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The Home Buying process

10 Steps to Purchasing a Home

Want to know where to begin the home buying process? This guide will show you the high-level process for buying a home.

When you’re ready to start the process, give our team a call.

1) Choose a real estate agent that's right for you.

Whether you are moving across town or across the country the  real estate market is a big place, and an experienced Agent can help you navigate it.

Tips for choosing a real estate agent:

Do your due diligence

Research real estate agents online, read reviews, and get recommendations from family and friends. Most importantly, test drive them. Have them take you to a few homes and see what kind of value and skills they bring to the table.

Are they educating you on the process of buying a home and making sure you’re fully informed? Are they available to answer your questions and do they call you back in a timely manner? Do you feel your concerns are being heard? 

Not all agents are created equal. Do not sign any Agreements unless you are certain they really are a great fit for you.

Choose someone you trust

A home is a very intimate, very expensive purchase. It’s critical that your real estate agent makes you feel comfortable, listens to you and respects your views.

Look for experience

An experienced, full-time real estate professional will likely  have already experienced market ups and downs, and will know how to navigate current conditions.

Undivided attention

While you want an agent with lots of experience, ask how many other clients he or she is working with currently. Generally speaking, if it’s a high number of home buyers or sellers, question whether you’ll get the attention required.

2) Know your budget.

Your lender will check your financial standing to determine how much you can borrow, how much you can afford, and which loans might be right for you.

3) Explore Mortgage options & get pre-approved.

Getting pre-approved for a home loan can be a daunting experience.

First, find a mortgage lender that you’re comfortable with. If needed, your Agent will be happy to provide a referral.

Applying for a mortgage requires a written application and supporting documentation; it can be a slightly intimidating process and there are a few things you should be ready for when meeting with your mortgage lender:

They will check your FICO score

Knowing your credit score will give lenders an inside look at your credit habits and history and will help them decide if you’re a good candidate for a loan.

Credit scores are ranked on a scale of 300-850 and the higher the better.

They will check your employment history

Lenders ask for a list of your past employers, how long you’ve been with your current employer, and what your annual salary or take-home pay is. They want to make sure you consistently earn money, with no major gaps in income, and can make regular mortgage payments.

They will check your Assets and Debts

Be prepared to show your past tax records, recent bank statements, and current debt amounts, including credit card debt, car loan, or student loan. Lenders want to know your debt-to-income ratio to know if you can make each loan payment with the income you earn.

You’ll need 2 months of bank statements, your driver’s license, and pay stubs.

4) start browsing homes online & save your favorites.

When it comes to house hunting online, there are lots of things a potential buyer can do to get a feel for a property by simply utilizing the tools that are available online. Your Agent is a great resource to lean on and will send you listings that match what you’re looking for via the MLS. Your agent will also email you property information on homes you’ve favorited.

Create a list of your non-negotiables, such as monthly payment, location, style of home, etc. Once you’ve seen a few homes, re-examine your list and see if there’s anything you’d like to change.

Create a list of 10 things you want in a home. Keep in mind, these are not needs/must-haves. These are things that would be nice to have but aren’t deal-breakers if the home doesn’t have it.

Get Your Free Buyer's Market Report

Let us know where you’re looking for a home and we’ll show you the buyer’s market in that area!

5) Schedule home tours with your agent.

If a property sweeps you off your feet, we’ll schedule an in-person showing that follows all CDC safety precautions.

Things to bring to a showing includes:

  • Face mask
  • Flashlight
  • Tape measure
  • Slip-on shoes 
  • Clean sock, if wearing flip-flops
  • Snacks and something to drink (make sure you’re not hangry and your “tank” is full)
 
Sellers may have unique requests and precautions when allowing others to tour their property. Your agent should let you know what requirements the sellers have in advance.

6) Make an Offer.

If you find a home that hits 70% (or 7 out of the 10) things on your “wants” list and hits all of your non-negotiables, write an offer on it! 

When making an offer, keep your eyes on the payment amount – not the purchase price. After all, you’ll be paying the payment monthly, not the purchase price.

7) Get a home inspection.

If your offer is accepted, have the home inspected. Your agent can recommend a Home Inspector, however, you’ll need to do on your own and do your due diligence when choosing an Inspector.

  • Pre-check the Inspector’s availability.
  • Look into at least 3 Inspectors before you choose one.
  • Send any Disclosures you have to the Inspector ahead of time.

Make sure you read and understand the role a Truth in Sale of Housing (TISH) Inspection plays in your transaction.

8) Close the Deal.

Once the inspection is done, you can submit and negotiate requests for repairs, upgrades, or a reduction in the price of the home to allow you to make those repairs. 

When negotiations are complete, the listing becomes “pending” and an appraisal is ordered by your Lender, if applicable. If the appraisal results are good, your Lender goes to work. Be sure to listen to your Lender’s requests. 

Review your loan estimate and closing disclosure. Make sure everything makes sense and bring up any discrepancies with your Lender.

Within 48 hours of closing, do a 15-20 minute final walk-through of the property (this can be done the night before of day of closing) to verify that the work and Inspection requests that were needed have been completed.

At the Closing, the deed is transferred, the final loan application is signed, checks are disbursed. 

You’ll need to bring your Driver’s License (not expired) and a Cashier’s Check/Wire/Checkbook.

Lastly, get your keys, take a celebratory closing picture, and celebrate!

9) Update Utilities and Transfer Services.

You’ll need to switch over your utilities and get ready to move. Preparing to move will include:

  • Address changes for post office and utility companies you’ll continue to use.
  • Ending local services you no longer need.
  • Pack or store your belongings.
  • Research, hire, and schedule movers.

10) Move into your new home!

It’s time to move into your house, and start making yourself at home! 

If you enjoyed working with your agent, be sure to leave them a review on Google to let other home buyers and sellers know about your experience!

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