THE HOMEBUYING PROCESS
The very first step in the homebuying process is finding a real estate agent. You want to find someone that you vibe with, someone that you can talk openly with! Ahem, me.
FIND YOUR AGENT.
DETERMINE YOUR BUDGET.
Talk to a qualified and trusted lender. We recommend someone local who you can meet with face to face to go over your options. There are a lot of words that you’ll discuss, don’t be afraid to ask questions! PMI, PITI, credit score, debt to income ratio, down payment, FHA loans, seasoned funds, gift letter, pre-qualification and pre-approval, tax returns, etc. Be sure to go over down payments and other anticipated expenses such as closing costs so you can prepare for what checks you’ll need to be able to write. Make sure to ask for a generic pre-qual letter. We’ll get a property specific letter once your ready to put in an offer as well.
Once you’ve determined what you can realistically afford, the fun part begins! Shopping for houses! As your buyer’s agents, we will send you properties on the market that fit your criteria: not only budget, but many other factors such as, size, locations, amenities, conditions, etc.
Tour houses: we’ll be on a schedule in most cases in order for you to see as many properties as possible. So try to be mindful of the schedule we’re on and remember if other agents are present, they work for the seller. Questions are fine, but keep feedback and interest for when we’ve left the property.
SHOPPING FOR HOMES.
SUBMITTING AN OFFER.
Once you’ve found the perfect property it’s time to put in an offer. Offers are placed by submitting a purchase and sale agreement with a prequalification letter, copy of a $1,000 check made out to the listing agency, along with signing the seller’s disclosure.
Things to think about when submitting an offer are price, closing costs credits, mortgage contingency, and closing timeline. All of these factors will make your offer stronger or weaker; we will discuss each to make sure your offer or subsequent counteroffer get accepted. Once we’ve come to an agreement, a new contract will be signed and give to your lender. And then the real hard work begins.
Now that you’re under contract, there are a few deadlines to keep in mind: 10 business days to conduct and conclude the home inspection. This includes negotiating any credits and repairs, so be ready to set up a home inspection right away. And be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars on it. But it’s worth every penny if there are serious defects in the property. And you can walk away from the contract and get your deposit back at any point during this period.
Second deposit check will be due at some point in this beginning stage. Mortgage commitment. This is the date by which your lender commits to giving you the loan. Be prepared to turn over a lot of paperwork during this time: bank statements, check stubs, tax returns, etc. And be careful about making any large or unusual deposits or charges during this time. This includes applying for any other type of credit, even to buy furniture or appliances. Your credit will be run again just before the closing, so don’t make any changes that will affect it.
WORKING ON TOWARDS CLOSING.
Everyone is working toward three golden words: clear to close. Once we hear those words, we know the closing can be scheduled. In order to get to that step, you’ll need to pick an attorney to conduct the closing for you and prepare all of the documents you need to sign in collaboration with your lender. You will also need to get an insurance binder on the property, so speak to an insurance agent to ensure that is in place for the closing date.
Keep in mind, if you’re in a rental, giving your landlord notice, and at what point in the process this should be done so you don’t extra rent but aren’t left homeless if something falls through. The final step will be to get any final documentation to your lender so all of their conditions have been cleared.
The closing day is finally here! A few things to remember: Put the utilities into your name beginning on that day. We will schedule a final walk-thru of the property. You are here to make sure the property is in broom swept and clean condition, any repairs have been made (if you haven’t inspected those already), and that there is no damage since you last were in the home.
You’ll need to coordinate with the closing attorney if any funds are due, if so a bank or certified check is necessary. Bring your driver's license or other government-issued ID.
Finally, be prepared to sign a lot of documents, but when you’re done and the attorney has recorded the deed with the town hall, YOU ARE OFFICIALLY A HOMEOWNER!