of structural damage or things that may need fixing. Your real estate agent will help you arrange to have this inspection conducted. This inspection will give you the opportunity to renegotiate your offer or withdraw it without penalty if the inspection reveals significant material damage.
Both you and the seller will receive a report on the home inspector’s findings. You can then decide if you want to ask the seller to fix anything on the property before closing the sale. Before the sale closes, you will have a walk-through of the house, which gives you the chance to confirm that any agreed-upon repairs have been made.
Some homes are in a subdivision that has a mandatory HOA. While your mortgage loan is being processed, you also have to complete the required application if applicable with the association management company. This process can take up to 30 days therefore the sooner you are able to submit your application, the better. Your realtor will get the necessary application forms and information needed to you to get it done.
You will have many questions when you are purchasing a home, and having our experienced, responsive mortgage bankers assist you can make the process much easier. Every home buyer has their own reasons when choosing a mortgage. Some are interested in keeping their monthly payments as low as possible. Others are interested in making sure that their monthly payments never increase, and others may need assistance with closing costs. To each his own. I would always suggest to let your mortgage banker knows your concerns up front and to ask questions if you don't understand any part of the process. We are all here to educate and assist you and to let the transaction be as smooth as possible.
Lenders will arrange for an appraiser to provide an independent estimate of the value of the house you are buying. The appraiser is a member of a third party company and is not directly associated with the lender. The appraisal will let all the parties involved know that you are paying a fair price for the home.
As you can imagine, there is a lot of paperwork involved in buying a house. A title Company, usually referred to you by your real estate agent or lender, will handle all of the paperwork, title work, survey and other steps to the process and make sure that the seller is the rightful owner of the house you are buying. The title company will be in contact with all parties involved with the transaction and advise on status of process.
Clear to Close! The three words we all like to hear. This is when the lender have cleared the loan to close. Your realtor will arrange to have a walk through done usually the day before closing or the day of closing. The walk through is to confirm that the seller has delivered the home free of any furniture and debris, clean, and complete of all repairs negotiated during the home inspection. At the closing, you will sign all of the paperwork required to complete the purchase, including your loan documents. Once funds are delivered to the seller, you are ready to move into your new home!
Danielle Hanson PA | Broker Associate | Keller Williams Partners SW Realty Courtesy of Discover Bank Home Loans