Steps in the Buying Process
Whether this is your first home purchase or your tenth home purchase, the following steps may help you through the process.
- Hire a real estate professional
Select a professional realtor either by referral or by interviewing and researching agents. Hire an agent that you can trust and that you can work with well. Buyers and their agents form a partnership based on trust and loyalty. Ask your agent about “buyer representation.”
- Shop for mortgage rates and terms
Your real estate agent can give you the name and number of several mortgage lenders. Shop the lenders to determine the best load program, rates and terms. If one loan seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Prequalify for a loan
Your mortgage lender can determine how much you can afford. Getting prequalified will serve two purposes: 1. you will know what you can afford and therefore search for homes in the appropriate price range. 2. Prequalified buyers prove to sellers that they are not only willing to buy, but they are able to buy. When a seller is presented two buyers and one is prequalified. The prequalified buyer is stronger.
- Determine your criteria
Prioritize your needs and wants in a home. Is realistic regarding your criteria based on what is available within your price range. Sometimes you have to use your imagination and visualize the house with different carpet or paint.
- Tour the Homes
Tour the homes that you have selected with your realtor. Its a good idea to make notes as you tour and rank the homes. When you finish your tour, you would know your three top picks. You will be prequalified and ready to write your offer.
- Make an offer
Review with your agent recent comparable sales. Know where you reasonably want to finalize your negotiations. This needs to be a win-win agreement between the buyer and the seller. Your agent can guide you through this process to achieve the best terms for you.
- Get the Homes inspected and repairs negotiated
Your contract will state the time you are allowed to have the home inspected by licensed inspectors. This is called the “option period.” after receiving the inspectors reports, determine what (if any) repairs need to be addressed. You will renegotiate with the seller regarding the repairs. An agreement must be finalized in writing prior to the end of the option period. If the seller does not agree to the request regarding repairs, the buyer can accept the property as is or terminate the contract.
- Get mortgage loan and homeowner insurance
Work with your lender by providing all documentation needed to process your loan quickly. Also acquire your homeowners insurance. Insurance is required to close.
- Prepare to Close
Arrange to have the utilities turned on or transferred into your name effective upon closing. Arrange to have your home rekeyed and schedule movers. If you plan on doing any repairs, change carpet, or painting, it is often easier to do prior to occupancy.
You will be required to provide “good funds” (Money) at closing. “Good funds” are either wire transfers or cashier check. At closing you and the seller will be signing many documents. After all documents are signed and the money given to the title company, the transition is considered closed. Keys are delivered to you, the new home owner.