There are a lot of things that go on during the Home Buying Process. Not all of it is apparent at the beginning, even then it seems like such a huge task to accomplish. Sometimes you need to take a step back and look at a birds eye view of the process.
Step 1: Hire a REALTOR®
Caveat Emptor – Buyer Beware – used to be the motto of the real estate market before real estate professionals were allowed to represent you – the Buyer. In most likelihood the seller has a REALTOR® representing their interests, to protect yourself from being used hire a REALTOR® to protect your interests when buying your home.
Make sure you are comfortable with your agent before signing any paperwork. Sit down and talk with a few agents before choosing one. I promise most of us are better than car salesmen!
Step 2: Get Preapproved
Preapproval is the process you will take with a lender to determine exactly how much you can afford to spend on a home, firstly. Secondly, a preapproval letter guarantees the loan amount on a property, meaning that you can actually buy a home. Take a look at our Lender Recommendations!
Step 3: Look at Homes
This is arguably the most fun step! Look at the homes in your area you are interested in, that’s pretty much it. For House Hunting tips click THIS link!
Step 4: Make an Offer
Once you have found the home you want to buy, it’s time to make an offer. Sit down with your agent and discuss what offer you want to present to the seller. Ultimately, what you want to do is up to you, but you might want to listen to your agent’s advice.
After the offer to purchase is written, we present it to the seller, and selling agent. It is up to them to accept, reject, or counter the offer, and give up their response. Thus begins the process of negotiation, which is sometimes tiring and arduous, others easy as pie. Only when there is an accepted contract can you move on to the next step. Stay aware the seller may be, likely is, receiving other offers at the same time as yours, or during negotiation.
Step 5: Home Inspection and Insurability
The first step to take after the offer to purchase has been accepted is to get a home inspection. A home inspection is there to make sure you know exactly what the condition of the home you are buying is, and any forbearing issues. When the report is back you can move on, or ask for the seller to fix some things, which they may or may not do. If for some reason the house is in an absolute terrible condition, or there is a huge problem that the seller is not willing to fix, this “contingency” is what allows to you legally leave the contract.
At the same time, you will be talking with your insurance company, or multiple insurance companies, to determine if and at what price you are able to get home insurance at. Although this is a separate contingency it ties in with the home inspection because if you cannot find an insurance company that will insure the property, you have a chance to legally leave the contract again.
If everything goes well you will just move on to the next step without having to worry.
Step 6: The Appraisal
The appraisal is a report ordered by your lender to ensure the value of the property. For you, this step means a lot of twiddling your thumbs as you wait for the report to come back. The problems you can run into here is if the appraisal report determines a vastly different value of the home than the seller is asking for. But usually it comes back fine and you can move on.
Step 7: Prepare for Closing
While you are waiting for the appraisal and other final bits of paperwork there are some things you will want to do:
- Get your lender any information they ask for PROMPTLY.
- Line up moving trucks.
- Transfer utilities into your name.
- Attend the final walk-through with us. (24-48 before closing.)
- Review the Settlement Statement at least 3 days before closing.
Step 8: Closing
Finally, after bundles of paperwork and what seemed like months of waiting everything is ready for you to sign the last few documents, pay any outstanding balance, and get the keys to your new house.
That is the big picture to buying a home. For a more in depth look at each step of the process look at Tristan and his Whiteboard: The Buyer’s Series.
Better yet, get some FREE COFFEE and talk to an Mindful Living Realty Agent in person!