Steps to Buying

There are so many aspects involved in the purchase of a home that buyers can often be left very confused by the whole experience. That’s why it is so important to have a real estate professional who can walk you through each step and address your questions along the way. We always ensure that buyers are comfortable with the experience and are fully aware of the options available to them. We’ve provided the basic steps of home buying below, but we encourage you to contact us for a thorough explanation of the home buying process.

Step 1: Prioritizing Your Needs
Start by establishing a list of features that you desire in a home and provide the reasons why. Use it as your basic search guide, but remember that depending on your financial situation, you will probably need to make some compromises. In addition, talk to us about where you want to live. Location is a critical part of any home purchase. Our real estate agents are trained to assist clients in narrowing down their choices by providing the latest market trends and local information like neighborhood statistics and community links.

Step 2: Determining How Much House
Once you know what you want in a home, you need to find out what you can afford. Use our mortgage – qualifying calculator to begin crunching the numbers. The next step is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. The pre-approval process will take into consideration your personal information such as income, debt and credit history. The information will be used to determine your maximum loan amount. Once you find a property, the remaining pieces of the loan application can be completed. By definition, a pre-approved buyer has an approved mortgage subject to an appraisal of the property. A buyer can often use this pre-approved status as leverage during the negotiation process.

Step 3: Searching for the Perfect Home
When you get a good idea of the community you’d like to live in and have your loan pre-approval papers in hand, you can begin searching for your dream home. It’s a great idea to start your house-hunting search online. It will save you time and assist you in pinpointing properties that meet your search criteria. The next step is to contact us to arrange for visits at homes in your desired neighborhood and price range. When you start viewing properties, it’s a good idea to take notes as you walk through. When you visit too many homes, the unique features of each property will start to become a blur.

Step 4: Negotiating the Offer
Once you find the perfect home, you will need to make an offer to the seller. This is typically the most difficult part of the home-buying process because the involved parties have completely opposite goals. In general, the more you know about a seller’s motivation, the stronger negotiating position you have. For example, a seller who must relocate quickly due to a job transfer may be amenable to a lower price. Other so-called “motivated sellers” include people going through a divorce, facing job loss or other financial hardships, or who have already purchased another home. Remember that the listing price is what the seller would like to receive, but it is not necessarily what they will settle for. Before making an offer, check the recent sales prices of comparable homes in the neighborhood to see how the seller’s asking price stacks up.

Step 5: Inspecting and Insuring the Property
As soon as the seller accepts your written offer, the document becomes a legally binding contract. You will need to coordinate various home inspections, arrange for homeowner’s insurance, and finalize the mortgage. The purchase contract can be written to include a contingency for any repairs needed on the property or related items that the seller must take care of before closing. If these items are not dealt with, and you have such a clause in your contract, you can delay or possibly cancel the closing. If it’s not stated in the contract, you could face losing your deposit. There may also be costly legal implications stemming from backing out of a contract. An “inspection contingency” is always a good idea because it protects you as a buyer by allowing you to cancel closing on the deal if an inspector finds serious problems with the property. You will usually have the right to choose the inspector (and be responsible for paying for the inspections). You should consider inspections for structural soundness, insects, environmental hazards such as asbestos or radon gas, etc. Contingency clauses usually satisfy the concerns of both the buyer and the seller. Buyers also can protect themselves by inserting additional necessary contingencies. You can indicate which items like curtains and appliances are to remain with the house and then stipulate that you have the right to personally inspect the home 24 hours before closing to make sure all is in order.

Step 6: Closing on Your Home
Before the big closing day, you should make sure all the necessary paper work and deposits have been completed. If the mortgage, title work, homeowners insurance and other items necessary under local and state laws are not completed and brought to the closing table, the closing may not occur on time. Depending on what the contract indicates, this could result in further action including financial penalties and even the loss of your rights to the home. Once the property is officially yours, you may want to consider a few things before you move in. These items include arranging for an alarm system, turning on the electricity and phone, connecting to cable, cleaning or replacing the carpet, etc. This is also a good time to make some needed renovations such as interior painting.

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