The Home Buying Process
The first step to the home buying process is having a realistic expectation of what you can borrow from a lender. While you may be comfortable with a higher monthly payment, a lender is bound by certain requirements to keep your monthly payment within a certain range (relative to your income and other debts). So before spending a lot of time and gas looking at homes, it makes sense to get pre-approved or pre-qualified by your lender.
You can use any lender you like – it does not have to be where you currently bank, and actually we have several lenders we can recommend. Contact us and we’ll send you some contacts that we have worked with frequently who produce great results.
Now for the fun part – looking at properties! If you haven’t done so already, this is the time to hire a buyer’s agent!
To be sure you are seeing every property available that meets your criteria, be sure the site you are using shows all the listings available. Our site shows all the listings in the MLS on our search page. A great way to stay on top of the latest inventory is with Automatic Email Alerts. You can register for those here.
When new properties come on the market, you may choose to drive by the property if you aren’t sure of the area, or call your agent to schedule a showing. If you’re located out of area, we can “preview” the property for you. We can take videos and additional photos to help you visualize a property. It’s not uncommon in our market for buyers to make offers on properties sight unseen, especially when the inventory is low.
Offer and Negotiation
Once you’ve found a property you want to buy, it’s time to work with your agent to put your offer terms in writing.
At this point, the seller may accept your offer and form a contract with you. Or, the seller may reject your offer or make a counteroffer. If the seller makes a counteroffer, you are now negotiating. Once you and the seller have agreed on all terms and put them in writing (including signatures by both parties), a contract is formed.
This is an amount of time (negotiated during the previous step) that gives YOU, the buyer, the right to inspect the property, review the seller’s disclosure, review the survey and decide if you want to move forward with the purchase. The contract may include a non-refundable option fee, which is paid to the seller upon formation of a contract and credited at closing back to the buyer.
It’s also a good idea to check with your lender prior to submitting an offer to be sure the time frame in the contract is enough time for your lender to approve your loan.
After the option period is over, this is when the appraisal is ordered. During this time, the seller is also working on any repairs requested by the buyer and the title company is reviewing all documents necessary to transfer ownership.
The lender is working hard to fully approve the buyer and making sure the loan is ready in time for closing.
That’s it, you’ve bought a house! You will go to your closing appointment and sign a big stack of documents to transfer ownership from the seller to you. After both buyer and seller have signed, the lender will send the funds to complete the transaction and you are given the keys to your new home!
Contact Us to Buy a Home!
When you’re ready to start the home buying process, we’d love to help!