Whether you are a first-time home buyer or forty-first time home buyer, a home is not just about the square footage. Its about how a house fills your specific needs, wants, and desires.
Is this purchase for personal use, vacation rental or perhaps an investment buy and flip? Its about how you feel when you walk through the front door, and the way you can instantly envision this property satisfying your needs.
The Home Buying Process begins with selecting a real estate agent through taking possession of your new property. There are many in between steps and you want to make sure that your agent is focused and committed to fulfilling your specific goals, not theirs.
Steps Along the Way: Funding:
How will you decide to fund your new purchase? Why should I get pre-qualified? What is the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval?
I recommend buyers get pre-qualified before beginning their home search. Knowing exactly what your budget is for home buying reduces the risk of not being able to qualify for a loan. Especially after you have fallen in love with a certain property.
Better yet, in a seller’s market, become pre-approved for a loan before you start your search.
Here is the difference: pre-approval is a more specific estimate of what you could borrow from your lender and requires documents such as your W2, recent pay stubs, bank statements and tax returns. Pre-qualification is just a guesstimate of what a lender might offer you based on limited financial documentation. In a seller’s market where properties are being sold very quickly it is a smart move to be pre-approved before you put in an offer on a home.
Lastly, if you have a home to sell before buying a new one it is wise to schedule an appraisal for your current home. It is even more important if these proceeds are going to be forwarded towards the purchase of your new property.
Making an Offer:
Once you have found the property you want to buy, together with your agent you will write a purchase agreement offer. While much of the agreement is standard, there are a few areas that can be negotiated:
- Price: It can depend on market conditions, seller’s or buyer’s market, condition of the home and the length of time on the market.
- Move-In Date: the more flexible you can be, the better. It may take time for your seller to re-locate.
- Contract Negotiations: Your seller may accept, reject, or counter your offer to purchase. The most common is for a seller to counter an offer. This is when negotiating skills come into play. You and your agent will discuss what is most important to you and how you can be assured that your needs will be met during the negotiation process.
Prepare ahead of time for the closing. Bring the following items to your closing session:\
- Certified check for closing costs and the full down payment.
- An insurance binder for the home and paid receipt for the coverage.
- Photo IDs
- Social Security Numbers
- Addresses for the past 10 years.
Two things need to happen for ownership to occur:
- The Buyers’ funds are delivered by check or wire from your lender to the seller.
- The Deed transfers ownership and is recorded at the County Clerk’s Office and then sent to the new owner after processing.
Clearly there are more steps along the way such as: termite inspection, home inspection, perhaps roof or pool inspections. But for the most part, I have focused on the larger milestones of the home buying process that can be facilitated by a real estate agent who has a fiduciary responsibility to make this process as smooth as possible for you.
Good Luck and Happy House Hunting!