The Internet and social media offer people vast resources of advice and information on homes for sale, pricing, neighborhoods, and more. But how to use that information to buy a home is often confusing. I can help you interpret the timelines, checklists, and charts to determine how it applies to your specific situation.
Here are some general steps to expect when buying a home:
1. Initial meeting. Let’s meet for coffee or lunch to discuss your home ownership goals, the home buying process in detail, your timing, and your expectations. This is a great chance for you to get many of your initial questions answered and determine if you think it’s a good fit for us to work together.
2. Loan pre-approval. It’s important to speak with a lender as soon as possible about loan options. You’ll also need to get pre-qualified for a loan, which is vital to making an offer on a home. I’m happy to recommend a lender but feel free to work with whomever you choose.
3. Home search. You’ve probably already started looking at homes online, which is great! Once you’re pre-approved, let’s go on a home tour. Many times, homes look different in person than they do online. Never feel rushed when searching for your next home. You’ll know the right home when you see it, whether that takes a week or several months.
4. Making an offer. When you have the “This is it!” moment we’ll put together an offer to purchase the home. Some key offer terms include: purchase price, loan amount, earnest money amount, contingencies (i.e. home inspection, appraisal, financing, etc.), and settlement date. The offer will also include your pre-approval letter and a copy of your earnest money check.
5. Negotiation. I will submit your offer to the seller’s listing agent and negotiate, with your input, to get you the best deal. There may be several counteroffers between you and the seller before an agreement is reached.
6. Preparing for Settlement. Once there is a ratified contract we’ll work together to fulfill the terms of the contract to reach an on-time settlement. We’ll be scheduling the home inspection and working with your lender to ensure the appraisal and financing steps move forward. If you buy a condo, you will also be reviewing condo docs. The settlement company will contact you for information to prepare the closing documents. You will need to obtain homeowner’s insurance and also set up your utilities.
7. Settlement. Settlement typically occurs at the office of the settlement company and takes about an hour. The settlement attorney will explain all the documents you’ll be signing to transfer ownership from the seller to you and close your loan. Once all the papers are signed you’ll get the keys to your new home!
Buying a home can be a roller coaster of emotions, which is normal. But it should also be fun. You never have a second chance to buy your first home. So make sure the experience is a good one. With an experienced REALTOR, lender and settlement company, you’ll find the home process easy and stress-free. To be sure, just ask my clients.
Happy house hunting!
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