So, you want to buy a home! Now what?
Well, you’ve come to the right place! This page will outline all the necessary steps for buying a home – from starting your search to closing.
Step 1: Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval
An important ingredient in a successful home search is knowing how much you can afford. You don’t want to fall in love with a property only to find out it’s outside your price range.
That’s why I recommend getting a Mortgage Pre-Approval. This is a document from your bank or other lender stating how much of a mortgage they are willing to give you. There are two advantages to getting this pre-approval:
- It gives you an understanding of just how much home you can afford.
- It’s a sign to sellers that you are a serious, prepared buyer – which gives you the edge when making an offer.
I work with several excellent, competitive brokers and would be happy to put you in touch with them. A pre-approval letter can usually be generated in just a couple of hours.
Step 2: Request a Custom MLS Search
At this point, you are ready to request a custom MLS search. It’s simple to do this! Just contact me, tell me the specifics of the home you are looking for (price range, location, square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, and any other needs/wants), and I will get you all set up! This is MUCH easier than searching Realtor.com or Zillow and MUCH more accurate, as those large websites are often out of date and the home you want is already gone by the time you see it. With an MLS search, you will be alerted by email anytime a new listing matching your criteria hits the market, allowing you to be among the first to know!
Step 3: Look at Homes!
Now comes the fun part – for both of us! It’s time to look at homes! Once you’ve decided what you want, we will set aside some time that’s convenient for you to go look at homes. You will find that all I am concerned with is finding you the home you love, even if that takes a few trips (and it might)!
Step 4: Make an Offer, Negotiate, Go Under Contract
At this stage of the game, you have found the home you want and decide to make an offer. I will help guide you in this, but ultimately, the offer you make is your sole decision. There will likely be some negotiation between you and the seller and, eventually, we will hopefully come to agreeable terms and execute the contract.
A few things will be key to your offer and could be terms that change during negotiations:
- Purchase Price
- Type of Financing (FHA, Conventional, VA, USDA, Cash, etc.)
- Date of Closing
- Binder Deposit (usually 1% of the home’s price to be held in escrow)
- Included appliances/fixtures
Step 5: Make Loan Application
Within 5 days, you will need to formally apply for your loan with your lender of choice. They will walk you through this process and tell you exactly what you will need.
Step 6: Set up the Home Inspection
You have 10 days from date of contract to have the home inspected. Some loans require this and others don’t, but it is ALWAYS a good idea! Home inspections are usually around $500, with extra fees for WDO (wood destroying organism) and/or pool inspections. This price can fluctuate depending on company and home square footage.
I know several excellent inspectors and will be happy to point you in the right direction, if you’d like!
Step 7: Negotiate Repairs
The home inspection (no matter how great the house is) will likely find something wrong with it. After all, that’s what you’re paying them for! Together, we will analyze the findings and decide what we should request be repaired or replaced. This is also a negotiation and any terms of the contract can change. You have 7 days from the date the inspection report is delivered to the seller to come to terms on repairs and replacements. Once this is executed, the seller will get to work on fixing what needs to be fixed and will provide us with receipts from licensed contractors before closing.
Step 8: Appraisal
Your lender will order the appraisal to take place. This is where an appraiser visits the property and determines if it is worth the price you are paying. If the property appraises for the price you are paying or more, all is well; however, if the appraisal amount comes in lower, we have a bit of a problem. The lender is only going to loan you up to the appraised value of the home, so either the sellers will need to lower the purchase price or you, the buyer, will need to bring cash to the table. Sometimes, after negotiating, the buyer and seller agree to split the difference. This will be up to you and the seller, but hopefully, the home appraises and all will be well!
Step 9: Clear To Close
Once the lender has all the information he or she needs, a clear to close will be issued and the title company or law firm will be given permission to close the sale.
Step 10: Walk-through and Closing
It’s finally here! Closing Day! We will walk the house the afternoon before or morning of closing to be sure all repairs have been completed and the house is in the condition expected. If there are no issues (usually there aren’t), we will head to the closing table! You will sign a TON of papers and leave with your keys!
If you’re thinking that this sounds like a ton of work and you’re feeling confused, that’s okay because you’re right on both counts! However, that’s why you have me! It’s my job to handle all the work, walk you through the process, explain each step, answer any questions you may have, and, ultimately, guide you home!